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  1. #1
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Contructive Dissatisfaction With One's Own Work

    For the last few days, Iíve been reflecting on my photographic work done over the last two years. Now Iím going through a period of what I call constructive discontent. That is, there are some things Iím pleased with and there are numerous things Iím not pleased with.

    Sometimes Iím not pleased with the overall texture or tonality of a photo. There are things, like soft subtle details and highlights, which I wished I had done differently. I think some are too harsh. I Ďm not satisfied with the overall look of some. Some of this unpleasantness is obvious to the viewer, some is not. Itís just my own dissatisfaction.

    Not looking for any sympathy or condolences. I take these periods as a learning experience and strive to work through them for the better. Anyone have any other thoughts to share on this?
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  2. #2

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    Alex,

    This is normal and should be done often.

    Now learn from what you're not pleased with, and grow past those images. You've made some fine images recently, now push the bar higher and make better images. We all have control of that quality bar within ourselves, how good do you want to be?

    Being too pleased with what you have done means your not going to grow much beyond what you allready know.
    George Losse
    www.georgelosse.com

  3. #3
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Very well stated Jay. Glad we see this one the same way.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  4. #4

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    I have a bit of a different attitude towards my stuff. Odviously if an image or concept does not work I toss it and move on but the stuff that does have an opportunity to succeed I work and re-work and even overwork until I learn as much about the idea as I can. Every image has its own life and by growing with the image the idea develops its own momentum. The idea can be a lot of different things other than just the final image. Style of light, type of set or time of day. They all have a role to play in creating the solution for finding the images balance. All the tools we use help but where growth for me least happens is when I can look at an image and understand what I learned from it. To be successful that learned element needs to become an instinct or an automatic response so that I have the freedom of mind leaving mental room to find the next set of goals.
    Sounds like a load of crap I know but this is how I view your current dilema. It is an opportunity!
    Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!

  5. #5
    Aggie's Avatar
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    Sometiems Alex, it just takes putting what you at the time do not like in a drawer and going on to something else. Months, maybe years later pull it out again, and you will have a completely different idea about it all. You may have picked up a few tricks in the mean time that will help you deal with the technical aspects. Good bad or indifferent, I hang onto things. 99% of the time I am glad I did. We change, we develop literally different tecniques. Nothing wrong with revisiting our earlier work at a later date. It may even show that we have grown, and that orginal work was just the beginning in a road to better photography.
    Non Digital Diva

  6. #6

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    Alex,

    I hear you on this. Sometimes I get so sick of my stuff that I want to puke.

    I am really turned off by photographs of "things" at this time, whether that is a mountain stream, a building, a tree or whatever...I am moving toward more images of forms, lines, patterns, and textures. Not even thinking in terms of "things". That is where I am at now...give me two weeks and I will change again.

  7. #7
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    Alex,

    I hear you on this. Sometimes I get so sick of my stuff that I want to puke.

    I am really turned off by photographs of "things" at this time, whether that is a mountain stream, a building, a tree or whatever...I am moving toward more images of forms, lines, patterns, and textures. Not even thinking in terms of "things". That is where I am at now...give me two weeks and I will change again.
    Me too Don. I still like some "things" but I'm going more for the abstractions within the "things" themselves.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  8. #8
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    Alex, this is a good thing to think about. If you are really looking into the quality of your work, seeing room for improvement and evaluating its shortcomings, it can only improve and grow! One reason I went into b&w three years ago was my inability to "see" in terms of color and composition any more. I was stagnant, dull, lifeless in my seeing. After living in this desert for more than 30 years, I was just tired. I went out three weekends running and didn't take a picture, not one shot. This led to a change which was good for me. At the time it wasn't too pleasant, but now I see it as a part of learning.

    This has been a good year for me. I have about 6 decent images which I think are well seen and executed. There are still the "flops" from time to time (ok, still pretty regular), but it is nice to look back on 2005 and see progress in my technique and vision. I would be willing to bet that if you took your three best images from this year, you would be pleased with them. Striving for perfection is good, knowing we won't ever make it is the challenge, but we still try. Make 2006 better! tim

  9. #9
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley
    ... what I call constructive discontent.
    Normal AND healthy Alex. I often find myself in these funks and most often come out the other side with a renewed enthusiasm and drive to be "better".

    Hang in there.

    Bill



 

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