In a recent article on Jorge Quinteros's on photography blog, he ran through his photographic goals, prompted by the thoughts of Thom Hagan about setting, communicating and achieving goals nominally in the field of photography but - I think - applicable across the piece.
Not communicating a goal to at least one other person is like making a prediction on the future but not telling anyone. It doesn't count when your prediction comes true, because no one knew you predicted it. Likewise, goals tend to be the same. The coward's way out is to not communicate your goals to anyone else. This gives you wiggle room to save face if you don't meet them. But you're making a classic mistake if you do this: you're making the assumption that not meeting a goal is somehow a badge of shame. No, it just means you didn't meet the goal. Either you keep trying to meet that goal, or you set a slightly less ambitious goal next time.
Jorge took these words by Thom as the prompt to list his and so I’m following in line. It’s much shorter and over time it will change but it’s my starter for ten:
- Get me own website - this is one that Thom Hogan might put in his coward’s category because I’ve done it and I didn’t declare I was going to until I’d finished!
- Photograph a stranger with their permission and learn something about them - I’ve toyed with this one for too long and I have a list of excuses for not doing it that would stretch to two pages. So, enough’s enough - in 2011 it will happen. The key bit in this goal, by the way, is that the picture has to be taken with the stranger's permission. It can't be a candid shot.
- Follow in Santiago Calatrava’s footsteps- this is the one I dream about doing. I first came across Calatrava’s work on a JiBBR visit to Venice and would love to follow in his steps, photographing as many of his great structures as possible. This goal is a project, one that I’m going to enjoy doing slowly but surely, as time and money allows! (The picture at the top of this page is of Calatrava's controversial Ponte della Costituzione / Constitution Bridge in Venice, taken during another JiBBR meeting).
As I work through this little list, I’ll be guided by Jorge’s wise words:
I don’t identify them as missions to be quickly hashed out for the sake of it because the undertaking itself will take time and it’s ultimately the practical knowledge of working to accomplish any of them that will keep me or anyone inspired to add more to a list.
Fancy sharing your goals?
Call me a Luddite but for years I’d wondered about that orange symbol that appears on many webpages. And when I eventually realised what it was, I was still none the wiser as to how it might help me. It was only when I got an iPad, paired with the Reeder app, that I realised how useful RSS can be. It’s opened up a whole new world to me of great writers (like Jorge Quinteros) and has allowed me to enjoy my old favourites free of the other crud that used to be around them. RSS has become my best friend on long commutes.