Chapter 1, Task 1
In Progress

Task 51 – Learn from the best

Task 51

Learn from the best

The Camera Cure - task 51
One of my favorite photographers is Joyce Tenneson. This is due to both the pictures she takes and the advice she gives about a creative mindset. One of my favorite pictures is of her son lying on a bed. The low sun comes in through the window and makes a shadow looking like an angel’s wings on his back. During an evening walk in Greece I became aware of the flower shadows that the evening sun drew on Torbjørn. I immediately thought about Tenneson’s picture and wanted to make my own version. With the promise of ice cream, Torbjørn stood still when the shadows drew a flower on his back. Kefalonia, Greece, 2011. Photo: Torkil Færø


Learning from our surroundings

It is said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. We are influenced by those around us regardless of whether it is positive or negative. So, we have to choose our influences carefully.

At school we learned about great people and what they had done, but unfortunately little about how or why. Therefore, we were left with the impression that their accomplish- ments were due to innate, unique qualities. But that’s not how it is. In the past, I was primarily impressed by my idols and those who inspired me. I didn’t think that I could learn from them. But eventually I became interested in finding out how they had managed to do what they did. Was it due to talent? An innate gift? I discovered a number of common traits I could learn from. Early in life they had dealt with difficult living conditions and grew from it. The solution that they found was to use all of their time on what interested them the most. They believed that they would accomplish something great, set clear goals, put in a lot of work, listened to mentors and never gave up even if no one believed in them or would give them massive resis- tance instead. When they succeeded they were generous and humble. We would be wise to learn from this to fulfil our ambitions. I root for those of you with big goals.

But I also cheer for those of you who think that what you have right now is enough. If your well-being is your primary goal, then the next assignment is not necessarily so important for you. If on the other hand you have quite ambitious goals, you can achieve things that many others can benefit from and that’s why I am rooting for you.

A prerequisite for being able to succeed is to learn from mistakes, and not just your own but others, too. Put in a lot of effort to learn from the knowledge and experience of great people in different fields. Many of my teachers speak through the quotes in this book. They may have written books, there are films and biographies about them, and you can find a lot of information about their life and art online.

Seek out those who have succeeded where you have failed in areas such as finance, health, relationships, work, or wellbeing…Ask questions and learn from them.

Who can you learn from in your circle of friends? Who should you not be learning from? Can you learn from their mistakes?

On a scale of 1 to 6, how relevant is this issue for you?:


Learn from the best

It continues to amaze me at the workshops. Many participants have spent a lot of time and money on photography but are still completely unknowledgeable about the work of the best photographers. This is like being a writer and not knowing about Hemingway or Shakespeare or being a musician without having heard about Beethoven or the Beatles. Such ignorance would be inconceivable in other art forms but is unfortunately quite common in photography.

In photography, the best photographers are even available for teaching. They hold courses and talks, visit photography festivals and willingly share their experiences. When I had won a lot of money on the TV program Jeopardy, I decided to use it on something I would never forget. I signed up for a workshop with Morten Krogvold. It inspired me so strongly that I chose to turn my life upside down and become a photographer.

I probably never would have progressed without a mentor like Morten. He focused on strategies of mastery just as much as composition, depth of field and use of color. Which mindset is necessary for creating pictures? I had never heard such talk even though I was 27 years old. And without Morten Krogvold this book would have certainly been inconceivable.

International photography festivals draw the top tier of photographers from around the world. Through lectures and exhibitions, we see and learn. In a conversation with another one of my mentors, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Morten asked, “What is the difference between the photographers who are pretty good and those who become really good?” The answer came in a split second, “They have a mentor.”

Consider that the very best must have made more right choices than the ones who were almost as good, therefore the chances are even greater that their advice will work. If you see that some advice applies to a number of the best ones in a field then you can count on it wor- king for you, too. It is this advice that I am hoping to convey in this book.


Find a photographer that you like. Try to take a picture that has been inspired by him or her. If you’re stuck, think, “What would a photographer better than myself have done in this situation?” And then do it.

On a scale of 1 to 6, how useful was this task for you?:

BOOK SUGGESTION: Photo-wisdom by Lewis Blackwell

In any art you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better


To follow the path, look to the master, follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master.

Zen prover

The number one reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family, and neighbours.

Napoleon Hill