Message, the importance of having one
Following our previous post, the Book of Five Rings. The master swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi, talks about the importance of strategy:
“A samurai must have both literary and martial skills: to be versed in the two is his duty. Even if he has no natural ability, a samurai must train assiduously in both skills...
…The samurai pursues excellence by virtue of his strategy, in order to excel in everything. Be it winning a duel or winning a combat with several men, be it for the benefit of your master or to establish your own reputation and distinguish yourself.
That may be so, but the true spirit of martial strategy requires that you train to be useful at any moment.”
The same can be said for photographers. You may be a technically competent photographer, but without a message, how will you establish a reputation? Do you really want to be known as the photographer with images that are in focus but have no meaning? Without a strategy that combines both technical and literary skills you end up with sharp images of fuzzy concepts. Something, which Ansel Adams will tell you, there is nothing worse. You need both technical as well as literary skills.
Strategy, helping to keep you focussed
Miyamoto Musashi concludes that:
“Swordsmanship limited to techniques alone can never rival the principles of Strategy.”
As a photographer you need a strategy that combines both mastery of technical skills as well as of literary skills (message). You need a strategy that will help you to excel as a photographer. That will establish your reputation as a photographer with something to say. That will enable you to master the tools of the trade as well as develop your creativity and message. Strategy will give you focus, will help you to get to a level with your craft, such that at any given moment you can spring into action and deliver the goods.
Take Home Message
Stay focussed on mastering the technical skills of photography. However, do not forget your literary skills so that you can produce images that pack a punch through the messages they contain. Such a strategy will help to establish your reputation as a competent (if not masterful) photographer with something to say worth listening to through your photographs.