Image Copyright Sandy Puc. All Rights reserved.
"Why?" is all about the back-stories behind the favorite images captured by some of the most respected artists in the industry.
Sandy Puc had no idea when she captured the image above it would lead to the start of one of the most significant non-profits in professional photography, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Besides being known as a co-founder of NILMDTS, an artist, educator, founder of SPTV, business woman, and great friend, one other trademark is her honesty, especially when telling a story. You'll understand my comment when you listen to her talk about the image.
In this new "Why?" she talks about this portrait of her good friend Cheryl Haggard and baby Maddux. The image launched a friendship and an association that today has helped thousands of families deal with the grief of losing a baby. Cheryl later wrote:
“That night was the worst night of my life. But when I look at the images, I am not reminded of my worst night. I’m reminded of the beauty and blessings he brought.”
A BIG thanks not only to Sandy Puc for taking the time to talk about the image, but Cheryl Haggard, for all the love, sweat and tears that have gone into NILMDTS. It's one of the best-known non-profit associations in photography and supported by thousands of professional photographers. Click on the image to find out more about NILMDTS and to see more of Sandy's website and her images, they're just a click away.
There seems to be a lot of confusion over Memorial Day, so I made a trip to Wikipedia for a more contemporary definition.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
For me personally, it's always been a day where we honored all who served and are serving. Last year at this time, my Dad put on the veteran's baseball hat I bought him and wore it pretty much all day. Later he came over for a traditional Memorial Day barbecue and we talked a little about his army days and just had a typical family day to kick off the summer.
Almost two years ago I took Dad on Honor Flight, and we spent two days in D.C. visiting all the memorials with a bus load of his peers. I wrote about it in a blog post shortly after we got home. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and the last amazing memory he and I captured together. If you have a veteran in the family, click on the image above to find out more about Honor Flight.
So, while Dad may have passed away last November at 93, he served proudly with the "greatest generation". I'm starting the day out thinking about Dad and appreciating what his generation did for all of us, along with every member of the military who serves and risks their life today.
My holiday wish to everyone is a reminder to appreciate your family, enjoy the start of the summer and give thanks for everything you have - regardless of where on the planet you might be. The reality is, if you're able to read this post, you have a life that's significantly better than so many other people in the world.
Note: The flag from Dad's funeral was provided by the military, and there are too many people who aren't aware of this program. Military Honors for an eligible veteran are free of charge and mandated by law. If you're about to lose a loved one who served, here's a link for more information.
They sent an honor guard to Dad's funeral who played taps and presented us with the flag which, I have proudly displayed on top of a bookcase in my office. The two-man honor guard folded the flag and then handed it to us saying, "On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation we thank you for your service."
Also, hospice here in Sarasota has a small veteran's program. A few days before Dad passed away they came to his room and did a short presentation thanking Dad for his service. It might not seem like a big deal, but at that moment in time, it was wonderful.
I don't know about you guys, but when I was a kid and used to get angry, my grandmother would hit me with the "count to ten" theory. In other words, if I counted to ten before reacting, my anger would somehow miraculously dissipate, and I'd be closer to a dove of peace than a rabid dog!
As I've gotten older, I've realized that a ten count doesn't work for me. I don't need a ten count as often as I need ten minutes, hours or even days! And, from what I often read on the Internet, many of you have the same challenge.
Here's what I don't get - photographers who decide to shred each other in public forums without regard for who's reading what they're writing - including active or potential clients. Nothing is secure anymore as people wander in and out of our cyber lives with complete anonymity.
So, this is a more practical Sunday Morning Reflections than usual, but here's my point. There is no eraser in social media. You can't throw down the gauntlet, shred somebody and then say, "Oops, I don't want to talk about it anymore!" Within seconds of posting, hundreds if not thousands of people have a chance to read what you wrote and interpret it however they want.
I found a quote that's perfect...
"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret!"
Of course, just to keep it light, I found a classic that made me laugh...
"Don't break anybody's heart, they have only one. Break their bones, they have 206!"
Wishing everybody a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Appreciate those people most special to you. Hug the ones most important and put your anger genes on the back burner. Time is our most valuable commodity - don't waste it on stuff that just doesn't matter.
Thanks for being a reader - sure do appreciate you guys!
Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook by a well-respected artist who was appalled by the number of "Memorial Day Sale" emails he's received. His point was simply about how these companies have missed the meaning of the day. I suppose, if you think about it, we shouldn't even use "Happy" in the Memorial Day theme.
Okay, so I get his point, but in all honesty the "Happy" component for me comes out of it being a three day weekend. And, in terms of retailers taking advantage of any excuse for a sale - this is hardly a new concept. Holiday sales, no matter what the holiday, have been going on for the last hundred years. It goes with any retail business and any excuse for a sale.
It reminds me of my Hasselblad days. Every time there was an anniversary in Hasselblad's history, Sweden came out with another commemorative gold camera. We had the anniversary of Victor Hasselblad's father starting the company; the 30th anniversary of the 500 C/M; a gold 503CW for one of the 50th anniversaries; the anniversary of the space program and there were more - I just don't remember them. While they were in small numbers, usually we imported less than 250 units, the total sales kept going down as the idea became less and less unique. Seriously, I kept waiting for a gold camera to celebrate Victor Hasselblad's first outdoor barbecue that would come with a Weber grill!
Here's my point to this Sarcastic Saturday theme...Memorial Day is a very special day for me, because my Dad was a proud veteran; Sheila and I have a son who serves now and "Uncle" Randy served. So, out of respect it's a more solemn holiday. At the same time it's a three-day weekend and we're going to relax, hit the beach a few times and just appreciate the peace in our lives - and for me that's in the spirit of the holiday.
Look at what's going on in the world and then kick back and appreciate everything and everyone around you. I took Dad on Honor Flight two years before he died. They have a tagline that I love:
"We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they walk by."
So, I'm wishing all of you a Happy Memorial Day. A day filled with peace, time with family and moments of reflection that enrich your life. And, if here and there you pick up a great buy at a Memorial Day sale more power to you!
by Skip Cohen
I've spent a lot of time over the years hanging out with Matthew Jordan Smith. He's an artist, a writer, an educator and especially a good friend, but this new "gift" he's sharing is all about education. Matthew's doing a series of three FREE short videos to help you fine tune your lighting skills.
In the first one he's sharing his insight into why you need to be more than a "natural light specialist." I laughed when he said that in the video, because it's one of my pet peeves. Every time I hear a photographer say, "I'm a natural light specialist" I know it means he/she is afraid of any other light source!
Just click the banner above to link to Matthew's first video in the series. He just introduced the second in the series today and the third free video will be out right after Memorial Day. Three videos with a lot of great content and ideas starting with why it's important to understand lighting. Once you've seen the first one, you'll have access to the new one that came out today and next week's third chapter.
Interested in finding out more about Matthew? Check out his recent "Why?" image and the back-story.
Image copyright Eddie Tapp. All rights reserved.
Every image has a story behind it and this classic of "Kansas" by Eddie Tapp is no exception. It's also the only place it's ever been shared.
You can read all about Eddie with a click on the image itself, but as always, I like to add my perception and experience. Eddie is one of those buddies who, even though we don't catch up that often, if I needed help on something he'd simply be there. He's a member of the Photoshop Hall of Fame and was one of the first artists to teach Photoshop in video, working together with our long-time friend, Dean Collins.
There's pretty much nothing Eddie can't shoot - from commercial work to landscape, to portraits to being on the bottom of the ocean, he's rarely without a camera. He's also one of the few people I've ever met who knew while still in high school, exactly what he wanted to do with his life, and spent $500 he'd saved for his first Hasselblad while still a teenager!
Eddie is an artist who needs to be on your radar. The next time you're at a convention, make it a point to introduce yourself. He's an outstanding instructor, writer and let's not forget friend! Eddie is also an X-Rite Coloratti and one click on the logo below, and you can find out even more about him and the rest of the Coloratti team.
A BIG thanks to Eddie for taking the time for a quick sound byte to share a unique image and a trip down memory lane.
Intro by Skip Cohen
My good buddy Scott Bourne has written a lot on the SCU blog since we launched in January 2013. One of my favorite topics relates to the value/responsibility you have as a photographer. In this post from the archives, he hits on a point, so many of us don't think about - the singular control/power you have as an artist.
When I launched "Why?" a few weeks ago, I had no idea how relevant this post by Scott would be. Each artist has shared insight into one of their favorite images. Over and over again I've been amazed at the back-stories. They're all singular accomplishments by some of the most passionate artists in photography today, including Scott with "Cranes in the Fire Mist."
Take five minutes today and look at one of your early images from the start of your career. Then, compare it to an image you took in the last week or two. To Scott's point, not only is the final image singular in its creation, quality and technique but so is your growth as an artist!
If you want to follow what Scott is up to lately, wander over to his website with a click on the image above.
Note: Shortly after posting this Scott commented. "I wrote this before Mr. Nimoy's passing. Now that he's gone it seems even more important."
by Scott Bourne
Post – Inspired by Seth Godin
If you look at how many people it takes to make a movie, or record a CD, or build a bridge or to make a car, you might stop to realize that the beauty of photography is that generally, it is the work of one human being. The maker of the photograph alone creates the composition, finds the light and presses the button. Yes, there are a few exceptions to this in professional photography where there are set designers, models, makeup artists, etc., but I’m talking about the average prosumer’s work here. One person with a camera and an idea, by themselves, ready to thrive on the glory of success or the agony of failure – all by themselves.
For many, the solitary nature of photography as an art form is a very appealing thing. I once spoke with Leonard Nimoy. Back in the mid 1990s, he exhibited his nude photography on the Internet for the first time through my site f64.com. He told me that while making movies was something he enjoyed, it was always a collaborative effort. You had to rely on others doing their part before you could do yours. You had to let the project sink or swim based on the combined effort. The notion that you alone can make a photograph – and that you alone can control the outcome and live with it, was something that drew him into photography. He remains a very dedicated and serious photographic artist to this day.
I know that when I am alone, in the woods, or at a park or even at a race track, I feel challenged to find a way to tell my story and I feel gratified knowing that it will live or die based solely on my effort.
There’s nobody to blame but yourself when the image doesn’t work. The good news is – there’s also only one person who deserves an “attaboy” when it does – and that’s you!
by Skip Cohen
Okay, I get that it's May and April, 2017 seems so far away, but this is one of those "you snooze - you lose" blog posts. If you haven't been to ShutterFest, Sal Cincotta and the team just finished the 2017 promotional video I'm sharing below. The video pretty much says it all, but having been involved in all things "Shutter" since the beginning including Shutter Magazine, here's a little more perspective on what ShutterFest really is.
ShutterFest is a community of friends and associates who all share a passion for imaging. The ShutterFest Forum on Facebook is a constant exchange of support, information and often plenty of humor. What makes it especially unique is that it's become a troll-free zone. Everybody knows each other and as a result, nobody's hiding behind the anonymity of a computer screen. It's all about the community and support for each other.
I know it sounds like a line from a series of consumer products, but ShutterFest is about "real people, real passion and real education". Take it a step further into the consumer products world and it's a conference "built by photographers for photographers." And, while I know this stuff is sounding pretty hokey, there's a reason why it's become such an incredible event each year for so many of us.
So, stop procrastinating and register early! Click on the banner above to find out more and take advantage of the early bird registration price and also lock in your hotel reservation NOW! Then, once you've registered get yourself over to the ShutterFest Forum on Facebook so you can keep track of events coming up and get to know the rest of the family!
See you in St Louis April 18-19, 2017!
I've written a lot about this topic over the years. It becomes especially relevant this time of year when I hear people say they're not going to a particular workshop with the excuse being, "I can't afford it right now. I spent so much at conventions over the last few months!" The truth is, if a workshop is going to help you expand your skill set, you can't afford NOT to go.
I shared a quote from Jim Rembach, a consultant a few years ago:
“When cost is number one in importance, you’ve already lost!”
While things have improved slightly in the economy, competition is more fierce than ever. Professional photographers are finding new ways to diversify, expand their skill set, develop new revenue streams and separate themselves from their competitors. However, in the process, I’ve heard the same comments so many times, “It’s too expensive! - We can’t afford the change! - We have to monitor our costs better!”
I’m not saying you shouldn’t monitor your costs. Being a professional photographer is a business just like any other. The difference is remembering you’re an artist. There are certain tools you’ve got to have, and then there are those tools you’d like to have. There’s a huge difference, and so often photographers hit the panic button and become penny wise and dollar foolish.
The same applies to your marketing budget. You’ve got to advertise and promote yourself. You need to be consistent in posting to your blog, along with ramping up your online publishing of press releases to the local paper and community. Here and there you’ve got to make an investment in time and sometimes spend money. That means you might need to invest in a publicist or a marketing assistant, for example. You don’t need to completely disregard the cost, just pay attention and make sure you’re investing in the right activities.
I've written a lot about Marathon's Marketing Advantage program. Here it is in two sentences - Most of you don't have the time to be effective in your marketing. So, Marathon assigns you a staff member who becomes your personal facilitator helping you strategize; lay out your promotional calendar for the year; schedule activities like mailings to extend your reach, and even design the materials you need.
So, to wrap it all up, it’s an easy point to remember – it’s not the cost but the impact on your business that matters. Cost is short term. However, better efficiency, improved quality and expanded diversification together with a stronger skill set will lead to bigger and better revenue streams, and that’s long term!
Your goal is to thrive, not just survive!
by Skip Cohen
I started "Why?" to create something that had more depth than just looking at an image and reading why it's a favorite of the artist. I wanted something that gave us another dimension and a look "behind the curtain."
Kevin Kubota does just that in this new episode. Most of you know Kevin as a software developer with Kubota Image Tools. Then there are many who know him as an educator and presenter. While he's a phenomenal photographer, one of the hats he wears so well is all about giving back.
I remember when he did the trip to Africa to help rebuild Rwanda. Any of his staff who couldn't join him on the trip had to put in a certain amount of time in community service to take the time off while he was gone. It wasn't just Kevin and Clare who were giving back, but everybody involved in their business.
There's a great quote that I've used many times and seen on several websites...
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
Kevin and the Kubota team are always paying it forward and I couldn't be more proud to consider him a friend and share the back-story on this image. You can check out more of Kevin's work with a visit to his website. Just click on the image.
"Giving up on your goal because of one setback
is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat!"
sI shared the tweet above this morning on Twitter, but it's so good and so on point, I thought I'd add to it.
Lately, I'v met a few photographers who are frustrated the Success Fairy hasn't left anything under their pillow yet. They're ready to give up and move on to their next dream.
Mary Ellen Mark once told me she has all her students cover up the screen on their cameras so they can't chimp. Why? Because the best image, the decisive moment, may not have happened yet. Photographers look at the screen, think they got the shot and move on when the most emotional moment may not have happened yet.
Well, business and achieving your dreams are no different. You can't look at a setback, no matter how disappointing it might be and think that's it. You can't just walk away believing that you're defeated.
So, this is just a reminder about those moments when you hit the wall. Use your network and confide in a trusted friend. If the challenge is pure business related and you feel your skills aren't strong enough then chase somebody like me down. I might not have the answer, but I sure do have a network of friends who do.
The point is, don't give up on your goals - just consider you might need to take a different path. I shared the video below a long time ago - and it's time to bring it back!
Image copyright Matthew Jordan Smith. All rights reserved.
We look at great images all the time, but the thoughts behind them, the "why?" directly from the artist, is rarely shared. There are ten images in the series so far, each one from a different artist. With each new "Why?" there's another story as unique as the images and the artists themselves.
Matthew Jordan Smith kicks off this week's series with an image that's as much about visualization as it is a demonstration of the creative roots in his mind's eye. If you know Matthew, or have heard him speak, you'd expect no less.
Just click on the image to visit his website and read more about Matthew, but as always, I enjoy putting my own spin on his bio. We've spent a lot of years hanging out together and Matthew is all about inspiration. Even something as simple as grabbing lunch together can be the stimulus for a series of in-depth new ideas and energy. Then again, what would you expect from somebody who always signs his emails, "Alway Dream Big!"
An artist, educator, writer and loyal friend he's supported by some of the industry's most prestigious manufacturers. He's an X-Rite Coloratti Pro and one click on the logo below and you can find out even more about him and the rest of the Coloratti team.
As with all the artists featured to date, a big thanks for their support and especially taking the time for a quick sound byte to share their special images and giving a blog post a second dimension.
"Nothing haunts us more than the dreams we didn't act upon!"
As usual, I'm off the topic of photography, and yet for some of you I'm not. I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with my life. While many of you are focused and for years have known what you wanted to be when you grew up, I'm one of those still struggling. But while it's a "struggle" it's also what keeps me smiling.
Whether you'd call them my dreams or aspirations, doesn't make any difference. I wake up every day knowing the things I need to do and then I've learned to take the time and think about which dream out of the file I want to tackle next. I look at my dreams and goals like one big file drawer loaded with ideas.
However, here's something that happens as you get older - you realize you don't have the luxury of endless time to procrastinate - something you never really had in the first place. With some ideas you jump on things quicker than others. Then there are those dreams that are very personal versus simple projects you just want to do.
By this time, you should notice that I use words like dreams, goals, aspirations and even ideas all the same way. They all represent things I want and intend to do.
So, here I am on a Sunday morning, sharing ideas on keeping dreams alive. I'm not an expert, but I have had family and associates over the years who thought they had the power to crush my dreams and turn the tide to send me off in other directions. For years, they did just that. Here are some Sunday morning tips on keeping your dreams alive and turning them into reality:
Last on the list - when you're chasing a dream, and it's not working out, just change course. You don't have to let go of the dream, just the path you've chosen to get there. Most important of all, DON'T SHOULD ON YOURSELF. It's a lesson I learned from Sheila, because at the beginning of our relationship I was "shoulding" all over the place. You know the drill - you do something, it doesn't work out and instead of putting energy into a new direction you whine, shrug your shoulders and say, "You know what I should have done?"
It's Sunday and the perfect day to chase one particular dream we all share, just to be happy. Smile a lot today. Hug those people most special to you and appreciate while most people only dream when they're asleep, you've got the ability to dream with your eyes wide open!
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and one filled with love, peace and oh yeah, plenty of great dreams.
I know I've written about this before, but this past week I was on more websites than usual and I was blown away by what many of you consider acceptable for your headshot on your about page.
Think about it for just a second. You're telling people you're a professional photographer. You're hopefully showing terrific work in your galleries, (another pet peeve when the work is mediocre), but your headshot is horrible!
Why would you think a grab-shot selfie was acceptable? I saw one headshot after another with Uncle Harry's signature all over each one!
So, let's make this next week "Upgrade Your Headshot Week." If you need help, check out anything Peter Hurley has written or shared. He's got a great book out and he's even more effective when you attend his workshop or class at a convention.
Meanwhile here's an idea to help you in the process:
Personally, I like a collage of three images for your about page. Make the primary image one of you working. Have a camera in your hand and pose the shot with a client. It's you photographing a subject with the camera in your hand, looking through the viewfinder and taken off your right shoulder slightly behind you. In the back ground will be your subject slightly out of focus.
The second picture might be you interacting with your kids or spouse. You want something your clients can relate to and since women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire photographers in the portrait/social categories, then show an image that Mom can appreciate. If you're a commercial shooter then a shot of you looking at images, at a desk, etc.
The third could easily be a more formal headshot showing your skill set with lighting, etc.
Here's the point, which I'll make one more time. You're a professional photographer - use a headshot that suggests you know what you're doing!
From a practical point, sharing Throwback Thursday images on your blog are a terrific way to remind your clients of the importance of capturing memories. Remember, women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories. That means "Mom" is your target audience and it's important to keep reminding her how fast the kids are growing up and the importance of turning intangible memories into tangible images that can be held and cherished for years to come.
Now, from a purely fun point, I LOVE Throwback Thursday, because once a week I go off in search of buried treasure. Yes, literally "buried"! We have old photographs everywhere from computer files to albums to shoe boxes and storage bins. I found the image up top in an album of my mother's.
The year is around 1932, and that's my mother, grandmother and her niece. I know the image is some place in the Ohio area, east of Cleveland. I know my grandparents had a summer house near Lake Erie, so that's my guess. What goes around comes around, and the style of my grandmother's outfit would be in fashion today!
Wishing everybody a terrific Throwback Thursday. Whether you're sharing an image or not, take the time to go on the hunt. A picture is worth a thousand words and the memories they bring back are simply a kick!
Image copyright Helen Yancy. All rights reserved.
Every image has a story behind it and that's what "Why?" is all about. With each new image we're learning more about the artist along with what's in their heart and often their skill set.
Helen Yancy is one of the most recognized women in professional photography. She's a past president and Chairman of the Board of PPA, a leading educator and speaker, an artist, wife, mother, great friend and yes, a dog lover. Although best known for her work in watercolor portraiture, there's probably nothing Helen can't shoot.
I love the story about the image she chose to share on "Why?" It makes such a strong point for the fact that sometimes great photographs don't come from our mind's eye, but appear when we least expect them.
To learn more about Helen and visit her website, just click on the image above. You'll also find a lot about her on the X-Rite Coloratti Pro page. Just click on the Coloratti button below.
"A person who stops marketing to save money is a person who stops his clock to save time!"
Earlier this week I tweeted the quote above. Lately, I've run into some photographers who, in an attempt to reduce their costs are being penny wise and dollar foolish. For example, after I had suggested doing a personalized letter to one photographer's past clients about some new services, he responded, "Do you realize what postage alone will cost?" Then, with another artist, I suggested hiring a high school kid with some writing skills to help maintain consistency on her blog. I got nothing but silence.
Every year or so I run a similar spin to the story of the hot dog vendor. My good buddy Jim Morton found it years ago. We were both at Hasselblad then and in a tough economy, our parent company was suggesting cutbacks to save money on things that were MAKING money. There was a great story in circulation by the advertising community in the early '90s. Jim showed it to me, and while it might be close to thirty years old, it's still so valid.
Here's the short version: A very successful hot dog vendor is hitting record sales. He’s advertising, cross-promoting, staying open longer each day and business is fantastic. His son comes home from college for the summer and says, “Dad, don’t you know we’re in a recession? You need to watch your spending and be ready for business to slow down.”
The father, concerned, stays awake all that night worrying about what his son has said. The following day he pulls down a lot of his signs and puts the money he would have spent on advertising and promoting in the bank. By the end of the month, business is terrible, and all he can say to himself is, “Wow, it’s a good thing I listened to my son. There really is a recession.”
I’m frustrated with hearing some of you cry the blues when you haven’t made an effort to evaluate and restructure your current business model. Every business owner, and not just in photography, whether sales are up or down will always add: "But I've NEVER worked so hard in my life!"
There is no secret to surviving and growing as a professional photographer today—survival is all about marketing, promotion, hard work and utilizing every aspect of new technology. But there are some aspects of running a photography business everyone needs to make a decision about.
Diversification: Are you chasing the same old target or new markets? If you’re a wedding photographer, how many of your brides in the last few years now have children? If they loved the wedding album, you created, how about photographing their young family? If you really don't want to stray from your core business then at least develop a relationship with a children and family photographer and then cross-promote with each other.
Market and Promote: Our hot dog vendor, to stave off the recession, stopped telling people he was there. What are you doing to promote your business? Are you involved in the community? Are you advertising in local papers? Do people recognize your presence? Do you own your zip code? Do you have consistency on your blog with new posts at least 2-3 times each week?
Attitude: When was the last time you did an attitude check on yourself? Your clients trust you to be their eyes and sometimes heart at a wedding. At a portrait sitting they're trusting you to see them the way they see themselves. They're trusting you to deliver a product far better than Uncle Harry could ever dream of! So, are you delivering a quality product that sets you apart from your competitors? Are you building relationships with each client instead of just providing them with photographs?
Tony Corbell has often told the story about when he first started as a professional photographer. "I may not have been the best photographer in town, but I was determined to be the nicest!" If you know Tony, then you know he's never strayed from that philosophy, although he did become one of the very best photographers in the industry!
Think about the passion for imaging that brought you to today. It's okay to be frustrated if things aren't coming together as quickly as you had hoped, but it's not okay to ease up if you haven't taken advantage of every opportunity to build a stronger brand.
Here's another quote from Twitter this week that hits the topic from a different angle.
"Dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."
There's a story behind every image and that's what "Why?" is all about. Giving each image a voice with the back story directly from the artist extends the journey as you look at a photograph.
You can read more about Seth with a visit to his website. Just click on the image above. However, as you look at the image and listen to the story behind it, think about Seth's Artist Statement from his website:
My images are a journey into the personal space of my subject. I believe that photography is not just a record of a physical presence but a documentation of the encounter between me and the energy of my subject. I want my viewers to see my photographs as an opportunity to consider the larger, unseen realities that contribute to the energy and uniqueness of my subjects. In formal terms, my work is an exploration of a packed frame typically filled with layers in the form of light, texture and color. I am interested in both the tension and solitude that exists between the perceived space of the frame.
Seth is a regular contributor to a variety of publications. He's often on the teaching/lecture circuit and if he's speaking in your area, as always, run don't walk to be there! He's one of the most dynamic presenters in the industry. Seth is also an X-Rite Coloratti Master, and you can learn more about Seth by clicking the link below!
An hour ago I was lying in bed and asked Sheila, "It's Sunday morning, what should I write about?" She laughed because it's the first time in seven years that I asked that question. Off I went to my computer and wandering through Twitter E.H. Hau, from Canada, shared an article by Jeff Haden, "10 Ways to Be True to Yourself and Still Succeed" from Inc.com.
I felt like a gold miner who hit the mother lode! It's the perfect topic for a Sunday morning and one that we all share. The article took me to this TED Talk by David Brooks. I urge everybody to read the article and watch the video.
The description of the video states:
Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love -- the values that make for a great eulogy. Can we balance these two selves? Perhaps, once we know them both.
I listened to the video twice before having my "Aha" moment. You see I have something none of you have - I've got my in-house life coach, Sheila! In 2009 when I left my job as president of Rangefinder/WPPI to start my company she spent a lot of time reminding me of the importance of Shakespeare's to thine own self be true.
As I look back on those days, it was that inner struggle between living my resume and wanting something more. I needed more of those qualities in my life that David Brooks talks about, connection, community, and love, but I didn't know it.
So, here I am seven years later with a stronger balance, and it's thanks to my "coach" along with so many of you. I wake up smiling every morning because there's more balance in my life. At a time when most guys my age are considering retiring, I'm chomping at the bit to take on more.
If I was younger, I'm not sure I could find that balance between the qualities of my resume and my eulogy. The younger you are, the more the material success matters. You're struggling to be heard, and that means building your resume. Then at some point in life, if you're lucky, you realize how far you've strayed from your core values and you work to refocus your priorities.
Well, whether it's my age or experiences or both doesn't matter. Most of the time I've found that balance and stopped caring about my resume. It's the reason I'm here right now. It's the reason I remind you to hug somebody special.
It's Sunday morning and the perfect time to let the pendulum swing away from your resume. In fact, let's declare it a Resume-less Sunday. Hug your family. Take a few minutes to think about how important your friends are and then just kick back and cherish the day! Oh yeah, and make those hugs last at least eleven seconds.
While I take pride in adding accomplishments to my resume as much as the next gal,
I care far more about being remembered for deeper virtues.
As individuals, our capacity to make a lasting impact in the lives of others is as limitless as our days are numbered; we have only to seize the opportunity to act on conscience and inspire others in meaningful ways.
What's more, by balancing business with conviction,
we take significant strides toward settling the score between our dueling natures.
"There is only you and your camera. The limits in your photography are in yourself."
Earlier in the week, I posted the Ernst Haas quote above, and it's been on my mind ever since. There are a lot of you who just can't seem to get off the excuse train. You blame every shortcoming on something outside your control. In fact, in the search for success, you truly act as if your order for accomplishments is on backorder at Amazon.
I don't want this to be a rant, but a wake-up call. My point is your only limits are the ones you keep putting in your head!
I know I'm bordering on a rant, but the truth is, you're part of an amazing industry. I've written this so many times before...with the exception of modern medicine, no career field has given society more than photography. Every day photographers become magicians. They stop time, capture a memory and put intangible moments in people's hands to cherish for a lifetime!
Be proud to be the best artist you can be and let's stop making excuses.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.