Art Model, Emese © 2013 Terrell Neasley
“If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”
~ Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life

There are a lot of things we can do to be better at photography. And sometimes it can get overwhelming to learn it all. It can be intimidating to see some masters at work and reach a conclusion that you can never achieve that sort of greatness. I know I’ve looked at some artist’s work and felt that way before. Even today, I am amazed at some of the artwork being put out by some of these newcomers to the game. They tend to see things differently. They were born into technology and are not afraid to try new things that get introduced in the market. They take new tech and re-purpose it for something entirely different and create gold with it. It can be depressing to have a concept that would seem simple to everybody else, yet Chinese arithmetic to you…assuming you are not Chinese, of course. In which case if you are, you still get my point.

Art Model, Emese © 2013 Terrell Neasley

But here’s two assumptions I’m going to make based on my own experiences:

1. With the exceptions of the true pioneers in this trade (and any other, for that matter), everybody you come to idolize and drool over started out just the same way, doing the same thing. Nobody starts out understanding an f/stop or stroboscopic flash. Granted some may learn quicker than others, but we all start out at ground zero. This is not a race at all. Just because someone crosses the finish line in front of you, doesn’t mean you lose. Just keep running. Cross the finish line and continue to run!

Art Model, Emese © 2013 Terrell Neasley

2. Many of the great ones are not as good as what you might think! I’m telling you. I’ve been sort of amazed at this. Even at this latest Photoshop World, I recently blogged about one such situation. I could not understand how the instructor’s work became significant. Then there are other times, its not the photographer that works the magic, but rather his team of people that make them look good. I hope I’m not sounding too cynical, but there is truth to what I say. There are some photographic geniuses out there. Had you been at Photoshop World, you’d have met a whole host of them. They also exist in some of your own peers! Study your trade. Pull out your camera and just go shoot. Keep researching the web. If you want, for starters, just follow my lead… Get up on PhotoFocus, with Richard Harrington and TWIP, with Frederick Van Johnson. Then stay tuned with,, SLRLounge, Strobist, and Luminous-Landscape. You can learn from anybody! Never think you own photography, else she will, at some most inopportune time, bite you in the ass. Be open to be educated from anybody anywhere. The better you become, I tell you for certain, some of the very people you look up to will look to you for guidance, advice, and consult.

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

~ Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenplay

But here is my point.

Art Model, Emese © 2013 Terrell Neasley

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid to look stupid. Some of my most valuable lessons have come from looking stupid. Don’t be afraid of new technology. And above all…Don’t be afraid of anybody else’s work. Never downplay your own work. I’ve got work that I don’t show right now because I’m not ready. If it doesn’t meet my own standards of satisfaction, then I acknowledge that and keep trying. I do my own landscape art. But Bjorn Burton…DANG! That kid is bad ass with his landscape and fine art. I can’t touch it. I can try. But I’m not into making mine look like his. And I’ve got my own style that has been successful. So instead, I’ve learned to appreciate his work without feeling negative about my own. Okay, I just revisited his site and can understand how some people may feel bad about their own work. I don’t condone that, but I UNDERSTAND! Kidding…kind of…

And lastly, keep this in mind. Its never too late! No matter how slow you get it or how little time you can put into it at once, stick with it. Start early, start late. Just do it. I’m very happy to see so many people picking up a camera again at a later age in life. When I’m in the camera store, whether working or not, there is always a elderly gentleman or lady who comes in with a film camera wanting to get it cleaned or getting advice on a new one so they can get back into photography. I tell you it does my heart well. Its never too late to do what you love…whether photography or modeling. This is what I love about Art Model, Emese who chose to model for me. Who cares when you start, just start! And she has. Looking forward to more work with this new art model.