Reflection in a doorknob
Uploaded to Flicker
on December 7, 2005 by Claudecf
I’m just a big copy cat. I watch what others do and mimic the stuff I like. Yet, in the process of imitating, some of myself gets imprinted on what I am doing and it becomes something original.
Maybe that is what inspiration is or how it works.
At any rate, I like to imitate, especially when I am learning a new skill, like photography. I hang out at Flickr, because some excellent photographers share their work there. I can browse the various photostreams or search on tags and see some great stuff. Further, other photographers may comment on what makes a particular photo good (or not so good.) Again, I am learning from others.
If one wants to get better at tennis, I’ve heard, one should play against opponents who are more skilled than oneself. I think that that approach applies to learning anything. It just makes sense. You can’t learn to do something well from someone whose skill is mediocre.
For myself, often the challenge is being able to identify what makes something good. Sometimes I will see it right away. Other times I won’t. I feel that a little bit of theory can help fine tune one’s radar for indications of quality work. Even a 101-level primer in a subject can be a huge leg up when it comes to this.
But often, especially with artistic pursuits, the evaluation is subjective. It looks good to me, I like it, so I deem it “good.” A more tuned individual might be able to tell me why the photo/poem/painting/etc. that I fell in love with is flawed. But, even that is good, as long as the critique is balanced and reasonable. That insight helps me to peer with greater subtlety, fine-tuning my own radar.
Hence, even in that, I imitate the good examples.