Feedback leads to indolence

It’s never a good idea to wait until the last minute to get feedback. But, that doesn’t mean immediate feedback is a universal good.

Jonathan recently started to explore medium format cameras. He picked up an analog version, the type where he has to take a roll of film in to be developed. The feedback loop, as you can imagine, is rather lengthy.

He found a polaroid version this weekend. And one of the things that came to mind, at least in my mind, was that would provide a better learning opportunity to get faster feedback.

These days, most of us have digital cameras and thus the feedback delay is virtually nil.

But that doesn’t mean we’re all out taking better pictures. In fact, I suspect because of the immediacy of the feedback, most of us are lazy. We snap ten or twenty photos instead of taking the time to even look at the display.

Fast feedback always runs the risk that we’ll be careless in our initial work, knowing that we can rely upon feedback to fix our mistakes. That means one may never learn to get it right the first time. Perhaps that’s a good thing, but in the case of photography and any other craft, relying on feedback is still too late. You have to be able to anticipate what will come out of the process to capture an inspiring photo. Likewise in other areas of life, you have to be able to anticipate the feedback you’ll get and use the feedback to correct your ability to anticipate, not as a crutch to stumble along.

Don’t fall prey to the platitude of fast feedback. Delay can be a good thing. It can help cultivate the skills to not become reliant on feedback but instead develop talent.