• Steve Ball

Embracing Failure

Updated: Jul 1, 2019


The more photographs I take the more my attitude to failure changes. In my early days as a landscape photographer I would go out on a shoot for a day and would be really disappointed if I didn’t get back with a stand out image. I would question my ability and on some days even consider whether I wanted to carry on. I looked at work from other photographers and genuinely believed that the work they published represented the images that they produced each and every time they went out into the field. As time has passed, and as experience has been gained, I have realised that we all go out and return with average, and even poor images. The point at which I recognised that was the point when I feel my photography started to improve, at least to the point where I am taking photographs that I like.

The key lesson that I have learnt is that we are all better when we can accept and embrace failure. We live in an increasingly competitive world where there is a much greater willingness to judge and criticise, particularly through the anonymity of social media. Such circumstances can place pressure on us, but only if we allow it to. My view is that we have to recognise that failure is a natural element of life; we are just not able to produce great results day after day without exception. To believe that we can will only burden us, and ultimately stifle our creativity and affect our overall performance. Much better to look at our results with a critical but objective eye, and identify the opportunities for improvement.

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