The Perpetual Student

I'm a perpetual student. I get told a lot that my advancing my skills through graduate school is a waste of time, and their comments usually go along the lines of "There's only so much technique you can learn about photography. The rest is just subjective."


And here's why.

You are never a perfect photographer. Photography is an evolving medium and has been since its conception. You can never stop learning about photography, as it is impossible to literally "know it all." I know my photography is not the best. I know I have more to learn. I know my concepts need work. That is why I am a student, even when I am not in graduate school.

Also, this applies to not only technique but to theory as well. The possibilities are endless, and art can be judged on levels other than subjective ones. To a trained eye, it is obvious when a piece is not working, and usually to the untrained eye as well in common or cliché themes. Now, usually the untrained will scoff at this, because that means that *heaven forbid* their art is being judged. People do not like being judged. But here's the thing, if you create, then expect that people will either love or hate your creation. Or feel meh about it.

Now, in no way shape form or fashion am I saying that the untrained are not any good. There are multiple ways to be "trained," whether it be self-taught through 10,000 hours of practice, youtube videos, books, good ol' trial and error, or in a traditional setting. There are also those who are untrained and just have natural skill who are amazing, but still, they end up refining that skill and therefore become "trained" much to their despair.

I'm finding more and more that these types of excuses (art school being a waste of time, untrained artists are better than trained ones, etc) as being just that. Excuses and cop-outs. Please don't loathe yourself enough to make these excuses. I'm positive that your creations are amazing, because if you are actually creating, then you are training. You are practicing. And you are doing something. Don't be afraid of judgement. Not everyone will like your creations, but rarely can they deny your prowess in technique- no matter how you learned it. Don't feel intimidated, and most of all, don't stop learning.

I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true - hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.
— Ray Bradbury
McKenna DuffyComment