13 June, 2008

Surprise and Delight Yourself

For some people, Friday the 13th has always been a day to be wary of. I have to say that I have had a fantastic day. Today I had the opportunity to meet the wonderful Howard Schatz. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, it doesn’t matter. You’ve probably seen his underwater work.

He is an amazing photographer and there are a ton of things that I took away from his presentation that I will try to keep in mind as I try and grow my own photography. First, do it to surprise and delight yourself. We all start in photography because we love it, but somewhere along the way, we realize we need to make money and pay bills and suddenly it becomes a job. So shoot for money, but spend time and do something for yourself. Along with that, he used the metaphor that everything we do is like climbing the creative tree. Sometimes we crawl out on a rotten branch and we fall down. But thankfully the ground is soft and we’re encouraged to climb the tree again, and just maybe this time, there will be a cherry on every inch of that branch. This is something that I know from experience. Not every idea works out. So what? You’ll get another idea, or even the failure of that one idea will lead to a hundred new ideas. You just gotta keep climbing.

So the last thing that I was both inspired by and at the same time a little bitter about was when he said that "work brings work." I wasn't bitter that this is true, that the more I shoot, the more I have to show, the more opportunities that I will open. I was bitter that it was Howard Schatz was the one saying it. I shouldn't be, but when he says it, he has the time and the resources to, as I like to put it "go nuts." I'm still in the stereotypical "starving artist" position where it cost me more money to work than doing the work. Don't get me wrong. I love what I'm doing, and when I'm shooting toys, I feel like a kid in a candy store, but because I'm still starting out, I'm more worried about keeping food in my fridge and roof over my head than shooting to surprise myself. It's that reason why I've instituted the toybox challenge. I need to work on stuff that interests me, that literally keeps me sane ( though we've already the discussion on that).

So the night has been great. This may go down as the best Friday the 13th ever (I haven't seen any of the movies, so I can't make a witty comment about #4) and I know this is simple wisdom, but how often are we reminded of the little things? So get out there and surprise yourself, and live on Ramen for a little while. It'll be worth it.

P.S. I haven’t forgotten. I’ve still got a week left to get two shots done.

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