Mastering photography takes time and likely much longer than anyone anticipates
posted Monday, October 8, 2018 at 11:00 AM EST
Photographer Sean Tucker headed to Iceland to celebrate his 40th birthday and took the time to reflect on his photographic career thus far. In the video below, Tucker shares his thoughts on what it takes to master photography.
Sean Tucker has had a very interesting and diverse journey. After wanting to rehabilitate big cats in Zimbabwe as a teen, he enrolled in a wildlife sciences degree and failed. He then shifted to psychology and graduated. Afterwards, he became ordained and spent time as a priest in South Africa before being let go from this around the age of 30. On the side, while doing church work, he had been doing photography and videography to make ends meet. In the last decade, Tucker has been a full-time photographer.
From the outside, Tucker’s journey may look unfocused or cluttered, but he says that none of it has been wasted time and he wouldn’t change anything if he could. A constant through his journey, and everyone else’s, is that everything takes time. It takes time to become educated, it takes time to work and to change careers, it takes time to improve upon any skill you will ever have. Often, something takes more time than you want it to.
When Tucker made the jump to becoming a full-time photographer, he had anticipated becoming quite good after a year and being an established name in the industry. Ten years on, there are still times when it’s difficult and a struggle to make everything work financially and professionally. He also states that he has yet to create art that will survive beyond him. This may sound a bit negative, but it’s okay, because as Tucker says, “This type of thing takes time.” To hear Sean Tucker’s full discussion on mastery, watch the video below.
The positive takeaway is that someone who masters something and becomes a renowned member of their field is very rarely someone who was born particularly good at something. Famous photographers weren’t born famous photographers. They might have had a natural proclivity, yes, but what sets a master apart from everyone else is that they valued that specific skillset and working toward that skillset so much more than everyone else. A master had the patience and focus to see the process through. If you value mastering photography enough and have the time to commit, it can be done. If you simply want to improve over time and enjoy photography, that’s great too.
(Via Sean Tucker)