No matter what you do, I’m sure you learn from your job and your hobbies. About yourself, about the world and about the people around you. Ted Forbes addresses this topic in this video that can really get you thinking. He shares the most important lesson he’s learned as a photographer. And I’d love to hear if you agree with him.
Sean Tucker wasn’t always a photographer. He started off as a priest. But things weren’t going quite the way he hoped, and at 30 found himself looking for a new career. It’s a scary place to find yourself in. Completely changing the course of your life. But when a friend pointed out that this was a point where he could choose to do whatever he wanted to do, things took a turn for the better.
There’s two reasons I wanted to share this video. The first is that it’s shot in the Lake District in Cumbria. One of England’s most beautiful areas, and one I frequently visit to photograph people on location (I only live 20 minutes away, so it’s handy). The other, and more important one, is for you to hear Sean’s story and what he’s learned in his journey so far. He’s had the same doubts and fears, faced the same challenges, and hit the same walls that many of us have had or will have in the future.
[editor’s note: Joel Grimes just released a new portrait photography tutorial. We took the opportunity to ask Joel for his best advice and it is outlined below., you can download a sample lesson (#2) down the page here if you want to check it out]
The photographic process can often be a difficult world in which to navigate. There is this “tug of war” that occurs between the technical and creative sides, in which most of us gravitate to one or the other.
In years past, I generally gravitated toward the technical side of things because it was much simpler to quantify. The creative side seemed too nebulous, too subjective, and I often wondered if I was on the right track. I hated the feeling of not knowing if I was doing it right, which, in turn fueled my insecurities. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough? Or talented enough? Do you ever have those thoughts?
I have two daughters (11 and 4) and one son (7). They wanna be: an actress, a robot maker and a dancer-chef-teacher-driver. I’ll let you do the match up. Actually many of us had “dream jobs” when we were growing up and for some, we never got to experience those dreams because life took us on different paths than we thought they would when we were young.
Photographer Brandon Cawood opens a small window so kids, (specifically, his sister’s, Malisa, 5th grade pupils) can see themselves in that dream job of theirs. As a bonus, the project started when two 5th graders interviewed Brandon for they Career Project at school – They wanted to be photographers when they grow up. (How cool is that, kids still want to be photographers, take that Cynicists!). Brandon gave the class a lecture what it means to “be a photographer” and the kids wanted their photos taken in a cool way.
There’s a segment of readers (yes, those of you who have life and your career all figured out) who will dismiss this as drivel. This is for the more humble among you…
Is it meeting your needs…
Or merely creating new wants?
Is it honoring your time or squandering your time?
Is it connecting you with those you care about, or separating you from them?
Is it exposing you or giving you a place to hide?
Is it important, or only urgent?
Is it right, or simply convenient?
Is it making things better, or merely more pressing?
Is it leveraging your work or wasting it?
What is it for?
…and, immediately, I began to reflect on my own career as a creative professional.
I have been thinking a lot recently about the direction that I want to take my photography business, and this week I came across two really interesting ways of looking at career advice for creative professionals.
First, there is the “do what you love” genre of career advice for creatives. Then, there are statistics.
For the sake of this article, lets call them fantasy and reality.