Four Levels of Learning

Recently, I read something on the Web that caught my eye. The person was criticizing the work of novice photographers. Well, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, for sure. What's more, what makes a good picture, or any piece of art, is subjective.

Also, when I hear someone needlessly criticizing the work of others, I think about what my mother used to tell me: If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything. (Want a good laugh? Click here to listen to my friend's Trey Ratcliff's dramatic readings of his negative book reviews.)

So, the negative comment got me thinking. Hey! We all had to start somewhere. Right?

When I think about starting out in photography (or any creative effort), I think about the Four Levels of Learning:
1.  Unconscious Incompetence.
We don’t know we are not good.

2.  Conscious Incompetence.
We know we need help.

3.  Conscious Competence.
We know we are good.

4.  Unconscious Competence   
The level we all want to reach in the things we care passionately about. We don’t really have to think too much about what we are doing . . . we just do it!

On my workshops, in addition to thinking about a photographer's learning level, I think about something else: the person's feelings . . . and what their photography means to them, that is, how very important photography is in their life.

So here is my question to you: At what level are you at in the learning process? Post your comment here, rather than on twitter and facebook so others can see a a whole.

Talk about what your photography means to you. Share your goals. Talk about your frustrations. Go for it.

Explore the light,

P.S. If you need some photo inspiration, check out my friend Dr. Richard Zakia's book: