Of Boxing, Basketball and Photography
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
That quotation from Muhammad Ali hangs on my vision board because its underlying concept is also applicable to photography.
Anyone who has ever achieved anything of significance in the world of photography - regardless of their chosen genre - has worked and fought long and hard in the shadows of obscurity for many years to earn that achievement.
When we we first start out in photography, we all suck - plain and simple. Those who persevere for years on end will eventually realize this. They will look back at their early work and come to the realization that ninety to ninety to ninety five percent of it was crap. I told a photographer friend of mine this once and he laughed - because he recognized the truth of that statement.
Learning how to “work” a camera - any camera - is relatively easy. You can learn the basics in a weekend, or even in just a day. Learning to produce arresting images that have proper exposure, sharp focus, refined composition, coherent depth of field, insight and visual impact - images that tell a story or convey underlying concept - takes years (if not decades) of work and commitment to the craft. There are no shortcuts.
As Michael Jordan said of the game he so loved, “Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you. That's true about the game, and in some ways that's about life too.”