Ep148 Your internal sales pitch

One of the most important task we have when working is to find a way to stay focused on what we want to accomplish. While some days, we need to have the freedom to just figure out what the day brings. The freedom to really wonder gives us our sense of energy a chance to find its passion. 

However, it is also important that we find a way to keep our eye on the larger prizes that we have for many of our goals. In order to do that we need to find a way to keep ourselves motivated. In this week’s podcast, I talk about the importance of having a motivational sales pitch that you can use to keep you on track to accomplish what you want in your creative practice. 

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Ep147 Goals and looks backs in photography

As 2017 moves into the rearview window, this week’s podcast is all about setting up some new goals and ideas for 2018. One of the first steps to having a great new year is to take the time to look back into the accomplishments of 2017. If you spend some time thinking about where you were at the beginning of the year and how much you accomplished over the course of 2017, you might be surprised at how much you achieved. Often, we find ourselves spending too much time thinking about how much is still in front of us, but we get a shot of energy and confidence when we take the time to appreciate what we have learned and how much we have grown. 

I also think it is a great time to spend getting some goals set up for the coming year. I like to have a set of both soft and hard goals. Hard goals have a definitive date attached to when I want them done. Soft goals are goals that support those hard goals but are not defined in the process by date. Knowing that I have a chance to develop my skills at a reasonable pace, while still getting my more significant projects done is a rewarding experience throughout the year. Also, I have learned that by limiting my larger hard goals to just a few subjects or ideas allows me to dive deep into the process and feel like I got a chance to learn what I wanted to accomplish in a more meaningful way. 

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Ep146 Time and space in projects

I have really taken noticed recently that a lot of our information is provided in quick, easy soundbites. And, it seems some people prefer to get their information that way. You can hear it in conversations and see it in how we relate online. So many small statements supported with very few facts we hold to be true. I started to wonder, if consuming information in small bites with something that could impact our relationship to photography.

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Ep145 Is photography best when discussed like a sound byte

I have really taken noticed recently that a lot of our information is provided in quick, easy soundbites. And, it seems some people prefer to get their information that way. You can hear it in conversations and see it in how we relate online. So many small statements supported with very few facts we hold to be true. I started to wonder, if consuming information in small bites with something that could impact our relationship to photography.

As I started looking at my own images and thinking about how I work with others, I began to realize that when you only think of your photography as soundbites, you end up, in many ways, not necessarily understanding the depth and meaning of your work. Can you always understand the complexity of what you are doing with little effort, insight and understanding? In this week’s podcast, I spend some time looking at how engagement with photographs and understanding photographs develops. Sometimes to fully understand the photograph you need to spend the time to create a deeper understanding of how composition, theme, subject, visual story all relate to our abilities to fully engage with the image. Just like with our news and information, not everything should be summarized in 140 characters.

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Ep144 When do you need new things?

In the podcast this week we are taking a look at when you think you might need to get some new gear. One of the things that I have noticed in my practice is that I don’t ever, for the most part, think that need new equipment or skills when I am actually creating photographs our printing images.

As I spent time thinking about how I work, I realize that much of my time wanting new equipment figure out new training happened while I was not engaged in my actual photography. Those times when I wanted new things always seem to happen when I was in front of the computer, at the store, or engaged in looking at some friends new equipment.

If I’m honest with myself, I know that for the most part, I have everything I need to create the photographs that really matter. What I have to learn how to do is distinguish between want and need. As I say in the podcast, if you are actually out making photographs or printing your photographs and you need something on more than one occasion then that is likely true. But, if it is it any other time that should raise some suspicion as to the real motivation for the desire.

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Ep143 Holiday shopping and the creative racetrack

In the first part of this week’s podcast, we take a look at how working on a project is like running on a racetrack. Like lanes on a track, at any given time, you might be faster and ahead in one area of your project and behind in another. The key is to keep your eyes on the finish line and know that each step in each lane moved you closer to completing your project. It doesn’t matter which lane is ahead, but rather that you can keep focused on assign the feedback and language into the correct lane.

In part two of the podcast, we talk gifts. As the holiday season approaches, I have been asked by some friends and family members what makes a good gift for a photographer. While a lot of lists this season have great gear on them, I tried to come up with some things that might not make everyone’s list and focuses a little less on gear. 

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Ep142 Finish the work

As I was having a drink with a friend recently, our conversation turned to my photography. My friend asked me what would be the one skill that every photographer should have to be successful. As we talked about all the various skills that one may need, I remembered a conversation from years ago where another associate said that he succeeded because he always finished his work. 

As we talked more and more, I made finishing my answer. I think that too many times we give up our efforts without actually completing our work. That last five percent of effort makes all the difference in the world in our creativity. In looking back at my work, I realized that I failed to complete my work in a variety of areas. From putting away gear after a shoot or processing images to completion, there are a number of areas that would make a difference in my photograph if I just finished off the effort. 

I would encourage you to spend some time this week and think about all the areas of your photography that don’t get done on a regular basis and figure out how that might be holding your work back. Or at least, making the task more difficult than it needs to be. 

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Ep141 Does doing your best really matter?

I was recently in line at a grocery store and overhead one of the people in line say something about doing your best. That got me thinking about all the times in my life where I was asked if I was doing my best. As if my best was something that mattered. As a child, I think I was told that so I could learn the lesson of trying hard no matter what the results. Sometimes even if you do your best, you might not get what you think you deserve, but knowing that you did your best is enough. 

As a creative person, I am not sure that my best is the measure of success. My best as judged against what standard? Sales? Size? purpose? Money? Should I setup my creative live for an arbitrary goal that is ever shifting and moving?

In this week’s podcast, I take a look at the impact of what doing our best can mean on our creative practice and examine some other possibilities for how to thing about the work we create and how we judge ourselves in our creativity. 

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Ep140 Types of small stories in photography

In an episode a few weeks ago we talked about how the smaller stories of life are just as important as the bigger stories people think about telling. For many of us, there is a paralysis of the larger story whereas with the smaller stories we can more easily pick up the camera. 

In this week’s podcast, we talk about how to take some of those smaller stories and pull them together into larger thematic bodies of work. For my own work, I have created five simple buckets

story of ideas (stories with an unknown outcome or path)
story of place (stories of very specific places)
story of identity (these are stories showing multiple layers of a person, place or thing)
story of subtext (complex ideas told through images of iconic objects or cultural references)
story of concept (stories having a known outcome or path)

When I am working with my own images, I find that some photos fit into one ore more of these buckets, but by using these buckets I am able to branch out the work and start to see how these seemingly unconnected images might start to fit into a larger project based body fo work. 

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Ep139 In memory of my little brother: grieving, loss and photography

This past week my little brother, Jim, unexpectedly passed away. I have never felt the pain and sorrow that I have been living with for the past several days. My heart is truly broken. It has been a sucker punch to the gut and a 2×4 to the face times ten.

My little brother was amazing. He had a huge heart filled with joy, compassion, and friendship. He spent the majority of his career in wetland conservation helping to protect wetland environments for future generations. His generous spirit was something that impacted the thousands of people he touched in his life. He was always helping others, sharing a hug and a smile or just being present to share in a moment.

We were more than brothers. We were best of friends. While we shared different interest and paths, we were always there for each other. Although not a photographer, he knew how much photography was my life. Last year, when the new studio was just a big empty trashed up space of a garage, he came up and helped me build the analog part of the darkroom. I wouldn’t be able to make the work I create day in and day out without him and his help. I will never be able to make another photograph without thinking about him and everything he gave to me. I love you bro.

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