Competition And Compassion
Everyone wants to be the best at what they do. With photography it’s no different. As a photographer you always want to be able to outshoot the other guy (or girl.) Photography is a very interesting field APART from the visuals, which is hard to believe for an outsider. As a photographer we are witness to some really amazing intricacies or beautiful simplicities that we may happen to capture or behold or are just in the right place at the right time for. It could be the detail of a model’s eye caught in your lens or the scope of a misty mountainside at dawn (or dusk for you evening shooters.) One thing we all have in common is the fact that we have to deal with a lot of people. We interact with clients, artists, neighbors, friends, family, and other photographers – whether we know it or not. These interactions should play into how we deal with approaching subjects or getting jobs.
Every one wants to be the best. BUT if you want to stand apart and not only be better but be different you have to treat people with as much compassion as you have ambition/passion for your art. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard horror stories from past clients who have shot with photographers that were so self absorbed, spoiled, and rude that it ruined the idea of a good picture. At the end of the day that’s what we do, right? We press a button and hope that at least one gem gets unearthed. Apart from that real fact we photographers are blessed with vision and creativity that should not come at the expense of others.
If you want to be the best you have to treat people better than the rest.
Just because you may be an artist does not mean you have to act like an artiste. There comes a time to be firm but being aloof and rude should not even come into the equation. Our job is to make people as comfortable as possible in order to bring out the best in them so we can capture those simplicities/intricacies that make photos great. We have to check our attitudes at the door. Plus, the same people we meet on the way up could be the same we meet on the way down.
As a photographer we have to remove ourselves somewhat from our subjects and become subjects ourselves and do lots of self study. All that means is that we have to realize that everyone is different and that we should not judge or cast aspersions on those that we meet based on how we have lived our lives thus far. We should also try not to complain because at the end of the day we have the best job in the world. We get paid to make art. We get paid to do what we love. And if you’re a people person like me you get to hear about different lives on a regular basis, which can be worth more than a paycheck in a spiritual sense.
We are not only photographers but we are therapists as well and need to be as accommodating as possible but without sacrificing our own sense of self. Those of us that don’t realize that are lost in the dark no matter how much they make per gig. These are more than likely are the same people who tout how much money they spent on their equipment and knock other professionals in this wonderful field of ours. You can buy Stevie Wonder a Lamborghini but he probably won’t get very far. The same goes for photography.
It’s great to be competitive but don’t lose sight of what puts a smile on the person’s face that hired you. Give them an unforgettable experience full of art and magic. Oh yea. We’re magicians, too.