No matter what I read or see of the great monochrome photographers, whether it be Ansel Adams or Edward Weston or Michael Kenna or Edward Steichen or perhaps Donn McCullin or Vivian Maier, I don’t seem to learn enough to be satisfied with my own efforts. These people are some of the greatest proponents of their arts but sometimes their superb work undermines rather than inspires. I think these are normal but sometimes very frustrating limits on our aspirations. As I was taught when I had motorcycle racing aspirations, if you see someone in your mirror that wasn’t there last time you looked, give way, because they are better than you.
I photographed three scenes while we walked the pier and dog yesterday. The scenes of 49er Olympic sailors practicing were journaled yesterday. The other two scenes I thought might be more interesting as monochrome imagery so I set about developing them last night. Unhappy with the outcome, I retired for the night wondering why I couldn’t be satisfied with the variants I made.
In this day and age, everyone with a phone is a photographer, and every photographer produces online exhibitions and galleries. If twenty thousand people post one image each, perhaps one will be considered ‘better’ than the others. That’s not to say any image is truly worse or better than another. Some will resonate better, have more appeal, more promoters, better timing and perhaps some novelty.
I’m no different. If I posted twenty thousand images to Instagram, perhaps one would catch people’s attention for the same litany of potential reasons. However, this is what I like to do so I hope my hit rate would be higher.