Yesterday was the first day of the WPPI trade show, and after so many years being directly involved in the show it was a strange but beautiful feeling walking the floor. I missed last year's show, the first in thirty years. So, it's been two years since I've caught up with a lot of old friends, in the flesh as opposed to Cyberspace or a phone call.
But this morning's post isn't really about WPPI, but the best reason to go to every conference you can - building friendships. I've shared this comment a dozen or more times in posts over the years: The best part of this industry has NOTHING to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.
It's to enjoy each step along the way.
Building your skill set, establishing your business, creating brand awareness and staying on top of technology are all part of the journey. For me, they're the steps on the dance floor Wayne Dyer refers to. However, I disagree because there is a purpose - and it's about building friendships and growing with the people who come in and out of our lives.
Many of my friends have retired, yet I continue to have a career I dearly love. I'm always challenged by new ideas in marketing, social media and business. Yes, I'm now one of the "old dogs," and my body creaks for ten minutes when I get up every morning but I don't feel any older than I did twenty years ago.
Here's the secret: It's in the energy created by friendships, and it doesn't matter whether they're old ones going back years or new ones made yesterday. At a time when the world is upside down, and most of us hate to even watch the news, there's an amazing stability created by those hugs and handshakes with friends. When we're together like this week, or last month at IUSA or next month at ShutterFest, there's nothing we can't accomplish together.
The legendary Monte Zucker received a Photographer of the Year award at a luncheon in NYC many years ago. Together with him, also receiving awards, were three other photographers. Two of them were being recognized for their coverage of the tragedy of 9/11. Monte was sincerely moved and couldn't have been more humble when he said,
"This is an incredible honor. These other photographers are being recognized for capturing the world the way it is, but I get to photograph it the way it should be. I am so lucky!"
I love this industry. It's been a part of my entire adult life. All of you are part of what makes me jump out of bed with a smile every morning. Our friendships, both old and new, hold us together, and create an energy far beyond anything Gene Roddenbery could have ever dreamed about when he created Star Trek!
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.