150120 Limits - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto
copyright 2009 matthew robertson

Do great work, then stop.

Projects with fixed criteria are wonderful. There's a magic to knowing that photos can only be taken on a certain day, or in a certain place, or of a certain subject. Removing superfluous options channels creativity, and overcoming the imposed limitations challenges our abilities. Those same limitations can also be an excuse to just breathe and do what we like – to take the day off from creating something for our lifetime retrospective gallery show. And of course that's often when the clever little elves sneak in and do their best work.

Projects with fixed deadlines are wonderful. It's too tempting to want to reshoot, revisit, or extend the potential of a project by never completing it. After all, if it's not done yet, it can't be judged harshly by ourselves or others; we can do the fun parts that we like and then leave the hard work for another day. But incomplete projects can't be learned from, and skills not practiced will never improve. Being able to complete a project, to set it down and walk away – walk forward – is necessary and so much easier with a deadline.

Do great work, then stop.


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