Stay curious; keep learning. Stay hungry for personal growth... in any and all areas. If you love something, keep doing it. Push yourself just a little each time. Learn another aspect of the skill. And another. And another. Improvement is in the doing.
This evening, I decided I wanted to work on my photo editing a little. I edit photos every day, and I love it, but all too often I find myself in a routine. Bump contrast. Add brightness. Lower saturation. Flatten. Play with colors. Repeat.
It's a great system. It works for me. It often produces beautiful results. But when I'm not challenging myself, when I'm not pushing myself to experiment, does growth really occur? I'm sure it does; of course it does. Slowly. But I want to thrive. I want to get excited; to learn something new, and be proud of it.
So tonight, that's just what I did. I started reading an article on simulating VSCO filters -- this very same article introduced me to my last editing breakthrough a few months ago: the world of selective color. As I'm reading this article for the second time, I notice a link to another site; a site that has tons and tons of incredible film filters that you can simply drag into photoshop and place on top of your photos. "HELL YEAH," I thought. "This is amazing."
I notice that each filter comes with some rules -- usage rules put in place by its owner. For personal use only, some say. Use freely, but credit me, say others. Ah, credit. Of course.
So I begin to think... Every time I use one of these photos, do I need to write "filter by ___"? That's going to look kinda lame -- and, more importantly, take away from the impact of the photo. But I'm not going to refuse credit where credit is due.
What to do... what to do...
Girl, duh. Make your own damn film filter.
So, using the ones I just found as inspiration -- being careful to go in my own unique direction -- I play around. The first filter I create, BOOM. Into it. I love it.
And that's the filter you see on the images above.
And that is how these things happen.
Everything is a progression. Sometimes slow, sometimes quick.
You learn by doing.
This filter I created today isn't a result of just my mind. It's a result of tons of minds. The minds that discovered photography; film; cameras. The creators of Photoshop; of the Internet; of the machinery that created my computer. Of the artists who inspire me -- and the artists who inspire them. Of their teachers, and their teachers' teachers. Of the farmers who grew the foods I've eaten my entire life; of the Sun, Water, and Earth, which allowed those foods to thrive.
...I began that last paragraph attempting to make the point that instead of getting a quick answer, it took a little bit of exploring for me to accomplish what I created this evening... but instead, the point somehow turned into the notion that these filters have been a result of thousands -- millions -- of minds, hands, and hours, all leading up to this moment right now. That's the crazier thought.
So I shall end this post on a completely new note than what I had originally intended: My friends, we are all in this together. We all affect one another more than we can fathom; more than our brains can probably even comprehend. Whether we realize it or not; whether we want to admit it to ourselves -- or each other -- or not, we depend on each other. And I think that if we all took a step back once a day to remind ourselves of this... this plane of consciousness might become a bit of a more understanding place to be.
And on a totally different note, I think I'm a little bit crazy.