putting a photo through its paces: life lessons


I handed my art professor the sketchbook, explaining how I was running into doubts about composition for my next print. He didn’t say anything. He just kept flipping though a lot of my messy, reworked, holey drawings. Inwardly I was cringing, thinking how awkward it was for him to be looking at my struggle – examining my lack of skill and experience.

I thought I was in for a critique, instead I got a life lesson…

“There is truth to be found in this kind of working,” he stated, brushing the paper with his ink-stained hand, ” There’s something about going over and over it…finding your way, finding the drawing in the working of it. There are some lovely marks in here. You should keep these.”    I did.  And when I am frustrated that a piece is not coming on quick enough, or that I  have not found what I am seeing inside my head on the canvas, I remember his wise words and work on.

Here is a very simple example of how I use that process with some of my photographs. This is extremely basic as I’ve yet to climb the mountain of photo editing software available today. But even this takes time and effort, working and reworking until I see something that I really want to keep. Each stage is a sketchbook “page” in itself.

If you are struggling with your work – whatever that may be – don’t give up or be ashamed of how much you have to repeat, erase,  redo. Finding what is true in the working-it-out means you are learning more, creating more with  the process than you would if you always “got it right” the first time.  Be encouraged today.


3 responses »

  1. Beth, you are always so encouraging! I hope you have opportunities to share this gift in face to face encounters. As you learned from your professor, that bit of acceptance and encouragement makes all the difference!

  2. Yes, very encouraging! Thanks for sharing this with the rest of us who struggle to push through the messiness of the process.

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