Ansel’s Bar

Close-up black and white shot of crop hands holding professional photo camera and taking pictures

We just returned from a photography course in Abiquiu, New Mexico. When discussing the work of great photographers, our instructor cited an Ansel Adam's quote: "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." Yet, hundreds of his images are considered great works of art. Why was Adams so tough on himself?

Dedicated artists like Adams push themselves to be the best, or to transform their field. They may revel in fame or compliments, but never kid themselves about the level of proficiency they achieve with each piece. Continuing to strive for creativity and clarity are critical elements for mastery in any field.

Speakers and presenters also need to challenge themselves to improve. Be honest with yourself about the quality of your presentations, and where to sharpen your skills. Did you need an opening better tuned to your audience? Were your examples pertinent, succinct and well structured? Could you have committed to your close to make it more dynamic? Don't expect every presentation to be perfection. Just like Adams, presentations are a work in progress.

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