(*Root for the other guy is just an expression – substitute gal as appropriate)
I recently had the pleasure, and privilege of spending some quality time with my friend, Pulitzer Prize Winning photographer and filmmaker, Vince LaForet. He spoke at Skip’s Summer School in Vegas and as usual, wowed the crowd with an amazing slide show and talk about creative vision.
But afterwards, when he and I were eating lunch it struck me; One of the reasons we all sat there during his talk – spellbound by his amazing imagery – was because we were all rooting for him. We were OPEN to his greatness. He’s an easy guy to root for. He’s humble, talented, unassuming and always delivers. As I thought about the implications of this for photographers and photography, I realized that the failure to root for the other guy can also have negative consequences.
There is an uncomfortable and unfortunate segment of the industry that seems to have built a cottage industry rooting AGAINST the other guy. I fear for those people. I fear for them because with their hearts so full of hate, they are closed off to real vision and real greatness.
When visual artists like Vince LaForet “see” – they do at a level most of us can only dream about. It takes an open heart to see that well. It’s only natural that when you have an open heart, you root for the other guy too.
There’s no profit in rooting against someone or something. The profit comes when you root FOR someone or something.
If you want to build a career as a professional photographer don’t be consumed by concern for the competition. Think of them as CO-OPetition! Root for them too. Do your best. Open your heart. Root for everyone. Remember it’s about the picture, not about who “wins.”
As I was driving Vince to the airport for his short flight back to Los Angeles he reminded me of something he said during his talk. “Success isn’t something you can just track down and obtain. Stop chasing success.” It’s that misguided concern for success that stops us from being great. Root for the other guy. Root for yourself. Root for everyone. Root for the photo industry. Root for great pictures. Be positive. Open your heart and worry about the picture – not winning. Then maybe, just maybe you’ll start to see things more clearly. That’s when you can start to really see.
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