No one owes you a career

Last week I was helping a friend on a photoshoot. I was along for the ride, free coffee, and to light the photos. While we were in transit between locations I started chit chatting with our talent. I knew who he was, but didn't know a whole ton about him. He was some sort of singer person who also had a little side project he founded called Noisetrade. Like I do with nearly every person in the arts I meet I quickly went from questions like "so what do you actually do" to "what do you see the future of your career and art looking like long term." Some people have good answers for these questions, others have really disappointing answers, regardless I can always learn something. As Derek was talking about the music industry, Nashville, what he wanted the future of his career to look like, and how it had been three days since he had had a good cup of coffee he said something that really stuck with me. Derek has a small, yet incredibly dedicated, following. He likes that. He makes the living he wants to make and is satisfied with that. He doesn't want the moment where he gets 'discovered'. 

As we talked about what its like to be 'discovered' as a musician he talked about how much work it is and how as an artist even with management and everything else you are still running a small business. He mentioned how most artists want the fame and fun, but don't realize how much work it is to be successful on a large scale. Most people don't want to work for it, they want it to just fall in their lap. Then he said this: "No one owes you a career, if you want it you have to work hard for it".  

"No one owes you a career, if you want it you have to work hard for it" -Derek Webb

 Read that again in the context of photography not music. Photographers these days all seem to be trying to rely on the internet (*ahem* flickr, blogs, facebook) to be 'discovered' and have a career land in their lap. While there are a few (2) photographers that this has happened to, every single photographer I know that is high in their industry or even has any measure of success has worked themselves to death for it. Without lots of hard work, without a portfolio that shows a clear vision, if you're ever 'discovered' you will be passed by. If you are by some chance discovered and don't work yourself to death after, you won't be called back. Success comes from hard work, lots and lots of hard work. 

Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.

Tomorrow night I have a personal shoot. Time, money, and a lot of mental stress from repeatedly rescheduling are all going into this shoot. I am shooting with more lighting than I have ever used before. To correctly execute this shoot my lighting will have to be very precise. I am shooting a subject on a white background, while they are covered in white (this is likely something like shooting clear and having a clear background). I am, to say the least, nervous. 

I will always remember recording one of the Houston Symphony cellists as part of a project I was working on a few years ago. The cellist we recorded is experienced  She has been Playing with the Houston Symphony for 37 years. When we were going to start the recording session she came straight from a concert and when she sat down she asked for a few moments before we started recording. She was nervous from the concert. In case you missed that, she has been playing with the Houston Symphony for 37 years and she still gets nervous when she performs. 

I was talking with a mentor about my upcoming shoot and I asked him if the nervousness the night before a shoot ever goes away and he told me that I need it, otherwise I am in the wrong career. Truer words were never spoken. 

Stay nervous. Don't get comfortable. That is when things are the most exciting.   Keep it an adventure....

Egypt - Part 3 - Trip to Luxor, Land of the Kings and Queens

As a side trip from Cairo we went south to Luxor, Land of the Kings Queens and all that other good stuff. Aside from all the joy of seeing tombs that are thousands of years old, the fun part of Luxor was the Luxor Temple and the Temples at Karnak. Think The Ten Commandments in person. It is a understatement to say that these temples are big/large/huge/gigantic/InsertLargeAdjectiveHere.  When you walk into it you look all directions and see massive pillars. MASSIVE. There extend in 16 rows, 134 pillars in total. I would have hated to have been the slave that had the 'privilege' of building the temple. So here are tonights photos.... 

 These days everyone is a photographer........


Gisele's Story [preview]

  In the Fall of 2010 I had the privilege of interviewing a friend named Gisele, and I am proud say that some of the footage is finally online. Gisele lived in Berlin, Germany in the 1940s. "In front of our house there were like 26 bombs that fell over a period of time." Gisele continued, "All during the war I was there when the bombing was going on, and that was pretty scary. When we sit in the basement lots of times and we would see stuff fall off the ceiling and the house would shake and we would hear the bombs and things when they were hitting. It was pretty scary then, we didn't know if we would get out again or not or if that was our last day of life."

  "In Berlin it was pretty scarce. We got so much on our ration cards, hut it wasn't a whole lot. They used to say it was too much to die, but not enough to live on. I went to get my ration card and they said 'Well, we don't need more people in Berlin, so why don't you go back where you came from.' "

  Hollywood couldn't make this up, and it would really be hard for them to dramatize it. This is the real story. This was Germany.

[This is just a preview, the entire project should be released sometime this summer. Lord willing I will be able to post it somewhere online for everyone to see.]