Why Are You a Photographer?
I have been bothered for a long time about how someone rises to the top. I have pondered this question and until recently, I have been unable to find the answer. I don’t know how many of you listen or follow TED Talks, but I have recently watched a talk about how certain folks and organizations rise to the top, and it did answer many of my questions. Here is the link to the piece I am referring to: http://youtu.be/qp0HIF3SfI4
In summary what seems to be happening is that all of us look to the answer and know what we do and some may know how we do it but very few understand or can put into words why. The answer to what we do is, for example:
• What do we want, a new computer,
• What do we do, a photographer, accountant or a truck driver.
• What do we need; food, a new car and so on
• What we provide to our customers
When we choose someone to do work for us we may look at the answers to how. How will this company fulfill what we want or need, for example Apple’s how is “by pushing the boundaries of technology”. Very few of us consciously ask why is that person or company in business, but subconsciously or through mechanisms in our brains that are not connected to our language centers we get that feeling that this person or company is who we want to deal with. We know why but we are at a loss to put it in words, so we resort to using phrases like “I had a gut feeling” or ‘it feels right” and so on.
That is the outside in approach. If we take the inside out approach to our businesses or our projects we are in a far better position to excel at what we do. In the TED Talks piece there are a number of examples of why some businesses or people are wildly successful, with references to Apple, Martin Luther King , and the Wright Brothers…
Let’s explore how this can work for Photographers. Now most of you are photographers, have you asked yourself why you want to be a photographer? We may know the how, and we definitely know what we deliver; printed or digital images. I think the how is dependent to a large extent to our reasons why we are photographers and that will vary from person to person. We can be fine arts photographers wanting to share our creativity, we can be motivated by wanting fame and fortune, we can be motivated by the need to document events, and so on. Why we are photographers is a very basic tenant of being able to innovate and come up with new ideas, and push the boundaries of our photography while at the same time build a following of like minded people who appreciate the ” what” and “how” of your photography. The “why” is what will make you stand out or in some cases crash and burn, it seems that if the motivation is honorable then the odds are very much in your favor conversely if you are only looking for fortune and fame, the odds may not play in your favor.
So if you are a self employed photographer or thinking of becoming a professional photographer, you definitely need to ask yourself why you want to be a photographer, you should know the reason why and then transform the “Why’ into the “How” and “What”. This will certainly help you along the path you have chosen.
I am still in the process putting into words the “why” for myself in terms of photography, and I can tell you with 100% certainty why I became an accountant and I can share that with you. The reason why I became an accountant is because I love to know what makes a business or organization run, how they work, how they can be improved and their influence on the world we live in.
I hope you liked new blog, I do highly recommend that you take a look at the TED Talks episode I gave earlier, and I would love to hear why you have chosen to be a photographer.