I learned photography in high-school continued in college and then I graduated and of course I knew everything…. (or so I thought). A few years later I found my skills stagnant, my photographs were boring, and my desire to photograph was fleeting. I would see other artists works and be blown away! I remember attending a few different art openings of friends I graduated with and having the realization that I was obsolete, my friends have passed me by because they pushed themselves to continue to grow and learn.
I resolved to not let that happen again. It was a good lesson in life to learn as well. I read in a book one time that you have to kick your own butt. I started to give myself assignments. If I knew I was going to the zoo I would make a list of shots I wanted to get. I would look at other photographers works and see how I could improve myself. These “assignments” also had a side blessing I didn’t consider for years. I learned how to work confined. Most people say artists are free creators. While that sounds awesome, it’s almost never the case in the professional art world. If your a designer, illustrator, graphic artist, photographer…. you are given rules to follow, a box to stay within. How you handle your box is the difference maker.
So if you have a chance, confine yourself to silly parameters. Figure a way to limit your subject and see what you can do. Then critique yourself honestly. In the past I have used this as a way to push myself, to redefine my eye and mind.
Maybe next time I do this I will only photograph things that are orange, or objects that start with the letter G. They say the learner will inherit the earth, while the learned will find themselves comfortably living in a world that no longer exists.