To thine own self be true.
-Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet
In Hamlet, Polonius provides some last words of wisdom to his son as he gets on the next boat for Paris. While this quote has been stated over and over again, I think it’s something that is still true for photographers today. At the core of the quote is how you have to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others. Of course, if you know Hamlet, you know that even for Polonius this is easier said than done.
In this week’s podcast, we talk about the importance of authenticity in our photography and creativity. At the end of the day, we can only create the things that are inside of our own head and experiences. To create real authentic work, we have to create work that is true to who we are. That is our genuine work. However, it is easy to avoid creating meaningful work because of fears, regrets and a host of other emotions. The challenge we all face is to work with all our feelings and reactions and find a way to create photographs that are reflective of who we are today and what beautiful worlds we see for tomorrow. In the podcast, I talk about how I look at and respond to my work and the challenges and hopefully offer up some ideas for you to use to step forward in creating your own meaningful work.
In this week’s podcast, we examine the importance of finding the shades of grey in our black and white world. It is, in many ways, more comfortable to approach our understanding of the world when we can quickly categorize and define people, places, and events. However, in our rush to judgment, we can often misrepresent what is actually happening in our experience. As a creative individual, I personally believe that it is our job to find the subtle nuances in the world that make up our story and experiences. Then through that lens of awareness do we create our art. The artist is always searching and trying to connect to even the smallest change and shift in the way they see the world. It is in those observations do we find our own voice.
When I was growing up, I always heard the phrase: Close only counts in horseshoes, and atomic bombs. Later in my career, I had a boss who always said: “good isn’t good enough, and perfection is the enemy of done.” These two phrases have been bubbling up a lot for me in recent weeks during my photography. This week’s podcast is about how those two sayings are shaping my approach to some of my photographs.
There is a remake or reboot trend that many of my friends talk about with Hollywood movies and television shows. Sure there are some reasons to reboot or remake a movie or show. Maybe it was awful the first time, but the source material was excellent. Or, perhaps there is a modern sensibility to bring to the work. However, in many cases, it can feel like it is laziness or an unwillingness to take a risk on something new and original.
When you look at your own photographs do you see them as something original or are you starting to do a bunch of remakes and reboots? In this week’s podcast, we talk about how to look at your photograph and examine your work so that you can get out of the rebooting loop and get back to the craft of seeing and telling your own unique stories.
When you are in school and getting ready to graduate, or you are starting to look for a job, you often hear advice from people about what to do with your life. Much of that advice was summarized in the book What color is your parachute. In that book, at the core is finding something you are good at and something you have a passion for and where those intersect you can find your ideal job.
Photography and our passion for doing work that we like often have that same interaction. In this week’s podcast, I talk about how some of the lessons in finding what we are inspired to do and can do in life can apply to your photography. We also talk about how for many of us those passions fall into a bucket list and that maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t be making a bucket list but instead doing what we really love.
I love to travel and take pictures, and fall is my favorite season. In this week’s podcast, we talk about some of the lists that you need to make to be successful when you travel. While most people know to make a list of equipment, clothing and travel documents, I encourage everyone also to consider making a few other lists that are about your creative approach to the trip.