“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
Martha Graham (1894 – 1991 ), Choreographer
There is a good lesson here, one of many I have experienced this year. Just make the things you want to make and put them out there. What it is worth to other people is their decision, not yours.
With any form of creativity, there is never really a point at which you can just stop and say there is nothing more to learn. With photography, there is so much that did not exist when I started making images over 30 years ago. That said, there are often restraints of time and resources that hamper the ability to explore.
Some of the important learning is not about technique or equipment. It is about the self. Understanding what motivates the desire to create, building the confidence to take risks and try different things, accepting failures, taking the experience from them and going forward. These are things rarely discussed in photographic literature but essential to creative growth. Then there are supporting skills like patience, curiosity and playfulness, that can’t really be taught the way taking an incident reading on a light meter can.
Going back to the quote above, it is the combination of experiences and learning that enable each of us to be unique and see things within the mundane that others may miss. I could have happily spent an hour or more photographing the side of this truck but I made the most of the time and equipment restraint.