The Road to Greatness in Photography

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Developing maturity and greatness as a photographer requires years of practice, combined with trial and error to develop your talents. As we talked about Michael Kenna yesterday, the subject…


The Art of Photography says:
Mark Adams says:

Ive really enjoyed exploring many of the episodes on your channel. I feel
like I have learned more from watching these episodes than from some
workshops Ive attended. Well done you for cultivating the photographic
community with meaningful insights and humility.

mcol3 says:

You mentioned Diane Arbus: will you feature her at some point?

Tami Howard says:

+Ted Forbes is rocking the house with his videos. I love his content! Check
him out!

cylurian says:

It’s so easy to say that we can do “that picture”, without knowing the
circumstances of that moment. How much time did they take to refine their
skills just to take that picture!? It’s important to understand historical
context of the photographer and their contributions to the field; so we can
appreciate what fine art is about. Ted thanks for giving us an insight of
who these masters are, to give us hope for our own mastery and feel that we
to can contribute to this wonderful field. 

Gerónimo Bodratti says:

great video ted! 

Darrius Quinn says:

Ted how do you feel about Ig and its impact on the view of photography? in
the eyes of people who don’t have a passion for the art whether it be as
appreciating or actually shooting. I hope this question makes sense.

Jan Folke Rørvik says:

It’s definitely by photocopying the masters.

Daniel Stewart says:

Another great video Ted. It is definitely important to keep in mind where
people started and the amount of work that goes into creating great art.
But it also got me thinking about something else. People change or
progress over time and their taste and perspective on the world and the
universe around them changes which will always influence their work. So I
think it is important to remember that stylistic changes throughout a
career and not really a matter of improvement or getting better but also
simply that the person creating the art is not the same person they were 10
years ago.

In terms of seeing improvement even in the moment and grounding everything
in reality I think it is fun to look at contact sheets from some of the
greats. It not only shows the way they worked but also demystifies the
whole idea that people like HCB were somehow special and everything that
came out of their camera was perfection. I have so many people that I
talk with who love photography but say “I would love to be a photographer
but I am not talented enough.” It drives me crazy. More then anything
else it is all about hard work and dedication and yes skill and a knack for
seeing things others overlook.

I also have to say that although I find your humility an admirable quality
I think sometimes you don’t get enough credit for your teaching. We live
in a society that does not put much value on those that teach and I just
want to say thanks. You have been a big influence.

AuthenticSound says:

That is so true, Ted !

Peter Gunn says:

This was a really insightful vid, thanks again chief!

amosk24 says:

Great message. I guess hard work is still worth something :)

Tod Davis says:

Great video, i guess the issue that I’m having is not having outlets for my
work. The local art centre runs members exhibitions however they are only
once or twice a year plus you can only enter one piece normally :(
Anyway on another topic, it would cool to see some more how to type videos,
especially exploring different alternative processes etc.

Niko Gobel says:

Totally agree with you :D

Carlos A. Santos says:

Thank you sir. This was very useful..

Michael Dunn says:

Check out this video on YouTube:

Tim Heubeck says:

Thanks for your thoughts here Ted :)

What I have experienced, is that you do your thing and suddenly people
start to compare you and your work to other people, you were not even aware
of yet. Some even mistake you for copying them. I think it’s also pretty
important for not mistaking one for cloning another person’s work, when he
actually doesn’t.
For instance I was not aware of Michael Kenna, until your video, and
noticed a lot of similarities in recent work of mine.

I hope I was able to get the message across. 

Peter Donnan says:

Check out this video on YouTube:

Paul Margera says:

Thank you again for your effort in making these wonderful videos. Every
time I feel uncreative there is a new “art of photography” video and I
instantly feel better in doing what I love. Thank you, Ted.
You are the one who got me into photography, especially film photography.
Greetings from Germany


Kathryn Rushe says:

You might already know this but there is a book called ‘Steal Like an
Artist’ by Austin Kleon that partly covers similar ground about influence
and developing your own style. I often find myself giving copies of it to
people who need a push to create their own path. :) 

Charles Vandergriff says:

Great show. In my early years when I began in photography, I only had my
father who I learned from. However through the years and still today, I
find that I will look at a particular photographers work and add my own
personality. I can only dream of being a great photographer such as you
show here, but all I can do is continue to do what I do and add upon what I
have already done to creat bigger and better than the previous photograph. 

natia apkhaidze says:
AnalogFilmProject says:

great video ted can you do on masao yamamoto

FIA FIA says:

ah. the spot where you’re located in the frame gives me an uneasy feeling

chx1115 says:

Hi Ted, I just want to say how much I like your videos. I truly appreciate
your work and all the knowledge you shared with us. Thanks!

Quincy Battieste says:

Good video… :-) 

Felipe Cornejo says:

I think the way to be an unique photographer is to find your kind of
photography and to work very hard to perfect it, and to have a little of
good luck

MrKikoboy says:

this is the age of instant – nobody wants to spend the time and everybody
wants to be a star….tomorrow’s almost like the medium
isn’t important , just the end result…(this is usually evident from the
work anyway )…nobody seems to want to do anything just for the love of
doing it and working to improve themselves…even if their only benchmark
is themselves…( and sometimes that is a better benchmark than seeing what
sells at a gallery )…this is kinda why I can’t take the “art world”
seriously and have just depended on my own judgement…Kenna has some
lovely stuff to be sure….but I wouldn’t say every one is a
masterpiece…( and neither would he I would think…) there are tons of
people with tons of ideas that are different from yours ( yours in the
everyone sense ) and be happy that there are ….as a teacher ( of music )
I always learned more from my students than they ever learned from me – yes
I was ahead of them technically but I could see things that they did which
I found that I did as well and learned to not do…whereas they were
focused on learning how to “do ” something – so many factors involved that
they could only deal with the first few and having been through the same
myself was able to focus on others…( not that the improvement idea ever
ends….you’ll do your best work in the moment before you die and move
on…)..but such is the age we live in and youth always believes if I just
get “this thing together” then I will be successful (ie. rich – which seems
to be the today equivalent of success )…when you get older it may be
possible to see that what you have been searching for is within…and not
without….Kenna strikes me from all the interviews I’ve see as a very down
to earth guy and knows that he is always on the road to improvement…not
sitting at the top judging others…and that is what I most admire him

Manuel Goncalves says:

Great video as always.

Rich Klein says:

Seeking your own vision, being who you are takes hard work and dedication.
It’s not easy but that is the path to greatness.

Anthony Murphy says:

Very interesting video Ted! I wonder how you think your videos are changing
over time if you think of them as your craft? You might not think that you
are doing great work (maybe you were talking about your photography) but
your videos are undoubtedly popular. I listen to a radio podcast called The
Football Weekly by the Guardian in which the presenter, James Richardson,
sometimes spends up to 40 minutes working on his intro to the show. He
does`t have to do the whole show by himself though!
Keep up the good work! 

Daniel Duarte says:

Great video, Ted. Wonderful topic and certainly something many go through,
especially myself.

Marcelo Zacarias says:

“the latest in the greatest”. great signature sign-off line. Even better
than “Excelsior!” :) You should keep it.

Wayne Larsen says:

Great philosophy. Bottom line…it should be enjoyable.

Tommy Hosteng says:

Great Video. It definitely reminds me to be patient. something that is hard
to do.

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