This month I have good news to share. There is a particular monthly online photography contest that I have entered every month for the last four years. This contest, at BetterPhoto.com, has several categories, and some of my images have placed second in their category, but never first. Today I am excited to say that the image above won first place in its category. That’s right … forty-eight straight months of entering, and on my forty-ninth try(!) my image was a first place winner in the “Man-Made” category. Woo-hoo!!! (Here’s a link to the contest winners page if you’d like to take a peek: http://www.betterphoto.com/contest/winners/1503.asp )
Consider this quote from celebrated science fiction author Octavia E. Butler (1947 – 2006): “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
Isn’t the same true of photography? Don’t we all start out shooting crap and thinking it’s good stuff and then gradually get better at it? Of course the improvement doesn’t happen with the passage of time alone; hours of study and practice must be devoted to the goal of becoming a better photographer (or a better anything, for that matter). Most importantly, we must persist. We may go through periods of being very dissatisfied with our work, getting discouraged, and wanting to give up. I say that dissatisfaction is a good thing … it just means that our eye and our vision are developing, perhaps more quickly than our technique, and if we press on, our technique will catch up and we will ultimately be better photographers and artists.
With that, I’m off to persist in my quest for improvement! I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to drop me a line. As always, I wish you happy shooting and a satisfying photographic journey!