Portrait of Gordon Parks

No Pretension.

As defined by Merriam-Webster:

pre·ten·sion

noun pri-ˈten(t)-shən

: the unpleasant quality of people who think of themselves as more impressive, successful, or important than they really are

: a desire to do something or a claim to be something that is impressive or important

“The subject matter is so much more important than the photographer.”

Gordon Parks

I chose the tag line “No Pretension” for good reason: confidence, humbleness, and humility should happily coexist in my life. It’s something I want to keep at the forefront of my mind regardless of the level of mastery I attain. Forever learning is my approach to photography and life in general. I hope one day to teach, which is odd for me because I’ve never had the desire to be a serious “teacher” of anything before; I just couldn’t envision that part of me no matter how good I was or aspired to be at something. In my experience, the best teachers and mentors were the ones who while still demanding excellence from me, realized they themselves had to continue learning, and selflessly pass the knowledge and wisdom along to others.

So is my attitude towards photography. It’s a young medium in terms of art, but many greats have come before me. “Don’t allow yourself to get intoxicated on the praise of a few nice shots.” is something I keep in mind so that I don’t get complacent and continue to grow.  The quote above from Mr. Parks is spot on. If it weren’t for the people, the architecture, the beautiful landscape, or whatever it is you photograph, there wouldn’t be a picture earning you praise. Let the work speak for itself with a slight push is how I feel.

I guess it’s why I readily embrace failure; I almost thrive on it in a sense. Through failure, I realize I don’t know something, and push to either figure it out, or seek help from someone better than myself.

Photo credit: By Rowland Scherman (photographer), File originally created by User:SteveHopson at en.wikipedia.org – This file has been extracted from another file: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Photographer Gordon Parks.) – NARA – 542074.tif, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=620001

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