Picture the scene. The forecast for the morning is perfect and I have three or four locations that I really want to nail this month – all in the same conditions. Which do I go for? What will work best? Location A or location B? For me these are the ingredients for a restless night riddled with anxiety. It’s the fear of failure you see; it’s a disease and I’ve been suffering from it for years.
In my mind, time has become so precious that every photographic foray must count; I cannot invest time out of the office without a productive return. This leads to a self-inflicted pressure that not only deprives me of sleep, but poisons what little creativity I can muster at five in the morning. Moreover, it lessens the enjoyment of the photographic experience – and that’s REALLY serious.
So the day dawns, I’m out of bed and turning on the car’s engine. But where am I heading – location A or B (and even C is starting to wager in with a good case)? Know what you want. Know what you want. I say it to myself over and over. I’m actually saying it out loud. Know what you want and stick with it. If you fail, look upon it as valuable research which will help your next attempt. I stick with location A and it pays off.
The fear of failure is treatable. I’m not completely cured but I’m starting to enjoy the rehabilitation process.
5 thoughts on “Know what you want.”
I can empathise with this sentiment precisely. I guess the pressure is even greater when your livelihood depends on this sort of work but I’m somewhat reassured that you find time as valuable as I.
At this time of year especially I get a really sense of urgency to try and cram in as many projects and ideas as possible and I always end up having to resign the poorly thought out and researched ideas to the ‘next year’ bucket, often for them only to reappear too late 12 months later.
I lived with a Buddhist nun for a while who managed to beat me getting up each morning. I’d pace the kitchen turning over the same worries and trying to work out a way to maximise any potential success. She always told me that at least I was out my bed and doing something which is more than can be said for many.
Your not alone Pete!!
Nice comment Chris especially the last comment, I visit a a local wood both to photograph in and walk my Springer Spaniel , of late more and more families with young children are visiting to enjoy the beauty of the woods but would the remainder visit if they didnt have a dog?
Its good to get people out into the countryside!
I rather surprised at your fear of failure, state of mind, more so from someone who has been the brainchild of a number high profile and successful visual media projects. That said the “fear of failure” affects most of us to some degree or another. In fact it occupied my mind for quite some time though my OCD condition did and does not help either. Though my house is always immaculate and the knives and forks in order.
So what’s the cure? Well from personal experience producing quality over volume may go a long way to resolve this obsessive need and not placing time constraints also helps address such thought processes?
These days – every time I go out on a location shoot here in the Peak District I have a brief… a storyboard overview of what is my intention and how best can I succeed at achieving this…. does it help? Well it certainly keeps me focused and stops my wandering off to photograph other locations.
Example: I had always wanted to photograph the “Seven Ladies Stone Circle” when the heather was in bloom, so naturally August is the only month so why visit any other time of the year? Precisely, no point. 2 visits and I had achieved my goal.
So make a list of what, when and even how you want to shoot……
Right! there’s a lawn that needs mowing and my car needs washing…… they can wait maybe my OCD is being cured (-:
You are totally correct Peter.
The same goes for when you reach your desired location. Set up for the image you are after and don’t get distracted by “grab shots” that you may catch out of the corner of your eye. I was waiting for a bird to perch on a particular branch recently. Everything checked in terms of exposure, background clear etc. Having waited for over an hour with no activity I started to get distracted, photographing other subjects on nearby branches. When my target did land on my chosen perch, my prepared camera settings were then all wrong and the opportunity lost.