Engineering from a Photographer’s Perspective

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure”

-Albert Einstein

Engineering and photography are not often relatable. Photography is a type of art that captures the beauty of everything that surrounds us and a means that allows us to freeze time and precious memories. It speaks a certain language that most people would understand, as it allows us to communicate emotions  without the use of words. Engineering on the other hand is the application of scientific principles in the design of every equipment, every tool, every building and every structure that we see today. These two things, although completely different, have a lot more in common than one might think. This is one of the things that I had realized through my practices in both my profession and my passion.

Photography is a hobby that I grew to love over time. Initially, I never even thought that I would like it. In the early days, photography to me was just a way to preserve memories and document life. As the years passed by and the more I grew as a photographer, I came to realize that there is more to taking photos than simply pressing that shutter button. Ansel Adams once said that “a great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” I believe this to be true in every sense. Looking back at the countless number of photos I had taken over the years, my best photographs were often taken during a time where I was emotionally invested. My desire to capture what my eyes see and what I felt is brought out by being in awe of the majesty and beauty of nature or simply being amazed by a beautifully structured building. It is this desire that makes me work the photo meticulously; looking at the scene from every angle, analyzing my composition and adjusting my exposure to best capture the scene as best as I can.

Engineering to me is similar to photography in this aspect. We always work towards a certain goal, design a certain thing, or formulate a certain plan. We analyze to ensure that our projects meet specifications and regulatory requirements. We run scenarios to ensure that the design is safe. We always think of every possible situations, probabilities and combinations to ensure that the design is a success. And much like composing a photo, a lot of effort and a thinking takes place in order to realize it. Investing all our energy and effort to our work ensures us that our goal comes to fruition. Only then can we achieve our best work.

In both photography and engineering, it is our passion that drives us to do our very best.

Albert Einstein once said, “in order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” We often encounter barriers in our path that prevents us from achieving our goals. In photography and also in engineering, we often find ourselves afraid of criticism. Some would take this as a rebuke of their work or effort. Successful individuals see criticism as an opportunity to learn. Failure is not to be feared. It is to be embraced, to learn from and to improve upon. Only then, can we truly grow and get past whatever barriers we might face. Thomas Edison had many failures before successfully inventing the first commercially viable light bulb. He also looked at others’ failures to make improvements in his design. Faced with numerous challenges, Edison was not fazed by his failures. He strived on to find solutions to the problems with his design. And in the end, the proliferation of his invention changed the world.

We too can apply this in our day-to-day work. We are where we are because of everything that we have gone through in life. Our failures and our successes do not define us. They merely equip us with knowledge and experience that can be used in everything that we do. Our skills are the culmination of everything that we have learned. It is our passion in our vocation, profession or even hobby that will take our skills to the next level.

Written by: Christian Roxas, P.Eng.

Originally posted in Linkedin