I just watched a wonderfully inspirational video and thought I’d post some of my own thoughts on the topic. I’ve read and heard many motivational material over the years, but some things have stuck for one reason or another.
One of my earliest motivational quotes that I applied to photography was a quote by Arnold Schwarzenegger from his Mr Olympia body building days:
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger
For me in photography (specifically club and concert photography) that means that 1/2 way through the shoot, when I think to myself that I’ve got enough good images and that I should put the camera down, this is the time to push and keep taking more pictures. Deal with the fatigue and lack of desire to photograph, and push through to continue taking pictures. And from experience I’ve noticed that the next day looking back at the images shot I almost every time see a progression in the quality of my images right up to the end of the photo shoot. This means that had I stopped early, I would not have created some of my best images.
In fact this point has made me change how I approach the editing process of my images. I now start at the end of the day and work backwards through the photos knowing that most of the time the best images will be at the end.
For the past 2 years since I started getting more serious about club and concert photography I’ve been reminding myself of that quote every time I feel I want to put the camera down (which is pretty much every time I’m shooting). It’s become more of a habit now to just push through the pain but I still have to remind myself from time to time.
Another quote that for me goes hand in hand with Arnold’s quote is by Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the US.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
– Calvin Coolidge
Though I think Talent, Genius and Education are also important, Persistence and ‘pushing through the pain’ I think have helped me grow in my photography over the years more then anything else I’ve done. As a matter of fact I think these principles have helped me grow in every other aspect of my life (not just photography) in one way or another.
What motivates you to ‘push through the pain’?