Quantity for Quality in Photography

Simple idea:

You must shoot A LOT [quantity] in order to make GOOD PHOTOS [quality].

1. Repetition

Arnold S once said something like:

“Life is all about reps [repetitions].”

For example as a bodybuilder, in order to become stronger and build your muscle, the secret is putting in more repetitions [than others].

Or as a photographer, to get better, you must shoot more [more repetitions], gain more feedback [upload your photos to arsbeta.com for feedback], in order to improve.

Los Angeles, 2019 #cindyproject
Los Angeles, 2019 #cindyproject

2. How to improve as a photographer

Los Angeles, 2019 #cindyproject
Los Angeles, 2019 #cindyproject

It seems to improve as a photographer, following a formula like this is useful:

  1. Shoot a lot of photos [quantity]
  2. Share photos for feedback [arsbeta.com]
  3. Get feedback on your photos [constructive criticism]
  4. Integrate feedback into the new photos you make.
  5. Rinse and repeat.

3. Self-directed improvement in your photography

Walking. Los Angeles, 2019 #streettogs
Walking. Los Angeles, 2019 #streettogs

If you wanted to something more independent, you can do something like this:

  1. Shoot a lot of photos
  2. Spend deep contemplation judging and critiquing your own photos
  3. Determine which direction you like your photography going
  4. Continue to follow that path

4. Why quantity?

Quantity [quantus, ie. how many].

In the past, when they talked about ‘quantus’, it meant things like:

  • How [high a price?]
  • How dear…
  • As dear as…
  • ‘How big’

So my thought is that quantity is essentially asking:

How dear is this thing to you?

Quantity [quantus] was seen as something to signal importance. Even consider power– the ‘quantum’ (amount) of your power.

Applied to photography, it seems that the goal is to strive to make as many photos as possible which are dear to you.

How many photos have you shot in your lifetime? How many more photos do you imagine to shoot in your lifetime?

Cindy playing with Benjamin. Tustin, 2019
Cindy playing with Benjamin. Tustin, 2019 #family

Certainly in the principle of growth, the notion of quantity is essential:

  • Quantity of avocados produced by avocado tree
  • Quantity of branches produced by redwood tree
  • Quantity of offspring produced by animal

5. Quantity is NOT the opposite of Quality

Los Angeles, 2019
Los Angeles, 2019

Why is quantity and quality seen as opposites?

This makes no sense.

For example, they produce millions of iPhones a year, yet– we would argue that all of them are ‘high quality’. Or even Lamborghini– they make thousands of their cars a year, and still– they are high ‘quality’.

6. Quality

The word ‘quality‘ comes from the Latin: ‘qualis’ (of what kind), which comes from Proto-Indo-European of ‘who, how’.

The word ‘qualitas’ was actually coined by Cicero, to translate the greek word ‘poios‘, which means: “of a certain nature, kind, or quality.”

In modern times, we think about ‘quality’ as being “how premium of quality the materials of a certain thing”, or “how useful, valuable, or how much utility” a thing has.

But perhaps we should think about the notion of ‘quality’ more pragmatically, for example:

Quality as addressing ‘who’ created something, and ‘of what kind/genus’ something is.

For example, when I think of ‘German’ quality or craftsmanship, I am making a mental shortcut of thinking that German craftsmen are meticulous, precise, and use durable and aesthetically beautiful materials.

7. Quality as defining the creator

Benjamin looking at himself in the mirror. Tustin, 2019

But the very basic thing is:

Who made it?

For example, the ‘quality’ of an artwork is: it was made by Picasso. Or, it was made by Leonardo da Vinci. We should replace the word “quality” with “genus/genealogy” (who made it?)

Thus the ‘quality’ of your photography or artwork is this:

You made it.

Conclusion: Quality is you

Architecture. Los Angeles, 2019
Architecture. Los Angeles, 2019

Anything you create is valuable. Why? Because you made it!

Simple as that.

Make stuff, and share it.