Go out, feel, see and “make something wonderful”!

While I was working on my first blog post since my return from a one-month photography trip to Europe, something made me pause and think. When travelling and shooting I didn’t have a chance to watch the latest Apple presentation. Last night I was able to take a glimpse at this very event (don’t worry, Google fans, I am not going to go into politics).

Immediately Steve Jobs’ words used by Tim Cook during that day made me pause:

“But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.”

I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Reading these words couldn’t come at a better time. Not only did I have a truly great time photographing one of the best European cities but I also had a privilege of teaching photography. Over the course of the last few months I led a number of private and group workshops and met an amazing bunch of both experienced and emerging photographers. One of the most fascinating thoughts that emerged from this experience was a sort of attitude we tried to reach while working together. Before I go any further let me repeat:

“…make something wonderful and put it out there.”  

Notice that he didn’t say make something or make anything but he specifically said “make something wonderful”!!! It is so true in photography. When I start my workshops I always say to my students: We are here not just to learn and take nice photos; we are here to work hard and to shoot exceptional, stunning imagery! Anything else is not the option. Often when I say that, many students roll their eyes as they are well aware of their struggles with seeing, or some of them just doubt their own abilities.

Of course, we study, SEEING THE IMAGE, CRAFTING THE IMAGE and many other aspects of photography… but ultimately my role as a teacher is to go deep into every single student and help them to uncover their individual visual talents.

Sometimes it is a skill of observation, sometimes it is an amazing eye for design but often it is their life experience and emotional vivacity hidden down deep. When tapped into, this emotional energy, paired with newly acquired confidence, leads many of my students to truly stunning visuals, which go well beyond what they have ever thought possible.

I don’t care if they take one or ten stunning images during our time together. I just want them to see this one image that is their own, that brings them confidence that they are able to create a true “wonder.” I know how liberating and amazing this feeling could be. I know they will no longer go for “just a photo” or “people will like it anyway.” Once you taste this zest for “making wonder” you cannot go back.  

So go out, feel, see, imagine, take risks and “make something wonderful and put it out there.”

Today, let me share some imagery taken by one of my students Robert Mañé Velilla. As Robert pointed out to me his tragic life experiences, deep emotions and even dreams that led him to capture these stunning images. I am very proud to share his work. I will write more about Robert and share his photographic journey in the upcoming months.  Robert was shooting with the X-Pro2 paired with the 23mm F2 lens.


Next time, I will start a series of imagery and articles based on our recent trip to Europe. Stay tuned.



2017 © Olafphoto. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Go out, feel, see and “make something wonderful”!

  1. Thank you very much Olaf. As you can imagine, I’m shocked to see my images in your blog. But even more than that, I thank want to thank you again for your work as teacher. At the end of first shooting session I was desperate, almost to tears. I felt that I was ridiculously wasting the time of a great photographer in an attempt to learn things that I would never be able to do, even to see. I thought all the workshop was a mistake from my side.

    But we went on, and your presence, the way you shot began to inspire me. I never thought I would be able to produce good pictures, but at least we enjoyed the way we shot, playing and enjoying, trying to connect with myself. Finally, I felt happy just with that, the good time shooting withi you would be an excellent memory.

    But when we got to processing, I was stunned to see what was in my files. I had the intention, but I couldn’t believe I got it. With your vision and work I began to connect with my work. The images I previewed were there, even in ways I had not expected. Yes, I had been able to truly express myself photographically.

    The second day was a joy. I began to seeing. Thank you again, Olaf.

    1. Hello Robert,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience from our workshop. Indeed, it was incredible to watch you over those two days to grow in your emotions, your courage to explore and see things differently. The way you combined your life experiences, emotions and dreams and turned them into imagery is truly remarkable. Working with you was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

      Warm Regards,


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