I often tell you to go out and shoot, but what if you suck?
Is it better to head out each day and take photos with horrible composition and no sense of style, with the hopes that repetition will help you become a better photographer? Is it better instead to seek mentorship or to attend college or take non-credit courses concerning photography?
On one hand experience truly is the best teacher, even though “experience” doesn’t ONLY involve shooting. Experience also is posting photos and getting hardly no responses, or posting photos and getting wonderful responses. Experience also entails people criticizing or judging your photos.
Alternately, education is a short cut to being good, and in life short cuts are the best routes to take, fuck anyone who tells you otherwise. You may think buying a camera and shooting it with no instruction is a shortcut, but the opposite is in fact true. You can wander aimlessly across the tundra that is street photography, or take mundane, pathetic event photos indefinitely if left unchecked. It may take YEARS before you have a photographic epiphany and begin to evolve, or it may never happen. You could just suck forever. On the other hand you could seek a mentor or a attend a proper college and learn the secrets of light and shadow, and within a short time begin taking exceptional photos. The only downside to formal education is that it can be horribly expensive, and can lead to “nostalgia worship” like Eric Kim and guys of his ilk suffer from as they try to make every photo look like it was taken 68 years ago. This is something that can be overcome of course, but owing 120K in student loans cannot so easily be mitigated for most of us.
I cant afford college and honestly, I’m way too much of a rebel to be instructed on a day to day basis anyhow. I’m like a dragon. I’ll fight for you if I like you but I wont listen to you in any meaningful way. College, mentorship or trial by fire……its your choice. The only thing that matters in the end is that you make every effort to not suck.