I think what we’re all seeking for is growing in our photography. But how do we do that?

1. Extreme experimentation

To not be satisfied with the way things have been done before, but it start things carte blanche, that is blank slate, and to experiment for yourself.

2. Time and practice

It is impossible to grow and develop without time and practice. Typically speaking, the more you practice some thing, and the more time you give towards it, the better you will become. The more you will progress, and the more you will grow and evolve into photographer and visual artist.

3. Piggybacking off the wisdom from the past

One of the greatest things I learned about photography is the notion of contact sheets. I learned about contact sheets from studying Magnum contact sheet, and learning that the masters but often have to work the scene quite a lot in order to get one good image.

Even Henri Cartier Bresson once said, “you must milk the cow a lot to get a little bit of cheese.“

4. Making photos that you yourself love

The problem in today’s modern social media photography world is this: we are striving to impress others with our photos, and to maximize our likes and followers in social media. However a more noble goal is to strive to make photos that we consider beautiful, and photos that spark joy in our own souls.

5. The joy of sharing your knowledge and experience with others

What does it mean to be a master? To be a maestro. That is, to be a teacher. And no matter how much or how little experience you have, there will always be somebody with less experience and knowledge and wisdom as you. Therefore it seems that the noble goal is to pay it forward, and to share openly with others.

6. Analyzing your own photos.

Also in order to grow as a photographer, there needs to be some sort of postmortem examination, and to see what do you have done well, and how you can improve.

The way I personally do this is to examine my photos on my iPad, to screenshot the photos that I like, and sketch the compositional lines on top of them.

7. Harness modern and digital photography, and digital tools

Don’t be a degenerate hipster photographer, and hating digital, thinking that somehow digital is not cool. In fact digital is our biggest asset in terms of development and growth, because you could close the Feedback loop.

The love of digital photography is like how Elon musk loves electric cars, consider the Tesla model S plaid smashing any other gas cars. And let us not get suckered by romanticism of gasoline cars and Stickshifts. We must think about the future.

8. Exploring all forms of artistic and visual expression.

The Uber photographer and the Apex photographer is he or she whom harnesses all forms of creative expression. That is, to create any sort of visual arts which speaks to your soul.

9. Creative isolation, and more interest in yourself than interest in others.

Funny enough, to be self-centered and self focused is seen as a vice. Modern morality and ethics tells us that we should be more interested in others, and more trusted in the well-being of others. But the downside of this is that we end up comparing ourselves to others, focusing on rumors and gossip, and losing focus on our own self development.

My best advice for photographers to improve is to delete their Instagram. And instead of posting to Instagram or Facebook, to post that on to yourself hosted blog instead. Or using as a testing ground for your images.

10. Staying consistent with your equipment and aesthetic

A simple concept I have for self development and growth in photography is this: stick to one camera, one lens, one aesthetic, one post processing or JPEG style for at least an entire year, in order for you to experiment and grow visually and artistically. For example, just stick with a ricoh gr 3 with with the integrated 28 mm lens, and shoot high contrast JPEG.

11. The disdain of staying indoors or at home

I like the notion that adventure awaits. That and where to find more inspiration and motivation to make photos, just spend more time outdoors. In fact, I think your productivity as a photographer is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend outdoors and the time not in your home.

If you live in the boring suburbs, and there isn’t anything interesting around, just hop in your car and drive somewhere you consider interesting. Also, I recommend as much as possible going to the grocery store, going to Costco, going to cafés, going to restaurants, or going to any place where humans congregate. Eve going to nature and going hiking is a good idea. Or maybe even going camping. Just bring your camera along.

Even go to church or a religious place of congregation to photograph.

12. How do you know if you’re making progress or not?

Now the trillion dollar question is this: to know and discern whether you’re making progress or not. Don’t use metrics or numbers to gauge your progress, rather, track your degree of curiosity. that is, the more childlike and curious you are, the better.

Think to yourself: as time goes on, do you become more curious and enthusiastic about photography, or more jaded and frustrated and depressed?

Curiosity is the ultimate metric of and for growth.

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