Santa Fe New Mexico Family and Children Photographer – David Moore» Blog Archive » Tolerance for Creative Sucking

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This is the photography blog for photographer and writer David Moore. He's based in Santa Fe, New Mexico but speaks with a funny accent.


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    December 14th, 2008

    Tolerance for Creative Sucking

    When we see the finished work of talented writers, musicians and photographers, it can seem like it’s completely different from our own efforts.

    It’s tempting to feel like we’ll never get there from here. And it’s quite possible we never will. But neither would they if they’d stopped trying.

    Merlin Mann, who has a lot of smart things to say about creativity and productivity, is an amateur photographer looking to improve, and he’s hit on a crucial point about learning to do anything like this:

    I think finding your own comfort with the process (whatever that process ends up being) might just be the whole game here — being willing to put in your time, learn the craft, and never lose the courageousness to be caught in the middle of making something you care about, even when it might be shit and you might look like an idiot fumbling to make it. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

    This tolerance for creative sucking lies at the heart of making anything worthwhile.

    I recently filed my article about the cattle drive I was on, and I’m happy with it. But up until the version that I finally handed in, it wasn’t all that good.

    If you’d peered over my shoulder at any point before that – especially before my editor Ashley at New Mexico Magazine got involved – you’d wonder how I’d even managed to get the commission.

    And that’s after years of working as a professional journalist. So how much more dodgy is most of our photography going to be when we’re just starting out.

    We seldom see the first drafts of good stuff, or all the rubbish that good writers wrote before they got good. The same goes for photography. Ansel Adams said ‘ Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop,’ and he was Ansel Adams.

    So I’ll just keep shooting and paying attention, and getting our of my own way. Slowly increasing my tolerance for creative sucking.


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