Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NPR - Two thoughts

I watched the recent rerun of the two hour interview on "Inside the Actors Studio" on the Bravo Channel with Robin Williams. If you get a chance to watch it, please do, it's great and outragous. He's funny, honest and witty. But in the course of the conversation with James Lipton, two thoughts occurred to me.

First, get out of yourself. Robin went to the Julliard School and talked about his time there, all the training and teachers. He said it's all about getting out of yourself, letting yourself go of your physical and mental self, and be free to express what you want, think, or just feel. It's about the freedom of yourself in yourself.

Second, make mistakes. I was listening to an interview one day when the interviewee asked, "Where can you say someone who spent a 20-plus career and made mistakes more than two-thirds of time, and be considered great?" And the the answer is baseball. It only takes a 30% (.300) successful rate in hitting to make the Hall of fame. It helps to be a good fielder, but hitting took a lot of players to the Hall.

Also, what activity sends someone on assignment to get 20-30,000 images to reduce those to 30 then to 8-12 for the article? National Geographic magazine. They send photographers on assignment with 800-1,000 rolls of film (they only recently went digital) with the expectation of about 30 winners and 8-12 great ones for article(s). It's why the photographers work hard and have the philosophy to bring home the "winners." With film you didn't know so didn't miss an opportunity.

These thoughts apply to both life and photography. It does apply to work, but since I retired once and am starting a new career, work doesn't interest me anymore. Anyway, while we like being and doing, as they say, within our comfort zone, it pays to push your limits and even step outside yourself. It does several things.

First, it pushes your limits and comfort zone, it expands it in new direction and into new territory where you didn't know you could be and do. Second, it develops more self-awareness and confidence with your ability to be and do, and it's display more of you innate talent. Third, it expands your world to others. While we all love the process and work of our creativeness, it's also good to see and know where it fits in the world and what others think, hopefully good or positive.

The second part of this is that you have to keep trying, and while not always succeding isn't all that positive to many, some find it rewarding and some even realize its potential and power. I'm one of those who learns far more from mistakes than successes. I don't often see success as all that rewarding, because once I've written something or produced a good photograph, I often shrug and move on to new things.

Part of my nature is to focus on what's not being done or what's not finished. It's my nature from as long as I can remember, but it's also somewhat negative since I rarely stop to appreciate what's I done, especially when it's good. And I've found that what I find good isn't what others find good. I've noticed this with photo cards. Most of the one others like I don't see what is it that I've done.

And that's the reason to keep going, you never know what's outside your mental door unless you open it and walk into the wilderness.