The Back Catalogue Pt I

•May 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Taken in Dublin zoo.

Taken in Dublin zoo.

The love of my life.

The love of my life.

Taken in the Sandyford area of Dublin.

Taken in the Sandyford area of Dublin.

Taken in the Bad Art Gallery in Dublin.

Taken in the "Bad Art Gallery" in Dublin.

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The Gift of Failure

•March 17, 2009 • 1 Comment

The vast majority of people i know really seem to fear failure. I know that for a long time i did. Not wanting to fail turned into not even trying until eventually I allowed various interests and hobbies, including the artistic, fall by the way side for a life of nine to five spent in the errie glow of florescent lighting. Basically… hell.

I know many people who do many different things. Artists, singers, photographers, sports people…people who do what they do as a way to live. Not as a hobby. The common ground between them all that i have noticed is none of them fear failure. Sure, they dislike it, they even hate it, but they do not fear it and they do not let it own them. They will try their hand against other people and see where they stand at the end of the day. They will test themselves but most of all, they will risk themselves.

I admire that in them. It motivates and inspires me to move beyond my own fear of failure and to simply DO. The vast mjority of us will, unfortunately, never really make it beyond the point of doing things for ourselves and yet we still allow this unamed fear to kill even the joy in that. We cannot simply do things because we enjoy them, we cannot simply take a photograph because it is something that we wanted to take. It must be compared online or in books to the work of others and we will nearly always find an image that we deem to be “better” or “superior” to our own. Rather than being happy simply with the creative act, we must always go and find a small failure, as if to hint at the bigger ones on the horizon if we attempt to launch our work onto bigger stages.

Very recently this issue was brought to a head with a then good, now former, friend. He is a fantastically talented photography but he cripples himself. Misdirected effort, making the wrong sacrifices, bad business decisions. I cannot be sure, but i almost feel that he is giving himself reason to have not “made it”, to have not acheived his goals. I think it’s possible that somewhere deep inside him it is a better alternative to genuine and actual effort, to have risked every bit of himself and to be found wanting.

In short, he is a man who defines himself by his past time, as a photographer, so any large scale failure as a photographer is essentially a failure as a person. I maintain you need to be able to seperate them, even the most devout, talented and world renowned photographer is far more than simply a photographer. They are a person also, with a vast multitude of interests and activities that will fall outside of photography. Nobody is behind a lens 24 hours a day. You eat, you talk, you sleep, you dream…somewhere in there is more than photography no matter how dedicated to the game you claim you are.

I have come to the stage where failure is merely another tool, the reason fors failure are to be dissected and lessons are to be learned. If you enter a competition and fail to win, rather than simply claim robbery, or that your image was not strong enough would it not be better to look at the winner in light of the competition theme and be honest about what they did better than you? Is it not better to learn a lesson from every tiny failure, so that in the long term they all joint together to form a large positive?

I have taken some good photographs but i have never taken what i would call a “perfect” photograph. It just hasn’t happened for me yet. I lack the skill and experience and knowledge to be able to grab, in that split second, the perfect image. It would be very easy to see this as a failure, but where is the fault in being just a good photograher, or even a bad one, once you are learning, applying those lessons and trying to improve?

The shot posted above is one of my favourite photographs that i have taken. It is not perfect, far from it, but it is good. To me it represents the culmination of recent lessons learned about new post processing techniques and new equipment, new photography methods that until two months ago i would have been unable, or unwilling to apply to my images.

I took five different shots, and tried about 7 different post processing techniques until i looked at the image and thought “I am happy with this”. In the mind of someone looking for failure, each of those other shots and efforts was a failure, and i admit that in effect they were. I prefer to see them as lessons, as little things that had to happen in order to lead me to an image that  I was happy with. Without them, the finished image as it is and as i like it would never exist.

In two weeks, the nine to five ends and i will begin my journey full scale into photography and art.

I guess you could say i am over my fear of failure.

– Aido

[a place to start]

•February 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

The simple truth of it is that I have wanted to be a writer for far longer than i have wanted to be a photographer. There always struck me as being a certain timeless strength about the written word. How no matter how temporary the medium that carried it, the fact that it could be accepted as an idea and changed, forged by the mind of the reader and carried off into their lives implied a sense of the forever. It lived on, long after it had been read and churned over in the mind.

I think that is what, eventually, would draw me to photography. It took a very clever person to simply show me the passion that THEY had for photography and why, and suddenly i could apply their passion for photography to myself. I mean, if photography could be this much of a personal journey, then why was i denying it to myself? I picked up the only camera i had available to me at the time and i took a photo. And then another one. And since then, in 12 months, across 3 cameras…I have taken about 15000 photos.

Now then, it will be obvious from how much of my work is online that the vast majority of these photos were terrible. But that’s not the point. The point is that i saw something and i tried to capture it, or tell a story, or do something. And the remarkable thing to me was that in the year before that I would have called myself a storyteller and had  allowed 15000 possible chances to tell one pass me by.

And that is why i love photography. Because it allows me those opportuinities to tell a tale, or make a point or just enjoy what i see in front of me. I pay a lot more attention to the world now, and not the world at large. The world at small is a far more interesting place and the devil truly is in the details.

I hope, over the course of my life, i have the drive and the determination to make efforts to succeed at both writing and photography, but this blog will be an effort in neither. It’s a place to record a journey, for no one else’s benefit but my own. I am not so stupid as to keep all my thoughts private, so the public being able to see it is purely a selfish thing, feedback is always good. Or someone pointing out that i am being an idiot could never be a bad thing.

The last thing i will do, is say thank you. To the person who opened my eyes to the possibilities of a shutter closing and who showed me the beautiful simplicity of one quick click. This is for you.

It’s all for you.

– Aido