I've been thinking about this post for quite some time and some recent events sparked all the right synapses to get me to write it all down. I apologize for all the name dropping but for those of you not into photography, I suppose the names help the context. The days leading up to this past weekend were not all that great. Though there were a few good moments, all the bad stuff seemed to culminate on Father's day. I had a bad day Sunday. Now, don't go feeling sorry for me. I am my own worst enemy. Dealing with this is getting easier, but I have had a habit of letting one little (and I mean little) issue derail a perfectly good day. I had thought of writing a post about just how horrible my day was in a humorous, self-deprecating way, but I didn't think I could pull it off. I would have either sounded like a HUGE baby (probably pretty close to the truth) or it would have been weird and not so funny. Suffice to say, some actual stuff happened that kind of sucked but mostly I just dwelled on how I was letting my day suck. See, there is the big baby part. What does all this have to do with photography? Hit the jump...
Anyone who does something creative has moments of insecurity. I know I certainly do. I have had times when I said F$%& it, I'm done with all this and nobody wants to see this crap anyway. Only until recently did I realize I'm not the only one who has that feeling. I've become a fan of Zack Arias of late. He's a photographer. He's a photographer but I'm not so much a fan of his work as I am a fan of the man. (His work is outstanding but not so much the point here, on the off chance he might actually read this) I've never met Zack. The things he's written and more importantly, the videos he's made have hit me like a ton of bricks. You may not get it the way I got it, but I feel my life is better for having had this experience.
Take the ten minutes and watch the entire video. Seriously.
It's probably not the best marketing tool to tell ya'll that my photography sucks. Compared to someone like Chase Jarvis, my work does suck but I have to use that knowledge as fuel for my creative fire, so to speak. Chase Jarvis didn't wake up one morning with a gazillion dollars in his bank account and go pick up a D3X and go make stunning photographs. His work probably sucked too. Just like mine. The difference is he kept going and made it better and fought through all the negativity, internal and external. I've never read anything by Mr. Jarvis that referred to his work sucking but I'm sure there was a time.
It's not just the lack of confidence either. Even if you are good at what you do, you can't just sit around and wait for things to happen. David Hobby of the blog Strobist, in one of his posts, said "Never was anything more clearly apparent to me: Even if you are talented, it is the hard work that pushes you to the next level. Every day.". Jeremy Cowart had a guest post on Scott Kelby's blog detailing all the luck he created for himself. The harder you work the luckier you get. Guys like this are driven. I've never been driven. But now I'm driven to be driven. Whatever the hell that means. I've been sort of O.K. at a lot of different things. I'm tired of that and I'm striving to be good. I think good will be a damn nice starting point to being exceptional and then whatever lives beyond that.
I have a friend who told me what I believe is going to be the most important thing I will ever learn about photography. She said,"If you want to learn photography, learn people." I knew when I heard that it was going to stick with me always. At least I hope it will. I've made some interesting friends and contacts lately through photography. Maybe when my photography starts to actually generate a few bucks some of these will pay off in dollars. So far they have payed off in much more important ways. My friend Norman has become my employer of sorts. I met someone through the DeMotte Boxing Club who turned me on to a film maker. Learning to deal with people has helped me to learn to deal with myself a little better. I know that I'm going to impact these folks in some way and it's up to me to make it positive. I need to remember that my work is going to get better because I'm going to keep pushing to make it that way. One day that sucks is just that, one day.
Random flowerI have bad days. You have bad days. When I'm having a bad day I still have a home. No one is shooting at me. I don't need to use the word insurgents in daily conversation. On the good days I have to remember to keep pushing that rock up the hill. I'm not Sisyphus, things will improve if I work hard. Thank you to all of you who have worked your ass off to accomplish something. It took me 37 years but I think I'm finally learning something.