Letting Go Is Hard To Do

Seemingly eons ago I shared a few random thoughts on the last window light mini-workshop hosted by yours truly. They were a smattering of ideas about approaching any given scene. Reflecting back across dozens of workshop and education events I've lead something occurred to me that is just about universal. A characteristic most of us have in common. Deeply rooted fear of tossing notions we've accumulated overboard.

Hard won lessons, technique, and expertise no matter where you happen to fall in the spectrum of experience is a hard thing to turn away from. In some cases even when there's evidence you might benefit it's actually difficult. Like when I first learned to drive on the wrong side of the road. It was amazingly difficult to go through a round-about the wrong way.

There's more than a few facets that causes this reaction. If you attempt analysis you'll likely find any specific thread twisted around all sorts of other baggage. One of those threads just happens to be fear of mistakes. As if every shutter release must result in perfection. Too bad that thought process or instinct closes down a lot of possibilities. I can't offer a universal solution. I don't believe there is one. What's left? Despair? Obviously not – the mere self-awareness of how this potentially affects you personally is a tool that can help open up possibilities. While specific manifestations differ person to person and situation to situation, I've stumbled upon something simple that appears to help even if just a little.

I tend to open education every event I host a bit differently. Even events that intended to be the exact same thing I did before. Somewhere during that opening prior to getting down to the matter at hand I insist that we all make a bad image on purpose. Right there out of the gate. Last time it was along the lines of: "Set your camera to the maximum aperture and your shutter speed to 1/15. Don't bother looking at your ISO and don't look through your viewfinder. Now point the camera at your subject and fire off a few frames while wildly jerking the camera around." Of course I'm performing this at the same time.

I know it seems a bit senseless and it might be for you. The point isn't what particular thing allows you to get over any particular fear of making a bad picture that just might be constraining you to possibilities or loosening up in any scenario. The point is rather to be aware of it and figure out something that puts your head in a different place. A place that's not filled with your own defaults, fears, or sense of correctness. Those can be severely limiting to all of us.

Something to think about at the very least.


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