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What are you dreaming about?
Old 12-23-2007, 09:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I wanted to share something that I have thought a lot about lately. This may mean nothing to most of you, but it has meant a lot to me.

Think about the things you dream of having or doing. A new camera. A sports car. Meeting the pretty girl in the store next to where you work. A trip to (fill in the blank). Whatever.

The problem with dreams...you wake up and they are gone. They were a temporary experience that disappears when you come back to reality.

In the workshops I teach I hear so many people say that they dream of doing what I do for a living. I usually ask "Why don't you?" and they begin giving me their list of reasons why they can't. Immediately I tend to think they are right. They CAN'T. They are truly "dreaming" of doing what I do for a living. When the workshop is over they go back to reality.

The thing I have come to notice is that the person can't be a professional photographer because they have already decided they can't. They have put that into "dream" mode instead of "vision" mode. They quickly jump into "can't" mode. Dreams are gone when you wake up and you are back to reality. Visions are forward thinking and they are always a part of your reality.

A few years ago a guy attended one of my workshops in Vegas. He builds houses for a living. He told me about how much he loved photography. He fumbled with his camera. It intimidated him. He saw all of these settings and buttons and knobs and had no idea what was going on, but he really loved this stuff and was hungry to understand how to control his shots better. While we stood there under this roller coaster at the hotel we were at I showed him what aperture priority means. Then shutter priority. We talked about depth of field. He soaked it all up like a sponge. His attitude was "Wow. Give me more". He told me how he wanted to be a professional photographer. He did not tell me why he couldn't. He had a vision, not a dream. He did not tell himself why he couldn't. He did not consider "can't". He had to have it. There just was no other option.

That guy is Rick Wright. Many of you know him here. Rick has a job as a home builder. He has a wife and kids. He has all of the same day to day distractions that all of the dreamers have. The thing is, now, three years later, Rick has over 100 tear sheets and is published internationally. He was not dreaming. He had a vision. He never embraced why he "couldn't". He HAD to. Pardon the double negative here, but he couldn't NOT do it.

That made me flash back to a Wayne Collins workshop in Florida many years ago. Wayne taught me what aperture was and depth of field. He talked about how to control getting better detail in an image by setting the aperture to a higher number. I did not need a deeper understanding of any of that at the time. I needed the simple understanding of how to control my image. Then he sent me on my way to shoot. Here I sit, over 15 years later doing it full time.

Those people that sit in my workshops tell me why they can't do what I do for a living. They are right. They are dreamers. Nothing wrong with dreaming. Dreams are kinda fun if they are good dreams. You don't have to be a full time pro to have legitimacy as a shooter. I am not talking about the people that want to shoot on the side just for fun. I am talking about the people that inside truly want to be a full-time shooter but they take "no" for an answer. They tell themselves why they can't.

"But Rick, you have all of the advantages. You shoot the best models, in the best locations, and have all of this experience." I did not have that when I sat in Wayne's workshop. I was EXACTLY where most of my workshop attendees are. To be honest, most of my workshop attendees know a LOT more than I did at that point. Yes I have an advantage now, but I didn't. I got to the point where I shoot for national magazines and calendars and what ever else by not accepting why I couldn't. It wasn't a dream. It was something I had to make happen. I pushed and puched and need to still push forward. Again...I couldn't NOT do it.

Rick Wright is the classic example. He still builds houses. He still has a wife and kids. He spent every spare moment on going and getting this. Finding ways it COULD happen. He didn't spend it on video games in the basement. He didn't even spend it reading technical manuals once he got control of his camera. Just a guess here but he probably did not spend as much time surfing the internet trying to find another picture of a naked girl unless he wanted to TRULY figure out how it was shot so he could use figure out how to do it.

When I decided to shoot a model dipped in 50 gallons of chocolate syrup I had SO many people tell me "Yeah. Great idea, but good luck with that. What a mess. I am glad it is you and not me." "Where are you going to find a model that is willing to do that?" Believe me, I saw the challenges ahead. I just really wanted that shot and couldn't NOT do it. I found a way to make the mess minimal. I found a BEAUTIFUL model willing to do it. I found a way to get the shot, and it was really pretty easy over-all. I did not stop when the challenges surfaced. The shot is not perfect, but I got it!


I am bringing that up not as much as a lecture to others, but also to make a point to myself. Let's bring this back home to where we began.

Think about the things you dream of having or doing. A new camera. A sports car. Meeting the pretty girl in the store next to where you work. A trip to (fill in the blank). Whatever.

Make what ever it is a vision and don't stop until you have it. Don't tell me why you can't do it. Tell why you can't live without it. Go get it. Be tenacious and when the doubts come in, and the second thoughts, don't entertain them. Shut them down right then and there and go get what ever it is you want. JUST DON'T STOP! No matter what.

It's about to be a new year. Change you dreams into visions and make this year your best year ever. I am gonna take my own advice. I plan on it and I am not gonna settle for less.
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Re: What are you dreaming about?
Old 12-23-2007, 01:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My dreams are sometimes scary and I'm glad they're not real!
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Re: What are you dreaming about?
Old 12-23-2007, 02:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm certainly hoping I can make this dream of photography a reality (I can't let all this school tuition go to waste!!). I can take a decent picture every once in a while I think, but I have ZERO business sense (and I hate business, which makes learning it all the more difficult for me). Once I get past that though, I think I'll be good to go!

It's like my teacher always says -- the best photographers in the world are never seen (they can take great photos, but can't market themselves well). I don't want to be one of them.
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Re: What are you dreaming about?
Old 12-23-2007, 03:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I once had a dream of turning my art abilities into a career. That was back in high school and my family couldn't afford to pay for my tuition in college and the government wasn't assisting with any grants. I had to work for 2 and a half years after school to save money to pay for a large part of my college classes. After graduation, I applied myself towards finding a job that my education was for and soon found work at an advertising agency as a layout artist, illustrator and designer. Photography was a secondary dream that was also put to use for the agency, occasionally shooting product images for our clients advertising purposes. My dream had turned into work and dedication to reach the goals that I wanted that became reality for me. Today I still have a few dreams that from time to time, get turned into reality.
That pretty girl is just around the corner that just might someday become a part time muse for me.

Jim
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Re: What are you dreaming about?
Old 12-23-2007, 06:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great words and insightful. Just plug in any career dream in place of photographer in your message and it applies. Thanks for sharing.
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