The Best Photographer Alive
Hey guys, sorry about the lack of behind the scenes and photos lately. To be honest, things have never been busier, but that has come at the cost of keeping up this blog the way that you deserve it. I thought of bringing on a team to keep up my social media and blog, but at the end of the day I feel that is almost disingenuous to those of you who actually read my blog to hear my thoughts. Originally I started this blog because I thought it would be fun to write, never was there a thought that so many would enjoy reading it. I can remember the first conversation where someone said, “you know, you should use your blog to get more jobs.” I cringed. Why should everything in life be used to make money, and why is the default measurement for anything a photographer does how much he made from it? I have seen photographers brag about, “shooting the covers of magazines” only for the image to be among a mere tile in a collage. The ideas of doing work one is proud of and shameless self promotion got trashed, and this is the bastard child they produced.
A common email I get usually goes along the lines of, “Hi Blair, I am a beginning photographer and am wondering how I can get into ad agencies to shoot ad work?” While the question is valid, the approach is one that feels as though it is the pulse of the industry in it’s current state. I encourage those that have written and those that read this to not search for how to get into agencies, but rather look for where your passion is in photography. Ask yourself what you style is, what is unique to your eye and what you really love about this hobby. The truth of the matter is, many will not get to the upper echelon of photography, some by lack of drive, and others by unwillingness to give up that much of their lives. Even if success at the ad level is achieved for those that want to make money, I promise there is a crushing blow awaiting, for if you don’t have a love for photography first, it is easy to get lost when the work goes away.
Think of it as a friend that you met at a business networking event. Perhaps the relationship is fun and you may exchange texts, but no real trust is formed as it is all topical conversations thinly veiling your want to work together. Is this really a relationship at all? When shit hits the fan, are you going to call this person and tell him you had a bad day, your girlfriend left you or that you have insecurity in you job? No. This is just a “relationship” and there is no ground to stand on in real need. The same can be said about photography.
There will be more recessions, and we all will see times of no work. However, those who based this career on a passion for creating will always have photography, and those that based this career on the want to look cool and make money will be lost. I have often contemplated who the best photographer alive is….. Is he or she a person that is always booked, a jet setter that sees first class more than they should, living a lifestyle of interviews and sponsorships?…… no
I believe the best photographer alive today is most likely a math teacher that cares more about ensuring his kids learn geometry than his possible lucrative career. He loves photography and probably just shoots to decorate his house. He might have a broad knowledge of gear, but would never brag about what camera he is shooting. Most likely he will live a life of humble means and may one day be appreciated for his work after he has passed and his children show his art to a collector. He is a man that I envy, for he will never know how to justify a quarter million dollar campaign, but more importantly, he will never care.
Be proud to be a photographer, but never try to be the “best” photographer. Care little about how much you can impress others with your work, but be passionate about it. After all, photography without passion is accounting.