If you haven't got passion you won't get very far in becoming a great creative digital photographer. You could possibly be a good photographer but good and great photographers are a world and 10,000 hours apart. I say 10,000 hours because that's the minimum amount of time it's reckoned you need to give to a subject to become an expert in that field, whether it's playing the violin, professional frisbee or your digital photography.
Now, I know not everyone wants to be a great creative digital photographer, some are only interested in it as a hobby perhaps along with golf or competitive stamp collecting and that's fine too. As for myself, I have to be honest and tell you I'm a little obsessive-compulsive with my creative digital photography. Always have been, with everything, even as a child. I felt the need to touch certain things along the way to school or I would get this dreadful feeling that things would go badly for the rest of the day. As I got older other things replaced that obsession. Playing basketball, writing poetry and books I never submitted to editors, oil paintings which I sold in galleries, and then finally creative digital photography.
Of all things in my life creative digital photography has by far held my attention the longest and I know for sure that having invested well over the 10,000 hours mark, digital photography is here to stay. That's passion.
When my kids were younger and my husband was alive I didn't have so much time during the day to give to my passion, digital photography, but I'd find myself awake at 5 am thinking about the latest image I was working on and I'd sneak out of bed so I wouldn't wake my husband to go and work on that image. It was a joy. Not something I had to do but rather something I couldn't wait to do. My passion.
The challenge of learning mixed with applying what I'd learned was so compelling that when I first started exploring creative digital photography I was a little if not a lot OCD about it. I couldn't get enough and I knew I was hooked. I can't say my husband, God rest his soul, was as enthusiastic about this as I was. He regularly came to where I was working in the evenings, after the kids had gone to bed, to ask me if I would join him in the lounge to watch TV ....that's when I's get the laptop and sit there beside him working away happily on my knee for hours into the night.
These days, unfortunately, I have nobody to complain if I am working too hard or too long on my creative digital photography. Nobody to complain that I'm not giving them enough attention and I can let my OCD flow full swing which is exactly what I did when my husband passed away. I cannot tell you how grateful and lucky I was to have a passion like mine to lose myself in. A vehicle to express my deepest thoughts, fears, and sadness.
I created this image two months after he died and it's called The Heart That Never Sees What It Loves. It's currently available for purchase on Saatchi if you should be so inclined.
THE HEART THAT NEVER SEES WHAT IT LOVES
I was hanging it in a gallery exhibition and the curator mentioned that he thought the title too long and that we should shorten it. No way. It's staying because that's what it's all about. Creative digital photography isn't just photography, it's creative. I've been criticized in the past for having my artworks too plainly named too. You can't please all of the people all of the time so its best to go ahead and please yourself, I say. Creative digital photography is a work of passion at the end of the day. Following your heart is the only way.
Having said that, here are some pieces with short named pieces of my creative digital photography you can check out on Saatchi too. It's all about balance.
GIRL WITH FOX
I've given about 16 talks on creative digital photography around the photography clubs of Ireland over the past two years and a question related to the time I spend on work that I often get asked is "How many images a week would you produce and how long do they take"?
The answer is I produce about 2 or 3 creative digital photography pieces a week and they take about 9 hours of non stop work. They used to take 2 or three weeks when I first started. Having said that I don't post all the images I create. Some I end up not liking, or leave unfinished and a bit of a mess, putting it aside to work on it at a later stage like this one which I started and never finished about 5 years ago.
I might also be working on editorial work like this photograph below, still a form of creative digital photography but less artsy, which I rarely post on social media or put in galleries.
There's always something to be doing in the world of creative digital photography, like getting images printed out and framed to replace images in galleries where I've sold pieces. Like this one below which I sold on Friday in the Open Window Gallery in Rathmines, Dublin. Or shipping them off in tubes to buyers across the globe.
There's the attending of fashion shows, photographing models for a model agency, holding workshops, editing, editing and more editing, and finally cooking dinner and hanging clothes on the line. Always good to bring you back to reality. Although my creative digital photography is my passion, we all have lives outside of our artistic selves.
And that's what photography is to me. An all consuming, obsessive compulsive delight I wouldn't be without.
10,000 hours. Feck that. More like 100,000 hours.
Not sure who came up with the idea of needing that amount of hours to be an expert at what you do or if it's even really true, but one thing I do know is that if you're having trouble putting in the hours for your creative digital photography during the week, you're not going to get very far. It's far better to plan your life around your photography if you can. Or easier still ....why not become obsessive compulsive like me?
All for Love