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Picasso once said, “If I don’t have red, I use blue.” No wonder he was one of the most prolific artists of all time. His artistic appetite was strong. As you improve your technical and creative skill, art will help you move forward. Rather than being hung up on this or that, the best artists show up and get on with the game. Their insatiable curiosity furthers their growth. Two of photography’s early masters and pioneers—Edward Steichen and Edward Weston—were technical virtuosos with unquenchable creative minds.

Steichen was practical, yet he was never willing to give up. He made hundreds of pictures of a tree near his house. In his own words he reflects, “Each time I look at those pictures, I find something new.... Each time I get closer to what I want to say about that tree.” It didn’t matter that Steichen’s subject rarely changed. For him, making photographs was a way to discover his voice.

Like Steichen, Weston pursued photography with complete passion. His photographs are precise, unusual, sensuous, and full of intrigue. He said, “Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.”

Learning how to use your camera creatively will take the same stance. You will need to disregard common sense and pursue your vision again and again. In a sense, you will need to let yourself go and become a beginner with each frame that you make. The way an artist grows is from the ground up—just like a tree. Start small and follow Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice: “Do not call yourself an ‘artist-photographer’ yourself a photographer and wait for artists to call you brother.”

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