If you look at what I do, there’s no consistency. The consistency is that there is no consistency.
– Michael Keaton
I have used the phrase, “consistently inconsistent” for many years. I only just discovered the quote above that describes so well how I feel about myself. As a person, I am rather predictable. As a creative artist, the counterpoint of these words can be a hefty obstacle.
I know I can create a decent photograph in most situations and do so with relative efficiency. At the same time, I constantly work to improve my technical and interpersonal skills. Any image that satisfies my rather abrasive self-critiques will lead to an internal discussion. I am consistently examining and re-examining why my favorite photographs have passed muster and what I can do to create new, far better favorites tomorrow. Most importantly, I want to deliver a high level of quality across the board with consistency.
In learning the craft, consistency is key. In mastering the art, a certain inconsistency is necessary to grow. If every portrait I take has the exact same lighting style, angle, camera settings, and post-processing applied, then the work becomes repetitive. In many instances, this is not only sought after but is of the utmost importance. Therein lies the craft. Where is the art in constant repetition of the exact same material?
To grow as a photographer, I must accomplish two key things:
- Strive to master the technical aspects of the craft
- Explore the limitless artistic possibilities
If I can do these two things while remaining true to my vision, then I will have succeeded. The beauty of this search for balance is that, even when one goal is met, another looms on the horizon. This continuous cycle, this beautifully consistent inconsistency, is what keeps all of this so exciting.
How do you push yourself to be better than yesterday?