It’s easy to celebrate our successes in photography — the proud moments in-between creating and presenting a picture that we’re particularly fond of. But what about the times we fail? I think there’s a good argument for celebrating our photography failures, and here’s why.
Failure Makes Us Better
The quickest way to success is by failing at something. If you’re consistently successful in all of your ventures, and can’t recall many failures, it’s probably because you’re choosing to play it safe. Instead of reaching for what could be your full potential in photography, you may be accepting mediocrity to avoid the fear of failing.
Failure is indeed life’s greatest teacher. Without it, how would we learn from our mistakes? The key, though, is that when you fail, you embrace it. Discouragement may creep in when you fail at a photography project that you’ve worked long and hard on. The turning point comes when you decide to reassess what went wrong and caused you to fail. When you look back and consider why the failure happened, it will help you make a map to a better, successful, photography project or venture. Using failure positively means embracing failure head-on, and deciding not to let it discourage you.
Failure Removes Fear
Once you’ve decided to embrace failure, any fear that you may have had in the past to try to tackle something new or challenging will start to vanish. Society today does not embrace failure. You’ll hardly find any stories in history books praising the failures of those from the past. However, the few accounts of failure that do exist are ones where something was created in spite of a massive failure (I’m thinking of you Thomas Edison with your fancy light bulb).
Because of this societal tendency to shy away from failure, many of us fear failure, even if subconsciously. It stands to reason, then, that when we decide to embrace our past failures and our potential future failures, that’s when change starts to happen. Embracing failure means attempting projects that you’re unsure of what the outcome may be. Instead of trying a photography project that you know you can accomplish, try something you’ve always wanted to attempt but aren’t sure you can pull off. And, if you don’t succeed the first time, you know what they say, “try, try again.”
Failure Can Breed New Creativity
Because failure puts us outside of our comfort zone, it’s prime breeding ground for new creativity. When we fail and reassess what went wrong, we’re causing ourselves to improve, whether we recognize the improvement process or not. This is when our technical photography skills begin to grow. Knowing what we, as photographers, did wrong will help eliminate what not to do the next time. And what’s more, sometimes failing at some attempt leads to unexpected results, which is always a bonus.
If you ever find yourself questioning whether you should pursue a photo venture, do it. Let go of the fear, and charge forward knowing that if you fail, it’ll only help you with the success of your next project.
Lead Image by Gabriel Peter via Pexels, used under Creative Commons.