The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Seeing skills

Not too long ago I came home with a bunch of photos that didn’t impress me. As I scanned them I realized that they felt somewhat “empty”. At most I could call some of them snapshots.

Looking back at how I made them I could see that I hadn’t been invested in making them. I had somehow taken them hastily.

I had started to see this when choosing pictures for blog posts while browsing through my archives. The way I see pictures has changed and that has changed through the way I’m making the pictures nowadays. It’s a skill that I’ve built up one picture after the other. It required to step in with intention and curiosity. Which I’m not even sure to have decided consciously. It emerged from a daily practice of making pictures and selecting the one I liked.

The practice created opportunities. The review transformed pleasure into momentum. The habit established the skill.

With enough practice, the sense of not delivering didn’t feel like a failure. Instead, it was teaching me something. Combined with realizing how I had acted differently from usually I could see how I’ve learned to make pictures I enjoy. What belongs to my way of making pictures. I also realized that the practice had morphed into a skill. Something I do differently from how I did it in the past.

When we regularly practice something, progress and learning somehow fade away. It takes something remarkable to be able to see the learning. It takes attention to realize that a skill is earned and that it might not be available to everyone.

It’s worth it to help others see how far they developed their skills. They might not be able to see it by themselves.


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