Today, I went to the parent-teacher night at Cyan’s new school, Smith Hill High School, Wollongong’s selective school.  Wow.  What an amazing place.  Full of enthusiasm, inspiration and lovely people.  Everyone, from students through to the heads, were lovely. 

During the introductions, we were told how great it is to fail.  They used an acronym: 

To learn you have to FAIL:

  • First
  • Attempts
  • In
  • Learning

I love that.  The students start high school and are encouraged to work things out themselves. To experiment, explore, test, push, summarise. 

Art is like that.  I have mentioned the ‘Tipping Point’ previously.  Finding the edge where things start to fall apart. Where they fail.   

The thousands of photographs you take that don’t work teach you about the ones that do. There is no such thing as failure, just learning experiences.  I take so many bad photographs.  Just to get one good one.  Hundreds of good ones to get one great one.  So many good ones just to get to that outstanding one.   

To give you an idea.  A week may see me taking a thousand or a few thousand photographs.  Perhaps fifty good photographs.  Ten great ones if I am lucky.  And if I am very lucky, one great photograph. That is a lot of failures.  A lot of experiments. A lot of learning.  And only a tiny bit of success. 

If every day you expect a masterpiece, I can assure you that you are aiming too high.   Ten masterpieces in a year is a good year.  Well, that is what Sir Ansel said, and I have to agree with him.  

Koala, The Otway Ranges.  I think I need to do a small group tour there next year, who’s in?   Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2018

Artist | Writer | Photographer | Educator | Adventurer