Sunday Photo/Art Quote – Excellence

Let’s go back…


Around the time  when the calendar was going lower as it progressed toward Anno Domini from the time Before Christ. There was this dude named Aristotle who was a scientist but more importantly to today’s discussion a Philosopher. Even back then he recognized that we need to practice – a lot – to become the best we possibly can be. He might have been near the first to recognize the phenomenon but he assuredly was not the last. Repetition has been touted by all the great instructors as one part of how to become good at what we do.

I believe that a major part of the secret is that little secret sauce of making it a habit. Once formed habits self-perpetuate. This makes it an almost unconscious route toward excellence. We still have to program our habits to be good ones moving us forward and not just rote repetition. We need to continue to study, to learn and to practice what we learn. The secret is to make practice the habit and just make sure we program the practice properly.

aristotle quote“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not and act, but a habit.”   Aristotle, 384-322 B.C.

I feel in order to practice properly we not only need to keep at it, but we need to have some outside help in reviewing our practice. One of the ways I continue to receive outside perspective on my imagery is to participate in Professional Photographer’s of America Photographic Competitions. I respect the jurors and their opinions (FYI I am also a PPA Approved Juror) but I also sign up for the critiques to get additional feedback. It’s not like I need the feedback to earn PPA Merits and awards. I have been fortunate and hold the Master of Photography and Artist degrees and have managed a few awards along the way. The awards and degrees have not been the ultimate goal but been byproducts of my participation in trying to learn more about my craft.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be the image maker I am today without my participation in PPA’s Photographic Competition.

I encourage you to practice. To learn. To repeat again and again. And seek feedback so you have some outside opinions to help you on your way.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – I am in no way suggesting that the feedback you get will always be spot-on. You still need to run the information received through your own filters. But, I have found on many an occasion that information to be extremely valuable especially when time has passed and I can view my work with a more critical, and less personally involved, eye.

PPS – “10,000 hours.”   Malcom Gladwell