Here's what started today's rant, which was later fueled by a couple of stupid statements in one of the photography forums. I get a great magazine called The Week. It's a weekly summary of the news around the world. As I was looking through a back issue, I saw a story in their regular feature, "Only in America."
"Netflix is reportedly asking employees not to look at one another for more than five consecutive seconds. The gaze limit is part of new sexual harassment guidelines, issued in response to #MeToo, that also bars employees from flirting, "lingering hugs," and asking each other for their personal phone numbers."
I look back over the last ten years, and I keep asking the same question when did society run amuck? When did we become so serious? When did we all wind up under the microscope?
Here are some examples within photography:
I spend a good part of my day reading comments on Facebook in the various forums and so often, sometime around the sixth comment on a specific topic, somebody gets a little too sensitive. The next thing you read is a battle of semantics as people start to fight through the sensitivities of how somebody has expressed their opinion. Then the floodgates open and I've seen suggestions on how to improve a truly bad image suddenly go down the accusation path of every prejudice you can imagine.
Maybe just learning to laugh more is part of the solution. When did we forget to laugh or in this business forget that beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder? It doesn't matter what everybody else thinks.
I already imagine the trolls out there rolling their eyes and getting ready to shred me. The problem is bigger than the challenges with digital workflow; Uncle Harry stealing your business; photographers not knowing enough about photography; print competition not judging your prints fairly, and people copying other artist's photographs.
Okay gang, let's pick a week during the year where for seven days in a row we laugh at just about everything! We'll laugh at images that are out of focus. We'll laugh at all the challenges in our business. We'll laugh at people who disappoint us. We'll laugh at growing older.
By the time we get to the second week, it'll be catching, and we'll laugh with our family and friends. We'll laugh with our clients. We'll laugh with our vendors, and the world might start to loosen up. Then, once it's loose enough, maybe we can really accomplish something - talk more to each other, share ideas, grow our businesses and live healthier more productive lives.
I thought I had a unique thought with all of this - all mine until I went looking for a quote with Google that would wrap up this rant. With a big smile on my face, I'm proud to announce the topic of this blog is hardly original and has been bouncing around the world for centuries, but I'm in good company!
"It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there's nothing you can do about them,
and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized."
Dr. Wayne Dyer
"The human race has only one effective weapon and that is laughter!"
"God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh!"
"Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life!"
And to quote my good buddy Terry Clark,
"Smile big, laugh hard, and make people happy!"
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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.