… on the importance of content
February 22, 2020
I received a box from Amazon in the mail last week and was very excited that I remembered exactly what was inside of it and exactly what I ordered it for.
This is not always the case when I receive a box from Amazon.
It not that I’m drinking and surfing, the way JoHn used to log into iTunes after a glass of wine or three, and then my entire Saturday morning had background music from Van Halen II.
In my case(s), I will simply order something – often with some sense of urgency – and then a fugue state ensues. Not too many days after that, a package arrives on my doorstep and I have zero idea what might be inside it.
Oh yay, a box!
What was it that I ordered again?
I don’t think I ordered anything…
Maybe It was delivered to the wrong address…
Excitement always kicks ‘Somewhat Apprehensive’ the curb once I get the package inside. And I usually discover something good and/or necessary, which is awesome. Then again, sometimes it’s a box full of JoHn’s special powder. It’s powder that he likes and orders in bulk because it is a “bargain”. I have projected the profound disappointment I feel – when I open an Amazon box to find that special powder – onto the powder.
I hate that powder.
I make JoHn put it into a drawer so I don’t even have to see it.
That powder is stupid powder.
Where was I?
So, the other day, when the Amazon box arrived, I knew what it contained…
Photography books – the ‘how to’ kind!
Try to contain your own excitement.
JoHn looked at me with a question mark on his face when he saw how excited I was, and I totally loved him for it because I knew the question mark translated to, ‘But you take great pictures’.
I also knew the question mark wasn’t permanently tattoo’d there, so I didn’t call his attention to it.
He’s so dang supportive.
But here’s the thing…
I’m kind of late to the game when it comes to photography, and I actually feel like I know so little about it. It is so cool that, with all the technology today – from incredible cell phone cameras to photo editing apps and programs – so many of us can make really incredible images.
And I’ve learned so much, as I’ve clicked away for the last few years, with my spiffy little camera. But I am realizing how much more my camera is capable of, and hence I am capable of. This is so dang exciting on the one hand, but also a little daunting on the other… because of the ‘more content’ thing.
The more content thing requires, you know, work… and pushing past comfort zones… and also more work.
But the rewards are there because – though building up one’s content might open up opportunities in general – it’s really about building up the human.
It’s the proverbial ‘walk’ in the whole ‘talk the talk and walk the walk’ thing.
A lack of content in any given area isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all – I myself have a very limited understanding of hydrology and this hasn’t really held me back so far. But a lack of understanding and/or experience in something we want to be good at, or think we should be good at, or kind of need to be good at (like, for our jobs)… that can lead to tough stuff. Frustration… missed opportunities… and even – brace yourself – a propensity toward poppycocking (which – and I’m sorry to tell you this – is a synonym for bullsh*tting (but I didn’t want to say bullsh*tting)).
And, while poppycocking might make someone appear to be all knowledgeable and impressive, eventually – without content – it doesn’t feel good to the poppycocker, or his audience.
Building up content – whether in one’s character, or in one’s knowledge and/or skill set – is a big deal.
It fits with the old mantra I taught my kids when they were little – they will roll their eyes when they read this, because they heard (and hear!) – it so often…
“It’s what I do, not how I look”.
Get the inside right – the values and morals, the knowledge and skills – and the rest follows (friendship, love – for oneself, as well as for, and from, others), opportunities (educational, career-al, passion-al…), and so much more.
Focus on the latter, well, that’s not necessarily healthy for us (nor anyone around us).
Since I do want to be a better photographer – and not just look like a phenom because I have a big giant lens on my camera… and also because I am averse to frustration and missed opportunities (and poppycock)… I have decided to acquire more content.
Let’s go with an example, shall we?
I took this picture last summer:
Amazing colors right?
Can you figure it out what you’re seeing? It’s a little strange…
This was taken as I hung over the port side (I went to Boat Skool, so I know ‘port’) of my friend’s lobster boat. The boat was still a bit wet, due to some passing showers. The sunset is reflected in the water, but also on the side of the boat’s wheelhouse. So it appears as if the wheelhouse continues into the horizon, or that the horizon continues across and has two suns. I know, wHeird.
I love this photo.
A lot of my friends did too.
I could not recreate it if you threatened to withhold this season’s Cadbury Mini Eggs from me.
This takes nothing away from the actual image, I still love it. But. If Benjamin Williamson, Director of Photography from Downeast Magazine, sees this pic on my Instagram, and calls with a photo assignment? I mean, I would want to say, ‘Sure, Benjamin Williamson, thanks for the opportunity!’ and then risk it, but I’d be totally poppycocking (and he’d soon know it).
I’m just not ready.
So now I have these new photo books…
And photographer friends!
And workshops and stuff!
I’ll subject you to the results of all my new content, I promise. I’ll probably leave out the technical explanation stuff though, because that can get heavy and also people’s eyes tend to gloss over…
Okay, but I might wow you with my current knowledge of aperture… and also exposure… and maybe contrast and light metering and gradation and chromatic aberration and spot metering and the joys of dye sublimation printing …
I’m poppycocking my arse off!
I don’t even know what half those things even are! Who even wants to know all that?
Me, that’s who!
Thanks for readin’.
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