I love cheese. Seriously, I really really enjoy cheese, I even believe that sometimes a cheese plate is just as delicious as chocolate for dessert. Let me tell you what I know about cheese (stay with me, their is a point here) I know that they are always sorry when they say, “say when” at Olive Garden and typically decide to cut me off before I actually said, “when”. I also know that I love aged, nutty cheeses most and that fresh parmesan that you grade yourself in the only way to go… And thats become much easier since getting my cool cheese grater doo-hickey last Christmas. I know a little more about cheese than that, but it’s not going to impress you very much! Now my brother-in-law, Dan… He loves cheese too, he’s a cheese connoisseur and the two of us always get caught in the cheese section if we have to run into the grocery store (in fact they rarely let us go in together anymore) and we can seriously waste some time in that fabulous cheese shop in Leavenworth, WA while the rest of the family just shrugs their shoulders at us. He tells me all about the different types, he pronounces the names properly and he knows what pairs nicely with what. He knows cheese… At the very least, he knows cheese much more than I do. Now last time we went to The Cheesemonger Shop in Leavenworth, we talked with Dave Hableton (he owns the shop) and while Dan wowed me with his pronunciation, Dave took it one step further and wowed us with the story behind each cheese – telling us of it’s origin and how it was made, describing the aging process and more. Dave in a cheese expert and he should be! So we have me; the cheese novice… Dan, the cheese proficienaddo and Dave, the cheese expert. Now let me help try to turn this into actually having something to do with photography.
Each of us has a different skill level when it comes to our camera, light, composition, posing, editing and so much more. Some have mastered all of their craft, others are just beginning while most of us are somewhere in the middle. We are all working to progress with in our craft. I love to see things, I don’t like broad umbrella statements. I like to know exactly where I fit in the puzzle, which is why I find the Dreyfus model intriguing and thought you might too. I have a love/hate relationship with being able to track exactly where my progress is at. I love it because it allows me to recognize exactly where there is room for improvement. I hate it because it can often leave me feeling discouraged. But discouragement was never a reason to ignore opportunity for self assessed improvement and so I asses and than listen to my post on how to bounce back from the funk I just put myself in. 😉
This model is of course applicable to any subject but I would like to examine the model in terms of photography.
Two brothers, Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus deveoped an idea on the various levels of skill in the early 80s with the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition. Their model breaks down the journey to mastery in five discrete stages, outlining what’s necessary to improve at each of them. Let’s each take a self reflective look…
The 5 Skill Levels
2. Advanced Beginners
1. Take a good honest look, where do you feel you are today?
2. Where would you like to be in 1 year?
3. Between the scale of 1-5 given above, where do you believe a photographer should be to justifiably call themselves professional?