I read that if a photographer produced 4 or 5 memorable images during his career then his career could be considered a success. Those 4 or 5 memorable images are the ones that could be hung in world class museums.
I began thinking about some of the photographers that I admire and tried to recall some of the images they created that still stand out for me. Guys such as Robert Farber, Horst P. Horst, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bob Carlos Clarke, David Hamilton, Ken Marcus, etc.
Then I began comparing those to musicians whose music I grew up listening to and still listen too when I’m relaxing or as I write this article. Talent such as Chaka Khan, Prince, The O’Jays, The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, The Temptations, etc. They have exceeded that 4 or 5 amount and even 10 or 12 and some have 20 to 30 classics hit songs.
My definitive expectations has been getting to that 4 or 5 number. But now, I no longer limit myself and have decided to wait until I can no longer shoot to decide if I’ve even reached creating those 2 or 3 classic images that could define if I had a worthwhile career.
I’m seeking to create images that please me first. If that doesn’t happen I can usually study what I was trying to do, what I actually did and how to get the final result I was seeking next time (or get a bit closer to it). I remember reading Ansel Adams stating that it took him 50 years of printing an image to get it like he pre-visualized when he first took the shot.
I’m sure doing those years of trying to print that negative Ansel tried various things and through keeping notes and advanecement in the printing processes, he was able to get the desired result. Same today, we must take notes (or blog) and keep trying updated digital printing methods to achieve the desired result we seek.
So tell me, what are you, the readers, doing to meet your definitive expectations?
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