by Skip Cohen
It's anything but a typical Sunday morning - not just for me, for all of us. It's got nothing to do with photography, business, marketing, but the new way we now have to live. I'm trying to find a different way to look at the situation that's unfolding in front of us in a way that might be helpful.
I was in a chapter of my "previous" life and in Mexico on vacation when 9/11 happened. We checked into our hotel on September 10 and watched the disaster unfold on the TV that morning. We all thought everything changed that day. All of us became more aware of our surroundings. We became more vigilant in paying attention. And life changed - but back then, we knew who the enemy was, and we knew the principles of being an American would continue to be challenged.
Today, the world is trapped by a "terrorist" we can't see. We don't know it's even there until it formally announces itself. I'm not embarrassed to admit it scares the hell out of me. But there's another perspective to this, thanks to my college roommate.
He's been involved in health research most of his life. As I was on the phone with him yesterday, whining about how the world's gone mad, he responded this is actually a good thing or better put an "important" thing. Why? Because there are viruses out there far more deadly, and if one of them "got loose," we wouldn't have the ability to deal with it.
This simplifies the situation, but it's a severe wake-up call for the world. He went on to talk about the importance of social distance and referenced mistakes made with the Spanish flu in the 1900s. History shows that a complete lack of quarantines allowed the virus to go everywhere!
He added how we need to keep it spread out and stay away from geographical spikes because no community has the hospital beds to deal with it. That means we've all got to follow the appropriate guidelines that up until recently, I was rolling my eyes every time I heard another report.
Over the last two days, I've heard from dozens of friends who are watching their businesses dry up. For example, if you're a wedding and event photographer business has disappeared and won't be back for awhile.
Jared Burns, a good buddy and photographer from Seattle, described his life as being at "Ground Zero." But he also knows together we can find ideas to make the horrible situation more palatable. He had an idea, and we're doing an online Google hangout this Wednesday night. Click on the thumbnail to the right, if you've got an interest in joining us.
Here's my point - we're still part of an industry that's given society so much. And as I've said over the years, except for modern medicine, no group of people has given the world more.
Well, right now, modern medicine has to do its thing to help us all survive. We've got no choice but to listen and protect ourselves as best we can. But this also puts a spotlight on the importance of those memories you, as imaging artists, have the ability to capture every day.
Regardless of what your specialty is in photography, the value of capturing a moment out of time has been enhanced over the last month. The rules of the game have changed, and it'll be a long time before any of us are attending large weddings, special events, and celebrations about life. But that also means those special moments deserve more than a selfie with an iPhone!
Engagement sessions now have even more meaning. Family groupings will be done at a park or in somebody's backyard instead of an hour before a big reception. The list goes on and on. The life of a photographer has changed, but as hard as it is to not be depressed - don't take your finger off the shutter button just yet!
More than any Sunday in the past, I'm wishing all of you a day of peace and time to cherish your family and friends. I know it's hard, but keep things in perspective, we'll come out of this disaster stronger and maybe even more focused on the quality of our lives we so often take for granted. And those long therapeutic hugs for the people you're closest to don't need to stop.
Happy Sunday everybody...stay healthy!
PS Our son sent me an outstanding article with another perspective. Just click on the banner below.
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.