If you hang around me for any length of time you are going to hear my favorite quote, “experience is what you gain the moment after you don’t need it”. It is one of my go to phrases and I probably say it so much that my friends are sick of it. I don’t know where the phrase came from, but as I was writing this I looked it up on Google and got a similar quote from the comedian Steven Wright, “Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it”. I don’t recall ever hearing Steven Wright say it, but it’s close enough that I will attribute it to him.
So What Does It Mean?
I like this phrase because it can be interpreted in many different ways. It can embody the slogan of my alma mater Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, “Learn by Doing”, it can also represent the old adage that we learn from our mistakes. The key point to it is that you need to take action in order to learn, and to gain that experience. You can memorize books, study the works of the great masters of photography, but until you actually take the camera in your hand and take a photo you will not be an experienced photographer.
Procrastination and Fear
I have written recently about how I’m afraid to schedule photo shoots
. I postpone, I procrastinate, and I wait until the conditions are right. As I wrote, some of this is because of fear of failure but there is another type of fear that keeps me from scheduling a shoot and that is fear of the unknown. I often don’t know how I am going to get the shot I have in my mind’s eye. I don’t know what I’m doing, I look around at the clients, models, and make up artists and wonder if they can see that I don’t have a clue. But I power through it, I take some shots, I make some adjustments and 9 times out of 10 I get the shot I wanted. I didn’t know what I was doing, but now I do. I’m now experienced and know what to do the next time.
Life is just a series of experiences strung together
Life is just a series of experiences strung together, so we should have as many experiences as possible. This is probably my second most used phrase. To me it means Carpe Diem, try new things, confront your fears, take bold photos, and create Epic shit! Jump into new experiences and you will become an experienced person. Try new experiences with your photography and you will become an experienced photographer!
So tell me about your new experiences in the comments below!