Resolve to Make Mistakes

As I sit here in the post New Years eve chaos that is my apartment (There are house fires that look more orderly) I have been thinking a lot about new years resolutions and how futile they often are. For many people its a matter of giving themselves a task with no real goal. “Im going to lose weight” instead of “I am going to lose x pounds over y time.” For creatives it may be something that sounds like “I am going to leverage social media to make x dollars this year” or “I will book those three large wish list clients in the first business quarter of 2010” As well intentioned and noble all of these self promises may be, I think that sometimes we lose sight of some of the important aspects of what we do. making grandiose promises that should be goals to work towards rather than the deal breaker promises we blindly make to ourselves.

I have made myself two resolutions this year which I have tried to temper with a good dose of reality and good advice from others.  they are:

“I will shoot at least 2 self directed projects a month for myself to bolster my portfolio and attract clients”

I think that many photographers and creatives get caught up in frenzy of social media, marketing, branding, and market placement. While all of the above are important aspects of being a photographer in this new decade ,  they mean very little without the work to back it up. We should always be striving to create better images, to push our limits, and to create pictures that we truly love. Its hard to sell a product that you don’t believe in, by pushing yourself to make images that matter to you, you make it that much easier to make images that matter to your clients. Remember what Steve Martin said “The best way to make it is to be undeniably good”

“I will willingly make mistakes and fail more often”

Its only when we fail that we learn. Not every single shoot we do for ourselves has to result in portfolio images. Its so important to get out and experiment, have fun with your work, push limits, break boundaries, try new techniques, fail, realize your mistakes, correct them, and move on as a better photographer, illustrator, editor, writer… whatever. Its when you get to point that you stop learning and stop teaching yourself that you really start to lose your edge, and there is no excuse for it, not in this age where information is freely available, where peer review is abundant and democratic, and where we have more control over our creative output than ever. This resolution directly effects the first. I will be trying new techniques and workflows, new ways of looking at images, and at how I create these images.

While it has been a tumultuous holiday season, there is a lot to look forward to as well. I am in the process of launching a new brand identity, which may already be apparent to some of the regular visitors to this blog and my website. I’ll be talking about this process in the coming weeks as well as continuing to work with my fantastic new designer Nubby Twiglet on a variety of new brand and marketing elements, I’m ecstatic to be working with a professional designer after years of taking care of my design needs myself. I am also a lot more conscious of presentation and how to get my work in front of the right people, I have met some people lately that have given me some great advice on how to best do that. Moving into 2010 is a time thats filled with excitement. For a lot of people this is a significant era, its filled with possibility, uncertainty and opportunity, I can’t wait to see what the new decade has in store.

A question: what creative resolutions have the rest of you made this year?

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