FINDING FOCUS: ON SIMPLICITY (Part 2, the problem and the solution)

FINDING FOCUS: ON SIMPLICITY (Part 2, the problem and the solution)

Recently, I was cleaning out years of accumulation in my childhood home after my father’s passing and I stumbled upon report cards from my early years in elementary school.  Year after year they all said roughly the same thing:  “Tony is a smart kid but he just doesn’t apply himself.”  “Tony needs to work harder.”  “Tony is lazy.”  “Tony does just enough to get by.”

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FINDING FOCUS: LIE TO ME!

FINDING FOCUS: LIE TO ME!

Alright, so let me set the scene.  A student and I are standing in a place which is undeniably beautiful.  All day we’ve been surrounded by its unique appeal and yet, the student is lamenting that his images just aren’t that beautiful.  Sound familiar?  I thought so.

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Finding Focus Workshop: Student Work

Finding Focus Workshop: Student Work

 

I’ve tried to start this post a number of times but my attempts keep missing the mark.  Summing up the first ever Finding Focus workshop has proven a challenge and my excitement about the experience is preventing me from being able to distill my thoughts into coherent sentences.  I feel like an excited 9 year old, hopped up on Easter candy and trying to explain the plot of the newest superhero movie I just watched.

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FINDING FOCUS: On Expectations

FINDING FOCUS: On Expectations

 

We’ve got a common enemy each time we head out with our camera. It travels with us wherever we go and is one step ahead of us along the road to being happy with our work. We’re told to manage it but, more often than not, it has the upper hand.

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FINDING FOCUS: You are ordinary!

FINDING FOCUS: You are ordinary!

We all have a desire to feel special. We’re all same in that way and yet we really don’t see that we are.

In my workshops, without fail, student’s will comment on how much they love another student’s work and that they just love the way they see. By the end of the week, almost every photographer in the group will be singled out by someone else as being special and yet none of the photographers see their own work that way.

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FINDING FOCUS: On comparison.

FINDING FOCUS: On comparison.

My daughter is a competitive swimmer. She’s darned good! In fact, she’s the fastest on her team and competes on the state and regional levels.

Wait a minute…why couldn’t I just say that my daughter has been swimming daily for the past 11 years. It’s a sport about which she is passionate and it brings her great joy and a sense of accomplishment? Why do we need to compare performance in order to celebrate the results?

As photographers, one of the most destructive behaviors in which we all engage is the practice of habitually measuring our work against the work of others.

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