Recently, I have seen a number of misconceptions floating around regarding the best way to improve oneself as a photographer. As a highly experienced photographer whose photos have been on the bottom of the Flickr Explore page on numerous occasions, I feel qualified to correct many of these assumptions and damaging tendencies.
Most photographers of lesser artistic vision will tell you that the best way to become a better photographer is to buy better gear, or shoot more photos, or travel to exciting locations, or participate in more art study and appreciation. In fact, all these strategies are objectively wrong, and I would know, because I have an Instagram.
Indeed, the best way to become a better photographer is to sit in a dim, empty room for 8 hours a day with nothing but your camera, and hone your skills as a visual storyteller.
At first it may seem counterproductive, but trust me, immersing yourself in a world with no interesting subject matter and no dynamic light and no compelling stories is definitely the quickest way to transform yourself from a mere shutterbug to a full-fledged artist. Genuine human interaction and leading an interesting life that satisfies one’s curiosity and desires is counterproductive to becoming a truly transcendent photographer.
After spending the last four months in my basement perfecting my photographic technique, I have really begun to see significant improvement in my photography. Before, I was merely taking pictures I thought would look interesting. But now, I appreciate the hidden artistry behind every piece of carpet fiber, every square inch of beige drywall. Sitting in an empty room has truly transformed the way I go about the photographic process.
To reiterate, experiencing the world might be a somewhat valid way to live out meaningful experiences and meet interesting people for some, but just because you’ve experienced life beyond the scope of your 200 square foot fluorescent-lit basement does not mean you’re a better photographer because of it.
Indeed, living a real, fulfilling life might somehow be attractive, but true artists are made not from real world experience, but from sitting in a dark, closed off room for 56 hours a week honing their photographic skill in isolation.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Literally.
About the author: Duncan Mullen is a Seattle-based photographer and social media influencer best known for his 100+ follower Instagram presence through the @self_defenestration brand. He enjoys long walks on the beach and browsing the Insta explore page for fresh PNW heaterz.