I don’t actually go in for New Year’s resolutions: I very much agree with Mark Twain about this particular tradition.
Which isn’t to say that I don’t try to improve myself – I’m perfectly well aware of my flaws and failings, and I try on a daily basis to overcome at least some of them. But after many decades of beating myself up, I’ve learned that self-loathing is the fastest route to hell for me and everybody around me, and I now therefore cut myself a (quite possibly over-generous) measure of slack.
I did actually write out a resolution yesterday, but purely as an exercise for A Year With My Camera; the affirmation was The only photographer I will compare myself to is the one I used to be. A few years ago I couldn’t even have written that sentence without at least correcting the grammar – see how easy-going I am these days! But seriously, I do think it’s a valuable goal to keep in mind, especially as my FB news feed is full of postings by other photographers – it would be easy for this hobby to become a very competitive pastime indeed. As it is of course for some people – but I don’t much care for those people, and I don’t want to be one of them.
But what about photography competitions, I hear you ask? Why enter them, if this is your attitude? It’s a good point, and I don’t really have a convincing answer. I don’t enter many competitions, except at club level, and I think the really valuable thing about those is seeing all the work that’s entered and hearing the judges’ critiques – but I’d be lying if I claimed not to like it when I win, or to be philosophical when my submission loses to an image that I don’t personally rate.
So, like much of my life, it’s a bit of a development area.
I had ample opportunity this evening to compare myself with the photographer I used to be, because today’s effort with a camera wasn’t my finest work. I could blame my unfamiliarity with the 7DII, or the fact that I used a cheap multi-purpose zoom rather than one of my good lenses, or the light not being as kind as I’d expected it to be, or the moon being in Venus, or Donald Trump, or Brexit…. but in truth I think I just wasn’t on my game. This file has suffered so much fartnarkling that eventually R (arriving at my shoulder with a glass of wine) took pity on it and suggested that I should stop torturing the poor thing and just post it.
And now, having failed by some way at my daily resolution to be in bed before midnight, I’ll wish you all goodnight.