“Life is primarily for laughing, loving, and living. It ain’t just for whining, worrying, and working!”
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday, but different than the ones I used to write about. These days it's my run to the market at 7:00 am. With Sheila's asthma, I've got less respiratory issues than she does, so I hit the market before the nut jobs who don't wear masks show up.
Checking out, I had a guy and his girlfriend in front of me without masks, and I always ask, "Just curious, what is it about wearing a mask that bothers you so much?" Well, I got a dirty look, and no response as the two of them left the store.
Driving home, I found myself just getting angry over meeting somebody who still doesn't get it. And it's not just about my health, but the team at my local Publix, who I'm forever grateful they're there and helping me keep our fridge stocked!
So, trying to figure out what to write about, I realized I needed to loosen up, and that got me thinking about that old line we used to hear about it takes more muscles to frown than smile, which I've learned isn't totally accurate. Searching Google, I found:
On average, a smile uses 12 and a frown 11. However, since humans tend to smile a lot, these muscles are stronger. A frown may be slightly more effort to produce. just because we aren't as used to using these muscles.
But then I found the answer I really needed, and it's so true:
...smiles work in both directions: Just as happiness can make you smile, studies have shown that thanks to a quirk of the autonomic nervous system, smiling can make you happy. Unfortunately, the same holds true for expressions of sadness and distress. Both phenomena relate to mirror neurons — brain cells that spark up both when we observe an action, such as a smile, and when we take part in it.
So, no matter what your frustrations with the world around you, we just need to smile more. For the rest of today, I'm determined to have this dumb, "What me worry?" look on my face. It's an Alfred E. Neuman kind of day, and nothing is going to dampen my spirits. Try it right now - just crank up the volume on the happiest dumbest smile you can push out!
See what I mean?
Wishing everybody a day of smiles, but not just on your face - let's get them going in your heart.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everybody!
*I've followed Ed Foreman for years, meeting him back in my Polaroid days. He's been an inspiration to me since the 70s. Although, over the years I modified his quote a little - Life is for laughing, loving and living NOT bitching, moaning and complaining. LOL
by Skip Cohen
Sunday Morning Reflections has become a significant part of my routine. What I write about is often as much for my benefit as I hope it helps you.
This past week I've been struggling with the pandemic. While I've got this reputation of being the industry cheerleader, and many good things are going on, there are times when it's hard to focus. Like so many of you, I miss time with friends, and I miss the freedom to go out anywhere I want. Zoom, Facetime, Skype - they're all great for keeping in contact, but they don't keep us in touch.
As I sat down to write this morning, I struggled with needing to simply hug a friend. One of those big bear hugs, or bro-hugs, or the hugs I used to write about - long hugs lasting at least eleven seconds and proven to be therapeutic!
Stuck for a topic without sounding like a pandemic victim and whiner, I turned to Melody Beattie. Today, November 22, she wrote a piece called The Magic of Gratitude and Acceptance. Here's an excerpt:
Gratitude and acceptance are two magic tricks available to us in recovery. No matter who we are, where we are, or what we have gratitude and acceptance work. We may eventually become so happy that we realize our present circumstances are good. Or we master our present circumstances and then move forward into the next of set of circumstances.
If we become stuck, miserable, feeling trapped and hopeless, try gratitude and acceptance.
Once again, Beattie came through - and remember, she wrote this in 1990, but the message is timeless. And while you might think it's a little too simple and even trite - we all need a reminder of where to set focus when a camera isn't in our hands!
So, I had a choice - I could remain stuck, miserable, and trapped or look around me and take a big breath of appreciation. It's going to be a strange Thanksgiving this year, but even the pandemic can't take away the gratitude I feel for the life I have, Sheila, my family, friends, two very special puppies, and all of you. That means I have no choice but the winning combination of acceptance and gratitude.
And regardless of how spiritual you may or may not be, Melody's close was so relevant:
Today, God, help me let go of my resistance. Help me know the pain of a circumstance will stop hurting so much if I accept it. I will practice the basics of gratitude and acceptance in my life and for all my present circumstances.
We're all struggling with variations of the same circumstances - leaving us two great options, accepting the challenges in our lives and gratitude for everyone and everything that will get us through this.
Wishing everybody a great day ahead and a pre-Thanksgiving week that helps you stay focused on everything you have in your life instead of what's just beyond your reach.
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and as usual, I'm jumping the track from marketing and business topics but headed right down Memory Lane.
I've written before about a Facebook group, "If You Grew Up in Painesville, Ohio You Remember..." We all have time on our hands, and I'm not sure how I found the group, but I know in part, it was thanks to PT (pandemic time). Yesterday I posted a picture of our family doctor when I was a kid - within minutes, there were dozens of responses from other patients, and the memories just started to flow.
Then somebody posted a picture of a snow-covered turn on one of Painesville's roads, and it took me back to my kid days. That led me right to where I am this morning. Life seems like it was so much simpler then - get ready, I'm about to sound like an old fart!
Feel free to add to my list. But here's the point - Taking a walk down Memory Lane is great therapy for what we're all dealing with now. And even if you're just going back to January or February, these memories are all based on a foundation of freedom, at times when we did whatever we wanted.
I get that the world has changed, but I also enjoy the fact that I've got great memories, and the 12,000+ members of my hometown Facebook group have helped bring so many of them back!
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and time with family or friends, whether it's on Skype, Zoom, the phone, or physically distant in person. I've got a favorite quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson I've used a lot over the years,
"I am a part of all that I have met."
Well, it's everyone you've met and everything you've done in the past that's made you, who you are today.
We'll weather the storm of Corona, just like any other crisis in our lifetime and when it's over we just might appreciate everything in our life, including our freedom, just a little more.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and I'm off-track from photography, but only on the business side. The truth is, we'd all be lost without photographs to look back on those cherished memories. And through the pandemic, behind Sheila, the pups and good friends are our photographs. They've helped me stay focused on not only great memories but reminders that this will be over someday, and we'll get back to a better normal.
Yesterday would have been my Dad's 98th birthday. He made it to 93, but I always take a minute on his birthday to share a Ralph story, look up to the heavens and remind Dad how much I miss him. He was always my best buddy, and moving to Sarasota in 2011, so Sheila and I could give him a hand with Mom, who had Alzheimer's, became one of the best things I've ever done.
Sheila and I got quality time with both my folks. Dad and I got father-son time together, and Sheila got to know both of them before my Mother's Alzheimer's took over.
Born on Halloween, the guy rarely had a real birthday until we were all older. What's ironic is that he was in the wholesale candy business. I had access to a warehouse of goodies and never needed to go out trick or treating, but it was the "hunt" with friends that made Halloween a necessity. His birthday dinner was always rushed, so we could get out in the neighborhood chasing down candy!
So, here's one of my favorite stories: As it turned out, it was just a few weeks before Dad passed away. We were in the emergency room of the hospital. Dad had pneumonia again, and they were keeping him overnight. As the nurses were getting him undressed, for a second he was naked on the hospital bed. "Skip, Skip - get your camera. I want you to take a picture of my tush!" My response, "You want what?" "Yeah, let's show people what a perfect asshole looks like!"
Everyone burst out laughing, even Dad, with a fever and the chills. And I couldn't have been more proud as I looked at the nurses and doctor and said, "Yup, that's my Pop!"
I guess it's strange that I felt a little guilty yesterday, forgetting Dad's birthday. We were busy with some minor remodeling in our house, and between the stress of the noise, dust, and the pups having no place to go, I simply missed it. But that doesn't change how much I miss my folks and the incredible time I got with Dad over his last years.
The pandemic has forced us all into a new normal, but don't let that slow you down on appreciating every photograph or video you've got of memorable moments in the past. They're the perfect vitamin to raise your energy level these days. We'll get back to better times, but for now, cherish those walks down Memory Lane.
And to my Dad - Happy Birthday Pop - Sure do miss you!
Wishing everybody a perfect day of peace and time with some level of contact with those friends and family you cherish the most. Most important of all...
Stay safe and healthy!
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday morning, although I'm looking forward to turning the clocks back, so the puppies' first trip out in the morning isn't in the dark! There's a lot I'm looking forward to, like the end of the pandemic and trash mailings from both presidential candidates. What would happen if just once, instead of spending millions on over-sized postcards attacking the other candidate, they put the money into school lunch programs or helping the homeless?
Meanwhile, sorry about going off on a mini-rant - what I want to write about is one of the ways I'm surviving the pandemic. It started a few years back when Throwback Thursday became a weekly event. Turning back the clock once a week was fun to do, especially when it came to sharing old photographs of people we all know from the industry,
Well, in the process of needing to clean my home office this week, so furniture can be moved for a new floor, I've been finding old photographs from my grandmother's album. Then Sheila was cleaning out a closet and found pictures in her stash of memories over the years.
Now take it all one step further: I started sharing these with my hometown Facebook group. It's 12,000+ strong, with people who remember my family, especially my grandparents. My grandfather had a hardware store for fifty-two years in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. He did business on a handshake, which included credit for anybody who needed a little more time and never charged interest.
Here's my point - the pandemic has been awful for all of us. I'm not suggesting it's been easy to keep a good attitude and be optimistic, but like Zig Ziglar's old line - "It's your attitude that determines your altitude, NOT your aptitude." And taking regular walks down Memory Lane isn't just fun; it's interactive. These old photographs have kept me focused on the importance of what most of us do for a living - help people capture memories.
If you're looking for a great way to get away from the stress we're all faced with these days, find that album, drawer, trunk, or shoebox of old photographs! They'll give you a little respite from the challenges, and at the same time, remind you of the incredible career path you chose when you picked up your first camera!
Wishing everybody a day jam-packed with smiles, peace, and great memories. And remember, whatever happens today, will be a trip down Memory Lane years from now!
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
by Skip Cohen
It's "Sunday Morning Reflections," but while I'm going to be off-track from business and marketing, I want to stay close to the topic of what I love most about the photography industry. I've written many times that the best thing about this industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft!
Continuing to function through the pandemic would be impossible if it wasn't for my friends. Everybody has lots of friends, but think about those select few who are most important to you - you know, the ones you'd give up a kidney for. Even more important today, the ones that help keep your spirits up when you want to give up! They're your cheerleaders, and conversations sometimes turn into pep-rallies.
Here's a perfect example - my buddy Tony Corbell! We met in 1987 when I joined Hasselblad, and the company was a sponsor of Dean Collins' Tour. Years later, I'd succeed in closing the best sell-job of my career: talking Tony into giving up his view of the Pacific Ocean at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara for a parking lot in New Jersey, to work for Hasselblad.
We've laughed and cried our way through years of adventures working with so many of the artists who set the stage for making the industry what it is today. Dean Collins, Don Blair, and Monty Zucker, for example, are just three of the incredible legacy we both feel responsible for and maintain right up through this very minute. They left behind the standards for quality and excellence we all need to stay focused on, even through the compromises we have to make because of the pandemic.
Well, On November 2, Tony and I join another good friend, John Cornicello, on his podcast, and we're just going to have fun. We're going to share some of our favorite stories about the legends of this industry. "Fun" is one of those lost words today, buried under the stress of business, politics, and the economy. Well, we're going to do our best to bring it back. With John's help, you'll understand even more about why, like so many of you, there is no other industry we could have ever been this happy being in.
Tony and Skip's Awesome Adventures just might top Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure - Plus, you can count on plenty of stories about the legends you might have met over the years, or at the very least you should know!
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and time to create new adventures with those people most important in your life. It's our friends who keep us going when times get the toughest. Hunkering down is all about your health, not keeping in touch. And as my buddy Bob Coates got us all thinking about early on, "social distancing" is a misnomer - we have to stay social, but physical distancing is the point.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
See you on November 2!
by Skip Cohen...and Brian Palmer
Sunday Morning Reflections have ALWAYS been about something other than business, and this morning is no exception. I was thinking about what to write about when I noticed an IM from Brian Palmer about an old post he recently ran across. It became the perfect topic for today...the importance and roots of our most special friendships.
Here's the short backstory: In 2009, I resigned from Rangefinder Magazine and WPPI. While everyone thought I was nuts, I couldn't have been happier...or nervous. It was a recession, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to be when I grew up! I left California for Akron, Ohio. Sheila and I found a great house to rent together, but I knew nobody in the area.
Catching up to photographers online, I met a local artist, Brain Palmer. I'm the biggest lunch slut in photography, so we met for lunch. That kicked off a fantastic friendship that, ten years later, is still something Sheila and I cherish. Brian attended a couple of Skip's Summer Schools, and we got together socially with his wife Perla and daughter Sara.
At Skip's Summer School in 2010, Brian grabbed the shot above of Sheila and me. He sent me a print which has been in a frame on my desk all these years - it's one of my favorites of the two of us.
Meanwhile, Brian and his family moved to Tokyo, but we've never lost touch, thanks to social media. Today he lives in Melbourne, Australia, and this morning he ran across his post about the image, which he shared in September of 2010. I never saw it, but it's perfect for sharing today.
We're all fighting to keep our sanity through the pandemic and eight months of being hunkered down. But, hunkering down is about your health - it's about hiding from germs, NOT friends. Brian and I caught up a little on an IM this morning. Just a few IMs back and forth, but from the smile on my face and Sheila's when I told her about catching up to Brian, you'd think I'd won the lottery.
I wish all of you a day that keeps you in touch with great friends and memories that remind you that no matter where you are in the world - thanks to technology - you're NEVER really alone. And to Brian's point in his guest post today - you don't always need eye contact to capture a moment that's special to your subject.
Brian, Perla, and Sara - we sure do miss you guys! And you might be in Australia, but the world's getting to be a tiny place, thanks to social media. Thanks for catching up this morning - can't wait for the day we can figure out how to get beyond the pandemic and get together in person.
Happy Sunday, everybody. Make it a day worth remembering.
by Brian Palmer (Posted September, 2010)
As some of you know Perla and I were at Skip's Summer School this past August, which was an amazing experience, hosted by Skip Cohen. In addition to the speakers presentations there was a breakout session where Skip, Tony Corbell, Clay Blackmore, Scott Bourne, and Bambi Cantrell were having a Q&A session with anyone who wanted to participate.
As the session was winding down Skip & his wife, Shelia, turned in and I decided to play the photojournalist and capture a few moments of them leaving. Here is one I captured of them on the escalators.
I still cannot believe they didn't see me sneaking along behind them, as I was shooting with a 24-70mm so I didn't have a lot of reach. Would this had been a better shot with Skip and Shelia facing me? Maybe. But not interrupting that moment, regardless of what it was, will, in the long run, mean more to them than a posed straight on capture. This is in no way saying posed and camera aware captures do not have meaning, because they do, just as much and more just depends on what you are trying to accomplish. This write up is only a comparison between the two. Just food for thought.
**Word of advice - be careful when laying on the ground next at the top of an escalator! The edges are sharp.
Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially just be yourself...
Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday, and for those of you who regularly follow me, you already know I step away from business and marketing topics. Sunday Morning Reflections is often about things in our lives outside of imaging.
Most of the pandemic challenges over the last eight months have been negative and difficult to adjust to, but there's one change that's been fun - being more active in social media. I won't deny that nothing replaces LIVE human contact, but at least keeping in touch has been possible, primarily through Facebook. I'm online more than I've ever been, and in the process, I discovered a private group I've grown to really appreciate.
In a previous post, I wrote briefly about a group, "If You Grew Up in Painesville, Ohio You Remember..." It's my home town, and they're 12,200+ strong. I'm not sure how I found them, but it's been a kick to read the posts and share the love and memories we have for growing up in a small town in Ohio.
As I've shared the old photographs and backstories to the images above, there's another side benefit. It's like the six degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon game, I've connected with people from my childhood...
Over the last month I've shared old photographs, as well as photographs of contemporary events, like the summer Friday night car shows in the town square I've taken when up north on visits. Each time the response has opened the door to new conversations and things in the community so many of us remember.
The bottom line is the pandemic, combined with social media, has made the world a smaller place. I've been heavily active in social media for the last couple of decades, but almost always related to business or friends in the industry. Stepping back into my hometown and sharing memories is incredibly uplifting, but it's also pointed out the obvious, we really are all connected.
Wishing everybody a day to appreciate how connected we are to each other. Take the time to kick back and just chill. Don't let the negativity in the world through your front door - it'll still be there tomorrow! And if you want to have some fun, take a walk down Memory Lane - we can never go back, but we can look back and cherish our roots!
And to old friends and new ones from my hometown - what a kick it's been connecting. Looking forward to sharing so many more memories - now if somebody can just get the recipe for a pizza from Angelo's!
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
You only find out who's swimming naked when the tide goes out.
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday, and as usual, I'm stepping away from marketing and business, but staying focused on something I've noticed over the last seven months of being hunkered down.
It all starts with one of my favorite quotes above. While there are still a handful of idiots who think Covid-19 is a hoax, most of us recognized early on the necessary changes we had to make in our lives to ride out the crisis. (I'm trying hard to make today's post about believing in yourself and NOT the pandemic.)
I've been surprised by people I respect and have looked up to, who, when the pandemic hit, were "swimming naked." They hit the panic button and withdrew. From not knowing what to do about their business and disappearing, to not having the self-confidence they've always displayed in public. They stopped believing in themselves because so little they've done in the past prepared them for the new way they had to do business.
I'm not suggesting seeing revenue streams dry up isn't a reason to panic. But I think about my buddies Joe and JP Elario. Besides being great photographers and two friends I cherish, their business was almost exclusively weddings and events. But when things turned upside down, JP starting doing Face Time portraits and found a new revenue stream. I wrote about it a couple of months ago.
And that brings me right to my point - the pandemic has changed everything in our lives, but when it comes to business, you have to listen to your heart and not lose your ability to believe in yourself. The pandemic has created some unique opportunities for artists to demonstrate their communication skills and their ability to keep building relationships.
Hunkering down is about your health, NOT your business. You have to keep in touch with your target audience. When this crisis is over, and it will be eventually, people will remember you for the support you shared, by merely being present.
Wishing everybody a Sunday where you kick back and listen to your heart for the day. Take a little time to inventory your internal assets - not your camera gear, but all those great ingredients that make you unique. And as sappy as it sounds, your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn, Winston Churchill.
Happy Sunday, everybody - do your best to make it a fun one!
by Skip Cohen
If you're new to the SCU blog, here's a disclaimer for Sunday mornings - I ALWAYS go off track from the photography business and marketing. I consider it therapeutic to take a break from writing about the challenges we're all facing in business today.
These days, it's not hard to find something else to talk about. Just the pandemic and the election leave me with no shortage of topics. However, it's tough to not sound like a rant!
A few weeks ago, I was waiting for a prescription to be refilled and wandering around the pharmacy. I picked up a brochure about aromatherapy. I've never believed in it, except for recognizing that Sheila's Mexican casserole smells great! Well, the more I read, the more I wanted to try it out.
I chose two oils from a possible dozen, "Happiness" and "Mental Clarity" seemed to be the two most necessary to boost. Loaded with curiosity, I cranked up the aromas in my office the minute I got home.
Whether it's psychosomatic or it really does work, I don't care. I'm delighted with the results. I feel differently when I'm working, and the aromas are running at full speed.
Well, that got me thinking about a few new "scents" we could all use right now:
Meanwhile, just before writing this, I put in four drops of happiness oil, and it's working. Does it really work? Who cares? I know there are people who swear by it, and for now, it keeps me mellow, but so would a glass of wine. However, these days I need all the help I can get!
Wishing everybody a day filled with nothing but peace, along with people and things that make you smile. For me, it's Sheila and the two pups who typically outperform my happiness oil. But being hunkered down for over six months, it's nice to have a backup plan.
Happy Sunday, everybody!
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and I'm into my typical routine. I always go off-topic from photography, business, and marketing on Sundays, and I was thinking about different places I travel these days because of the pandemic.
For example, on land - Because I have fewer respiratory issues than Sheila, I want to do the food shopping. I typically hit the market at 7:00 am on Sundays for the weekly shopping list. The store's always pretty empty, and the idiots who still think this is all a hoax aren't up yet.
A mask isn't a political statement - it's an I.Q. Test!
In Cyberspace, there are all kinds of new places.
Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.
.And there you have it - we're staying safe and living what many would consider a pretty dull existence, but I still jump out of bed every morning. I'm amazed at so many new things happening as biz slowly inches it's way back on the business front. It's a snail's pace, but it's going in the right direction, and it's steady.
We're all dealing with a new norm. There are no words to describe how much we miss in-person contact with friends. We've got no choice but to stay the course. But think about what that first convention is going to be like when we all feel safe. Plus, we can stay connected with ClickCon Nation programs, going on all day today and one day each month through March of next year.
So, make it a great Sunday for connecting with friends and family. Just because you're hunkered down doesn't mean you're isolated from talking with people and plenty of virtual hugs. Most importantly, don't lose sight of your dreams - they're still out there, still alive, and still potential in your future - just a slower pace to get there!
Happy Sunday, everybody!
by Skip Cohen
I started today deciding I wasn't going to do Reflections post, but as the day's gone on, I realized I missed writing one. I started thinking about how I wanted today and the holiday tomorrow to go and in the process, stumbled on a quote:
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved!
That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.
It is the one thing we are interested in here."
And there you have what might be headed to one of the shortest Sunday posts I've ever written!
Just enjoy life! Ignore the politicians; give the news a rest; maintain physical distancing, and do what's necessary for your health and safety. Ignore the negators trying to squeeze their way into your life, heart, and mindset - just be dumb and happy!
Wishing all of you a Sunday and Monday holiday filled with peace, laughter, and time with the people you care most about, even if it's only on Facebook, Skype, or a phone call. Make time for people you love.
Happy Sunday...Happy Labor Day...and if you're outside the US, the sentiment is still the same!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Time is our most valuable commodity, but so often we throw it away worrying about what other people will think. Even when we've done our very best, we worry about criticism and outside opinions.
Well, it's Sunday morning and if you've followed me for even a short amount of time, you know I love to go off-topic from the business and marketing of photography once a week. Before I even thought about what I wanted to write about today, I got side-tracked with the post below from my good buddy, Scott Bourne.
It's too good not to share beyond his Facebook page. The best things about great friendships are what you learn from each other. Over the years he's been my sounding board on so many different ideas, and what he wrote this morning, once again hit home.
It also reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Dean Collins:
Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!
Remember that often, especially when you're creating for your own enjoyment, you're the checkbook holder!
by Scott Bourne
People ask me how/why I produce so much content. It doesn't matter whether it's photography, painting, writing, music, etc. It's always the same simple answer.
I've come to realize that my own effort is the only thing I can control in this life. Period.
I can't control what people think of my effort or of me for that matter. I can't control what others say about my effort or about me for that matter. So why worry about it?
I spend 100% of my time on that which I CAN control. My own effort. I do everything I do with gusto. I don't ever go half way. I don't ever ask for permission. I just go for it. For me it's always pedal to the metal, from sun-up to sun-down, seven days a week. And that's the way I like it.
As artists, it's none of our business what others think of our art. That's a rabbit hole and if you go down it, you'll never know how much work product you lost and time you wasted searching for empty compliments and dealing with vapid trolls.
So my advice is direct and to the point. Just do the work. Throw yourself into it 100%. Express yourself. Give the world your point of view without fear. Don't look back. When others hate. We create.
That simple philosophy has served me very, very well for more than six and a half decades. I hope it will serve you too.
Scott should be on your radar. His blog is just a click away, and you'll never be disappointed in the content he shares.
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday - a day filled with peace, minimal frustration with the pandemic, politics or anything that interrupts your ability to be creative. Smile more, bitch less and appreciate everything that's working right in your life, even though these days it's sometimes tough to recognize!
And to my pal Scott - thanks buddy. I needed this!
Happy Sunday everybody!
If you can't do anything about it, then let it go.
Don't be a prisoner to things you can't change.
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday, and I'm going to run amuck off the topic of marketing and business. It's a lesson I'm learning as I get older - sometimes there's absolutely nothing you can do. There it is - and while it might seem incredibly trite and simplistic, I'm still work in progress.
I was off a beat all day yesterday, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find the specific reason. The pandemic has created an emotional rollercoaster in my life, but as I sat here this morning determined to make today a better today, I started thinking about the world and my small piece of it.
We've got fires out of control in California, and I'm worried about friends in the area. We've got two hurricanes coming our way. While Sarasota is now predicted to be out of their way, New Orleans and Mississippi will get hit twice. Then there's the pandemic, which, while we've adjusted to the new norm, nothing changes in missing friends and the freedom we took for granted. Next in line is the political race, and it's another election where I have to decide who's the lesser of two evils - it's not about who's the best, who's less worse! (Apologies to Mrs. Sabo, my high school English teacher!) Finally there are things in my own little piece of the world with a family who were in isolation long before the word became fashionable.
The common denominator? They're all things I can do nothing about. I'm still running into people who won't wear a mask because all of this is a hoax. It's a perfect example of not being able to change people's opinions.
I searched for a quote to help me make my point and found the one above and then this one:
A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn.
And that brings me right to my point and time to wrap up this post. We're all driving on winding roads and readjusting to new turns every day. We've got no choice but to play the cards we've been dealt, but what we so often miss are the cards we forgot we had.
For me, my inner gremlins took over and simply dragged me down. I wasted time feeling bad about things I just can't change and missed the time to savor all my friends trapped in cyberspace with me; Sheila, my health, the pups, and the list goes on and on. No matter how stressed we are over what's wrong in our lives right now, there's so much that's right.
Wishing everybody a day where you can just roll with it. Smile more, frown less, and trust what you feel in your heart. Most importantly, when those inner gremlins are dragging you down, reach out to someone you care about.
Happy Sunday, everybody!
by Skip Cohen
This is anything but a regular Sunday morning, but it gives me a chance to share a fun aspect of this industry.
I've been asked to kick off ClickCon Nation's first segment of a nine-month series in less than an hour, which will hopefully lead up to Chicago and ClickCon 2021. The challenge is that I wasn't scheduled to be the opening act. Joe McNally was supposed to be the kick-off keynote speaker today, but the hurricane last week took out power in his area, and they're not likely to have power before Tuesday.
Well, I got a call late yesterday, to ask if my program, "My Business Has Disappeared. Now What?" could be presented today. I obviously agreed, and while I'm a little nervous, I would never miss an opportunity to help this team. And there's the keyword, "TEAM."
I look at our entire industry as a team. We have a history of working together, helping each other, and watching each other's backs. And just as ClickCon Nation has asked for my help this morning, they'd be there for me...and you...if the situation were reversed.
Now, being asked to be Joe McNally's stunt double borders on overwhelming, but Joe's stuck on generator power in Connecticut. Once power is up and running, and life is back to normal, he's asked to do his keynote later in the conference. Tune into ClickCon Nation for more information. We all have our heroes in this industry, and this is a perfect example of why Joe's one of mine. He never walks away from a commitment!
So, I'm on at 9:00 am CST, 10:00 am EST, with my program. And while I'm definitely not Joe McNally, I'm excited to share some old and some brand new ideas to help photographers rebuild their business. Just don't ask me about anything to do with lighting ratios or specific techniques that Joe's become known for over the years!
Wishing everybody a day to simply kick back and appreciate everything you have in your life, especially friends and family who watch your back. The pandemic has been horrible, but after five months of semi-isolation, we all need to appreciate what we still have and stop focusing on what's been missing!
Happy Sunday, everybody!
The first rule of holes: When you're in one, stop digging!
by Skip Cohen
If you've followed me for even the shortest amount of time, you know I always go off track on Sunday mornings. It's my time to step away from the business and marketing of photography and write about life. But this morning, I'm off a beat. In fact, this is my third attempt at posting today.
I ran across the quote above as I was trying to follow through on what's become my Sunday routine. I do it because it's therapeutic to share things more personal than the challenges of business. We're all dealing with the pandemic in different ways and with various levels of fear, frustration, and anxiety. That's what I started twice to write about today, and I hated what I wrote!
Still, there's a lesson here, and the quote above couldn't be more appropriate. There are times when creativity doesn't flow. So, I'm following the first rule of holes and giving up digging. I'm spending the day with Sheila and the pups after I shut off my computer. I'm also going to clear my head and just feel blessed that I'm hunkered down with somebody I care so much about.
And there's my point - if you're not feeling whatever it is you'd like to feel, walk away from it for a little while. Take a break and shut off all the noise from the outside. Just stop digging!
A writer, Madeline L'Engle, was asked, "How do you define success?" She replied, "If I have enough laughter, I go to bed contented with myself and my life. I don't think the world's standards of success are that valid."
I wish all of you a fantastic day ahead and one filled with peace, love, and time to simply appreciate everything that's made you who you are. And lots of laughter! We all need more laughter right now. The pandemic has made us all victims, but we don't have to give in!
Happy Sunday, everybody!
Always find time for the things that make you feel alive!
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and five months of the pandemic, like many of you, is having a less than positive impact on my heart and soul. What's interesting is that Covid-19 isn't taking the toll as much as the controversy between politics and science - It adds to the polarization in opinions of just about anything. I find myself dreaming about us living alone in Antarctica!
The challenge is not losing sight of our goal of surviving this mess and being back to a more acceptable norm in the future. And while I used to think that "future" was right around the corner, who knows when things will get better - but that doesn't change the need for optimism and the never-ending search for something to smile about.
So, Sheila and I got a lesson yesterday from Belle and Lucy. They both turned a year old this past week, and for a treat, it was time for their first frozen yogurt. Their focus, the minute their tongue hit the yogurt, couldn't be interrupted. Nonstop, sharing the frozen treat, gave us a moment of respite from worrying about the day-in-day out stresses that have become the new norm while hunkered down!
The short video below says it all - they weren't quitting for anything. And neither were our smiles!
And there's my point and the lesson, thanks to two furry four-legged pups who have helped us stay focused. We're all bored and dealing with different levels of fear, anxiety, and frustration. Like many of you, there are times when it just seems so gloomy.
That's the point where we all need to find something that makes us smile. Something that puts aside the pain of what we're going through and just makes us sing. And while that sounds outrageously sappy and hokey - this is a time to listen to our hearts and shut off everything negative from the outside.
We will get through this, and we can do it if we stay focused on what's most important, our hearts, family, friends, and good old optimism. I'm not suggesting you sugar-coat anything, but stop letting the news-media trolls and their social media followers into your life. Watch the news less, read recognized sources more, and ignore the politicians.
It took one frozen yogurt for Sheila and me to smile and recognize how grateful we are for what we have. It didn't make any of our fears go away, just helped to prioritize what's most important, what we have together.
Take the time to find something you haven't done before, or at least in a long time. Find that thing that makes you smile, even a phone call to a good friend you miss, will help make it a better day!
Wishing everybody a day obnoxiously filled with Alfred E. Neuman, What me worry? moments. And most of all, stay focused on a better future. We're all missing a level of freedom that's beyond our reach at the moment. Don't give up on it and do whatever it takes to find those simple things that can make you smile today.
by Skip Cohen
I started writing Sunday Morning Reflections as a way to maintain my sanity. It's become therapeutic to step away from marketing and business at least once a week. But the pandemic has changed all that. The pandemic has made every day almost the same and created a routine, that after four months, if I let it, becomes uneventful.
The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out;
the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.
Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough.
They're there to stop the other people.
The pandemic is our brick wall right now. I don't want to be like so many photographers staring at the wall like a deer caught in your headlights. The challenge is how to break through the brick wall and stay focused on something new - that carrot of inspiration dangling in front of me just beyond my reach.
Sheila and I laugh when each morning, I ask, "What do you have going on today?"
Every day has become the same, but there are highlights if I pay attention. For example, I'm back to keeping a camera by the back door and chasing butterflies when they appear. And last night before bed, I was spraying the bougainvilleas, winning the battle with bugs that keep eating them. Business-wise, I'm catching up with more old friends every day on Facebook, along with email and the phone. I'm reading more FB pages and following more people than ever before.
And technically I'm working hard to up my game in imaging. I just rebuilt my webcam setup with Platypod goosenecks and Litra lights. Plus, I'm jumping into more online programs being taught by some of the industry's finest educators.
Note: There are some great ones out there...Coming up this week, Kelby Media's hosting the Kelby One Photoshop Online ConferenceTuesday and Wednesday; stay tuned for new announcements about ClickCon Nation coming up in August; there are ongoing programs like my buddy Lee Varis with his Photoshop Rant, and Jay P. Morgan never slows down with The Slanted Lens.
So, here's my point - go back and read that quote above one more time. We've all got a giant brick wall in front of us, but it's opening new doors for creativity. It's pushing us all out of analysis paralysis and taking more risks in answering that age-old question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Take your time and answer the question! You'll be surprised at how many options there really are, even hunkered down during a pandemic!
This past week I shared my new favorite quote in another post, and it's the foundation for everything we need to do during this new norm:
"Don't think outside the box. Think like there is no box!"
As always, wishing everybody a terrific day of staying healthy and focused on peace and the love you have for your family and friends. Even under today's restrictions, you can still reach out and touch their hearts.
Happy Sunday or Monday for my friends on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday morning. If you're new to Reflections, be warned: I always go off track, typically writing about something other than business and marketing in imaging. This morning is too good not to share, and if you have fun with this and get involved, then I'll take credit - if you hate the idea, it's all Glen Clark's fault! LOL
Glen and I have been friends since a meeting at Kodak in the early nineties. We've worked on different projects together, caught up at various shows/conferences, and shared a bunch of meals together. And we grab a phone call with each other regularly. We've had a lot of great ideas and laughs over a twenty-five-year friendship, and we're not letting the pandemic slow us down.
Yesterday he sent me the images below and wrote:
Oh thank God...I finally got a haircut today. I still think you should do some "before and after"
Covid looks on your blog. I think it'd be hilarious (and eye-opening).
So, I'm running with the idea. Let's start our own gallery of photographers with BP (Before Pandemic) and AP (After Pandemic) images of haircuts, beards, anything fun in the grooming category. Everyone has been forced to let their hair grow through some part of the mandatory or voluntary quarantine.
Here at our house, I finally trusted Sheila to cut my hair. As Florida's Covid-19 numbers spike again, we're not going to the barber/salon. But I have to admit, she's cut my hair twice, and she's getting good at it. And if she screws up - who cares? Nobody's close enough to see it anyway!
Then I remembered a month ago another great friend, Melissa Ghionis shared her "BP" and "AP" hair. She wrote on Facebook:
About 14 weeks without a haircut (since WPPI!!!) made for a very rough "growing out stage"!
Thankfully Jerry doesn't love me for my looks.
And also thankfully Todd White is an amazing man and made me look like me again.
Sadly, Lucy didn't do quite as well as the rest of us when I bought a dog grooming kit. Fortunately, the mirrors are all too high for her to reach and see herself. Otherwise, we'd have a case of puppy PTSD on our hands. I definitely took too much off the top, but she seems to have forgiven me so far.
So, how brave are you? Let's have some fun with this and share your before and afters...and if you're still in the before mode, share the image anyway. Send it to me in an IM on Facebook. Let's get an industry gallery going, with no other purpose than having fun.
Remember, "fun?" It's a word that's too often lost, especially over the last few months. Time to get it back!
Wishing everybody a day filled with a few laughs and simply having fun. We'll get through this crisis, and while we'll never look back and laugh, that doesn't mean we can't have a few chuckles NOW! Thank you for following me; thank you for your support and, most importantly, thank you for helping me stay focused on what's important - this morning, a little laughter!
Stay safe and healthy!
by Skip Cohen
Last Sunday, I was on a "staycation," at the end of a week off to clear my head. I needed a break. We didn't go anywhere, just hung out at home, enjoyed each other and the pups, while binge-watching good and bad movies. A tropical storm blew into South Florida, so we spent a lot of time inside.
I'm back this morning, and my post yesterday seems to have sparked opinions from all sides, including one person who gets the Uninformed Jackass Award and runner-up for the saddest use of the F-bomb. He(or she) told me the flu comes the same time every year with the same number of deaths and never shut down the economy.
And on that note, I set out to write today's Sunday Morning Reflections. One key point I wanted to make yesterday - you've got to take care of yourself and the people you love and care about. I have no idea who to believe about anything lately, so we're going to continue to hunker down. However, I have noticed some interesting discoveries while in hunker down mode:
And to my "buddy" who told me this is just another flu season...no need to put on a mask. With your head where it is, you'll be protected. You just won't be able to drive.
Time to wrap it up and simply wish you a great Sunday and time to think about how to make your life better. None of us know who to believe in where the pandemic is taking us, but we are an industry that watches out for each other, and we can get through this together.
Wishing everybody a day filled with peace, love, and respect for other people's opinions, even when you want to choke the crap out of them. Never lose your sense of humor.
Happy Sunday, or Monday if you're on the other side of the world. Stay safe and healthy.
The pandemic may have moved the dates for ClickCon to August 10-13, 2021, but that's NOT slowing Team ClickCon down. ClickCon Nation launches this Sunday with nine months of programs!!!
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.