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Kent, George, & John; I agree with everything that is being said with reference to beginner vs advanced photographer improvement... But does there become a time when an advanced individual can not get past their problem?? At that point, would they not seek help from a teacher / mentor / additional study?? I find myself looking at my work and being dissatisfied while other praise it.. Am I being overly critical, or is my type "A" personality pushing onward?? We all approach photography for differing reasons, but presumably one goal; to produce quality images.. I have reservations that all photographic...Show more →
Tiger Woods ... undeniably "good" ... was not satisfied with his swing and sought help to re-invent it. Who was "better" than Tiger (at that time) ... nobody, yet he still solicited assistance in his goal to re-invent himself beyond what he felt was a plateau that needed to be eclipsed.
Whether a person seeks out someone "better" than themselves to learn from, goes off to find a Guru to assist them or does their own instrospection, it typically involves a degree of observation and analysis as to what it is and why it is that you are wanting to change (i.e. improve). Of course, it is preferrable to solicit input from those who can both distinguish "good" and critically assess the problems that are involved with status quo.
For me, FM'ers represent a wide diversity of what constitues "good" and depending on my goals, I benchmark against FM'ers in one regard, but always with an eye to where I'm trying to go, rather than necessarily trying to emulate others.
Obtaining critical analysis (genuinely critical) is key, but it probably should come from those who at least have an understanding of where you are trying to go. Kaden comes to mind ... very few of us can really be very critical of his work, because very few of us have a clue where he is trying to go. Kaden's recent recognition in his circles provide some validation to how "good" he is ... but I'd suggest that to a large degree, Kaden is out there on his own.
If I'm aspiring to be as "good" as Ansel Adams, then I need to understand what makes AA "good" and work toward that end ... likewise, if I aspire to be as good as Renoir or Picasso. But for me, to be truly "good" is to develop yourself to the level where you have "command & control" over that which you are aspiring to achieve.
For much of the world, people associate "good" with that which is well regarded by others. In that manner, who "others" is has a degree of relativity to it. Some people might think AA is good, while HSB isn't or vice versa. But to me, it is their "command & control" that makes them "good". Often times, people associate being different as a mark of being good. Nothing wrong with being different, but imo, far too many people chase "different" in order to get the "wow" response rather than the excellence of "command & control" that is revealed in the smallest of refinements.
We start out with "gross" ideals as to what constitutes "good" ... and through perpetual refinement, we come to realize just how "gross" or "refined" we are / or are not. Someone like Dale Chihuly is very much different from others right from the start, yet a review of his progression reveals degrees of both refinement and grandeur as well as different and an approach of collaboration and brainstorming. But in all of that which he does, the issue of "command & control" ... alongside his vast exploration into further unconventional developments that he can incorporate via "command & control" is a thread that remains. Jackson Pollock also comes to mind ... although to the uneducated casual observer, it might look like utter chaos. Both intentional and subsequently "re-invented", the issue of "command & control" is his to own.
So, when you ask the question @ advanced improvement, whether it be with Tiger Woods, Dale Chihuly or Jackson Pollock, they approached their improvements in different fashion, but at the heart of the matter, the continued to strive for refinement in "command & control" ... even if it looks like chaos.
Caveat ... be careful of the AA quote becoming an excuse/crutch for volumes of mediocrity en route to "the one". For me, it is not "Practice, practice, practice" ... but rather "progression, progression, progression" that yields refinement of "command & control".
No matter what others say/think at a given point in time ... if my work today is as good as my work next year ... I suck.