An Expansion of Thought, Narrowing of Approach

"Capturing an excellent frame is all about being disappointed."–K Madhavan Pillai

“Capturing an excellent frame is all about being disappointed.”–K Madhavan Pillai

Young photographers, not in age but in starting out, have never had it as good. For someone who is extremely passionate, it takes about five years of rigorous, single-minded practice to start producing excellent frames that can begin to compete with the best in the world. If one were to study the elements of this practice, it begins with arriving at the decision of taking up photography, not necessarily as a conscious choice, but out of an interest to record moments from the immediate environment. There is then a process of first acquiring a visual and technical foundation, and using it well. The next step is to try very, very hard to be at the right place at the right time.

This is easier said than done. Capturing an excellent frame is all about being disappointed… perhaps over 1000 disappointments to a single good picture. In fact, if you have not felt the pain of failure often enough, chances are that you are not really trying hard, or that you are not setting the bar high enough. This is an important juncture. Over the course of time, one learns that a large part of success depends on understanding the behaviour and nuances of one’s subject, and this may involve additional study and observations.

This knowledge is put to use constructively, and photography moves to the next level. Going further, the cycle repeats, just on higher levels, refining the methods and processes into ways of practice. There really is nothing new in all of this. It is the way learning occurs and takes root. This is the way art gets practiced. There are indeed no short-cuts in the pursuit of a good frame.

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, Edit note, April 2015