Last week I began to share a bit about my philosophy on photography. This week we conclude. As alway feel free to comment and share your thoughts or even your philosophy underneath the post.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice or The 10,000 hour rule.
In Malcolm Gladwell's international bestseller 'Outliers', he sights a study by K. Anders Ericsson that argues to achieve true mastery over a technical skill one needs to deliberately apply themselves to at least 10,000 hours of practice. Neurologist Daniel Levitin writes with regards to this rule,
"In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again... ...No one has found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know and achieve true mastery."
10,000 hours seems to be a daunting task if you're starting out. And Mastery may not be your goal however to improve in any way you need to put in the hours. Tiger Woods knows it, van Gogh knew it and any commercial airline pilot definitely knows it.
When I first began photography I attempted to capture a different self portrait every day, a project many know as a '365 project' or 'a photo a day'. This is a hard but worthwhile task that requires discipline and creativity. I only got 90 days into mine... However I learned a bunch of new techniques and I could look back an see an improvement in my skills.
5. Learn more about semiotics.
A photo captures a representation of a particular moment in time. To give that representation deeper meaning that appeals to a broader audience we can utilise semiotics. Semiotics is the study of meaning in signs and symbols. Signs are the most fundamental units of meaning - they are like the atoms we use to make up our images. We can use scars and uniforms and beards and suits to tell an audience more than we could and in less time than words alone could express. The old maxim, 'a picture is worth a thousand words' is true only when you have mastered the use of semiotics to tell your story. Watch the videos below to grasp the concept more fully.
6. Read Books
This list might get you started. Light, Science and Magic is a must read for anyone wanting to understand how light works and how to use it to create the results you need. The Americans is a photo book by the late Robert Frank it is a beautiful caricature of every day people and a fantastic example of 'candid street photography'. The Filmmaker's Eye is one of the finest books to help you get your head around composition and lens choice. (I am a strong believer is cross discipline study). And finally The New Manual of Photography will pretty much tell you all you need to know to get your head around all of the basic concepts when it comes to understanding modern digital photography.
I hope this two part series has helped you to better understand photography. Please comment below if it has. Feel free to share any questions or suggestions for future posts while you're there.