Building the Future

Building the Future by Alister Benn

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Building the Future By Alister Benn
Learning new techniques is important, but Alister Benn urges you to have an idea of what to do with them before embarking on any new training because the images you create are the most important thing for a photographer

I am a big fan of resolutions and always set off into a new year with passion, commitment and drive. There is something uplifting about the concept of new beginnings, wiping the slate clean and shedding some dead wood, be it emotional, technical or behavioural. What I want to discuss this month is that concept of moving forward, building on the past, but not randomly. Instead, I urge you to have a plan, a path, a destination.

When we open our mouths, we usually do so with a plan, and images are no different; we have to have a purpose in mind, otherwise, what are we trying to say?

The 10,000 hours fast track

This is the amount of time suggested by the author Malcolm Gladwell that is necessary to take if you want to master any particular skill. In the days before the internet, multimedia and international knowledge sharing I’d have bought into that concept, but less so now; anything we want to learn is already online, somewhere. In terms of those 10,000 hours, perhaps 80% of it was trying to learn from the ground up a bunch of things that other people already knew – not particularly efficient and often very frustrating. With online resources we can fast-track that search to learn a process and conservatively shave 60% off that time.

And what can we replace those hours with? Yes, deciding what it is we actually want to say. If you are going to send out a visual message to others, having an idea of what you want to articulate is the most important thing we can decide upon.

The marriage of art and craft

Photography is ultimately expressive. We make photographs to tell visual stories. What is more important: the final message or the process that got you there?

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Read the whole article inside issue 71.

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