Your First 100,000 Photos are Your Worst

Henri Cartier-Bresson once said that your first 10,000 photos are your worst. The point of that statement was that photography ought to be an art that is perfected with practice, hard work and repetition. It takes time before a photographer feels as one with their camera. Over time though you eventually learn your camera backwards and forwards, the two of you are old friends and you handle it with the skill of an expert. Likewise, after enough experience you begin to develop your own style. You find what works for you compositionally. Light and color take central stage as you do what you do best, naturally, borne out of habit and experience.

I would change Cartier-Bresson’s quote in the modern digital age to say that your first 100,000 photos are your worst. Maybe it really ought to be your first 1,000,000 photos are your worst.

America Coast to Coast Bicycle Trip, First Photos with an SLR, 1983

My love affair with photography began early when I was given my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic at the age of 7 or so. When I really became most interested in photography though was at the age of 15 when my parents bought me my first SLR. It was a Sigma camera with a zoom lens. The very first photos I took with that camera were the Summer between 9th and 10th grade when I rode my bicycle across America. I did the trip with a group called Wandering Wheels out of Taylor University. I rode my bicycle from Lincoln City, Oregon to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware over the course of about six weeks. It was one of the best things I did in my youth and seeing and photographing America in my youth has carried on with me as I continue documenting America now at the ripe old age of 48.

On my coast to coast trip in 1983 I shot Kodak slide film. I had the slides developed back in 1983 but I’ve never scanned or published any of these images. Today I finally got around to spending some time with Epson V700 and scanned in the 100 or so images I took on that trip. The slides are old, dirty and scratched, but here are some of my first 100,000 images.

America Coast to Coast Bicycle Trip, First Photos with an SLR, 1983

America Coast to Coast Bicycle Trip, First Photos with an SLR, 1983

America Coast to Coast Bicycle Trip, First Photos with an SLR, 1983

America Coast to Coast Bicycle Trip, First Photos with an SLR, 1983

America Coast to Coast Bicycle Trip, First Photos with an SLR, 1983

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One Comment

  1. WOW!!! So you’re first 100,000 photos are meant to be your worst? That still gives me some hope then!!! I totally agree that using your camera more means that it slowly becomes second nature to you. This year I have tried my hardest to work a lot more and it has helped me so much