Like our friend JAY Z says:
Don’t be good, be great.
And something I realized:
In studying the masters (great photographers) of photography, what we are truly seeking is our own personal greatness.
What does it mean to be ‘great‘?
Great: what we *really* mean to talk about is to be ‘magnus‘– [meghs in Proto-indo-european]. Same word as ‘magnum’ [the peak of greatness]. Mighty, big, and strong.
A great photographer as a matter of elevation?
To become ‘greater’ is to go higher. To also go deeper (plumb the depths of photographic knowledge and artistic-aesthetic philosophy), and also to go *FURTHER*. Henri Cartier-Bresson as only a half-great master, as he gave up on photography towards the end of his life [he saw photography as *inferior* to drawing and painting].
To become a great photographer means:
To discover a new beautiful aesthetic in photography, and to have continued motivation to take photography *FURTHER*.
On becoming the uber-photographer
Uber means ‘above’ and ‘beyond’. To become an uber-photographer means:
To disdain what your contemporaries are doing, and rather … finding inspiration from the past masters, and seeking to super-overcome them!
How does one become great in photography?
Certainly ‘practice makes great’. We should consider photography as a practice, and a strengthening of sorts.
Perhaps the best analogy for photography is like strength-building (bodybuilding, powerlifting):
To become stronger, to become more dominant, to have a more epic physique, and to augment your muscles … you must augment your resistance and difficulty.
If you keep lifting a 1-pound dumbbell (even for a million reps), you won’t get stronger.
I am convinced:
The only way to become ‘better’ is to use yourself as your own personal ruler, and to judge your progress as a photographer based on your own gut, instinct, and personal self-assessment of yourself.
In this way, self-critique as a photographer is good (not to see yourself as ‘bad’, but rather … to simply judge your progress).
Thus my simple answer to become a great photographer:
Continual self-critique and self-development and self-improvement in your photography, using yourself as the sole judge!
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