I dig Seth Godin. More often than not, his insights on his blog have a much broader reach than the world of marketing, and his analogies translate well to the creative arts.
Today’s post, First, make rice, speaks to the importance of learning the fundamental building blocks before skipping ahead to the good stuff.
Too often, we quickly jump ahead to the new thing, failing to get good enough at the important thing.
Modern cameras come with so many bells and whistles that it’s easy to focus on these amazing features instead of focusing on the basics of photography, such as exposure and composition. It’s great that your new camera does in-camera HDR, but without knowing how to compose a shot, you wind up with neat effect but a poor image. Just like sushi without properly cooked rice, the result is less art and more of a hot mess.
Photographers fall in to this trap easily. The hardware is getting cheaper. The software is getting cheaper. More social-media-savvy photographers are making their brand by exploiting new techniques and distributing it to the masses, luring neophyte’s in to what is popular instead of what is important. The result is a lot of people making a lot of horrible images using the technique en vogue. Bad sushi.
I’m not saying you can’t buy the latest gear, or spend time experimenting with the latest techniques. It’s fun, and you might create some amazing images in the process. But if truly want to master photography, and to deliberately instead of accidentally create art, you’re going to need to spend a lot of time just making rice.