Sometimes it is Better to be Lucky than Good

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. The day when everyone is Irish! We hear so much about the “luck of the Irish,” that I was inspired to a change of pace post.

Those who know me have heard me often say, “Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.” This is not to say that “Good” is not a necessary foundation, because it is. But as a photographer, simply being at the right place at the right time has yielded some of my best work.

Releasing the shutter at precisely the right moment, or achieving just the right angle is as often as not, a matter of luck, built on a foundation of “good.”

The author James Rufus Agee (1909 to 1955) said it far better than can I:

“Many people, even some good photographers, talk of the ‘luck’ of photography as if that were a disparagement. And it is true that luck is constantly at work. It is one of the cardinal creative forces in the universe, one which the photographer has unique equipment for collaborating with. And a photographer often shoots around a subject, especially one that is highly mobile and in continuous and swift development–which seems to me as much his natural business as it is for a poet who is really in the grip of his poem to alter and re alter words in his line. It is true that most artists, though they know their own talent and its gifts as luck, work as well as they can against luck, and that in most good works of art, as in little else in creation, luck is either locked out or locked in and semi-domesticated, or put to wholly constructive work; but it is peculiarly a part of the good photographer’s adventure to know where luck is most likely to lie in the stream, to hook it, and to bring it in without unfair play and without too much subduing it. Most good photographs, especially the quick and lyrical kind, are battles between the artist and luck.”

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you all, and may the luck of the Irish be with you always.

6 thoughts on “Sometimes it is Better to be Lucky than Good”

  1. Being in a positive mental state, reaching out, helping people, civic involvement, smiling, active LISTENING, volunteering and being real – somehow seem to make you more lucky!

  2. I think that luck plays an enormous role in many areas of life, especially and including creating art. Luck may put you in the position of achieving great art. BUT you need another luck to identify the luck you were given to create the image. The second luck may be far more valuable (lucky) than the first! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  3. I am predominantly a sports photographer, and a player and I once found a definition of “luck” that we both enjoyed. Luck is preparation waiting for opportunity. Doesn’t matter how prepared you are if opportunity doesn’t present itself. Likewise it doesn’t matter how good the opportunity is if you’re not prepared for it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, John. Welcome! I love your comment. Indeed, luck IS preparation waiting for opportunity. I hope you will comment often.


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