experimentation

Be a closer

I'm currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, a book I'm enjoying very much. There's a passage that caught my attention:

On the first day of class, Jerry Uelsmann, a professor at the University of Florida, divided his film photography students into two groups.

Everyone on the left side of the classroom, he explained, would be in the “quantity” group. They would be graded solely on the amount of work they produced. On the final day of class, he would tally the number of photos submitted by each student. One hundred photos would rate an A, ninety photos a B, eighty photos a C, and so on.

Meanwhile, everyone on the right side of the room would be in the “quality” group. They would be graded only on the excellence of their work. They would only need to produce one photo during the semester, but to get an A, it had to be a nearly perfect image.

At the end of the term, he was surprised to find that all the best photos were produced by the quantity group. During the semester, these students were busy taking photos, experimenting with composition and lighting, testing out various methods in the darkroom, and learning from their mistakes. In the process of creating hundreds of photos, they honed their skills. Meanwhile, the quality group sat around speculating about perfection. In the end, they had little to show for their efforts other than unverified theories and one mediocre photo.

(source: jamesclear.com)

This is yet another good example of why we shouldn't aim for perfection, why we should experiment and try different things and shoot a scene as much as we need.

We want to avoid overthinking our photography and become paralyzed.

Planning, strategizing and studying are all good and useful but eventually we will need to take action.

We need to finish what we start.

We need to be closers.