Yesterday we launched the first program under the SCU umbrella, "Thrive." It kicked off with a terrific group of people, but here's what makes them "terrific". It's about optimism and being hungry to learn. It's about that old Zig Ziglar line that your attitude determines your altitude...NOT your aptitude. This group is flying at 50,000 feet! They're all about optimism.
In 2009, after seven years as President of Rangefinder Publishing, which included WPPI, it was simply time for me to move on. The issues that made the timing what it was are unimportant. What is important is why I felt the timing was so good. Yeah, I said that – in the worst economy in all of our lifetimes, it was the perfect time to start a new business.
SCU is another project that too many people have suggested is as badly timed as starting a new business almost four years ago. You name it, I've heard how our industry doesn't need another education venue and while most of the negative comments seem to always trace back to somebody connected to WPPI, it's that old standard of too many people out there who are just afraid of change.
Everybody gets to have their dreams, including me. I've watched so many different programs come and go over the years when it comes to education in photography. Obviously they're not all working, otherwise we wouldn't be seeing the amazing interest in the site and the support we are on posts, podcasts and videos.
We're an industry of small businesses who have been dealing with the economy, changes in consumer trends and technology and caught in the perfect storm over the last few years.
So, here’s where you have to look for the optimism and this isn’t a private party. First, too many people are afraid of what’s going to happen next. They’re paralyzed by the economy and the stories put out by the media. Often their own situation and drop in business, loss of jobs etc. has added to the paralysis.
But, here's where the real opportunities come into play. If you can be creative, what a great time in history to stand out. It's a perfect time to advertise and promote your business and your skill set! It's a time to take a few risks on new ideas, new technologies and new ways to promote your business.
Last year, in one of the toughest cities in America, Detroit, Angela Carson had one of her best years ever. Bruce Dorn, who just joined the SCU faculty, has branched out into an amazing journey into video. Clay Blackmore, at SCU yesterday took us through a long list of techniques creating stunning images in the garage! And the list goes on and on with people carving out new niches and building their business because of their optimism and passion.
Imaging in America is actually pretty solid. Business is out there, it's just harder to find it, but the potential is there.
The top three photographic specialties in which a consumer is most likely to hire a professional photographer are still "Brides, Babies and Pets", in that order. This came out of a Kodak study years ago and nothing has changed.
Am I optimistic? Damn right! The opportunities are all around us, but you’ve got to look hard – this is a Who Moved My Cheese kind of year...but on steroids. And as far as the SCU project and my critics, sorry gang, we ain't slowin' down! I couldn't be more proud of the incredible friends and companies who are working hard to help build something new and more personal in education along with my readers and a new group of old and new friends who joined us for this first program.
"I do it because I can. I can because I want to. I want to because you said I couldnt!" Let's add one more to my favorite quote and it's dedicated to so many people who are part of this, "We do it because it's needed!"
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.