Are You Over-Correcting and Blind to Your Potential Shortcomings?

April 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

In the paragraph below, Ansel Adams shared some interesting insights about himself in his book, The Print.  If you don't already own the book, you should consider getting a copy.  I have been reading his trilogy, The Camera, The Negative, The Print for over thirty years, and I continue to learn from these timeless texts year after year.  

I find his insights to be valuable, and I wanted to share his wisdom with my readers. I have done similar things as Ansel described below, and I think as creative people, we have a lot of influences in our lives.  I believe that it is good to be vulnerable and open to input and criticism, but as Ansel points out, it is easy to over-correct sometimes, and our passion can blind us.  

"I once prepared an exhibition for the University of California, consisting of a group of 5 x 7 contact prints of general subjects. The prints were very deep in value and richly toned. I had gone through a "high-key" period when I stressed buoyancy and lightness, and I wanted to return to more solid effects. My friends asked if the prints were not rather dark, and several reviewers wrote that the images were interesting but printed heavily. I stoutly defended the prints. They were returned after the show (none sold), and I put them away. 

When I looked at the prints about a year later, I was appalled at their heaviness - how could I have printed them so dark? In reviewing the situation, I realized that I had "tuned" my judgment to an imposed idea: I was determined to get away from a high-key tendency, and I simply went too far, without having the judgment at the time to realize it."

I think we can learn from Ansel and keep this in mind for the future. 

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