This might get wordy...so strap in or skip ahead.
If you've seen my Facebook posts for more than 2 days in a row, you've probably figured out that my dream is to do photography full time, for a living...and to become a world class photog (with a Nat Geo cover shoot before I die).
Not sure how this next line is going to go over, but I'll say it anyway.
It's easy to get in to the photography game. The cost of entry has come way down. I have gear with capabilities/functions that 10 or even 5 years ago I would never have been able to even look at, let alone own. It seems that anyone with a DSLR can call themselves a 'photographer' (hell, that's pretty much what I did). And there are websites devoted to showing the follies of doing just that.
MASTERING the ART of photography, however, is something else entirely.
But I got lucky...in two ways, actually. The first is that I think I have an eye for the shot and knack of getting 'that' moment (time will bear out if this is actually true or not, so that's all the time we'll spend on that).
The second way is that I have been blessed...yes blessed with AMAZING friends who also happen to be photographers. I have some friends that are AMAZINGLY talented in the way that they write with light. There will be a day when my grandkids come up and say 'Granpop, is it true that you really knew such and such?' And I'll say "not only is it true, but they actually taught me about the art of taking pictures'. And their little jaws will drop as they run outside to play with their jetpacks.
With so many photographers coming on the scene, you would think competition would be fierce. And...it may be. But I'd never know it. And here's why.
These amazingly talented photographer friends that I'm talking about (who, yes, actually make money taking photos) are not my competition (and I'm not theirs). Instead of letting me flounder around as I re-discovered my love of photography, they took me under their wing. Taught me things. Gave me tips. Helped me grow in skill and confidence.
I can't tell you what a difference that has made this year alone. I feel like I'm not even the same guy behind a camera that I was even a year ago.
Dude...do you realize how huge that is? I read all the time of 'pro's in the field looking down with disdain at the newbies. And that baffles me. Maybe it's like that some places, but I have never really felt that. And any time I'm at a shoot where there are multiple photographers (public event or something of the like) or if my friends get a new camera and have questions...I do what I can to help them fall deeper in love with photography.
Because that's what happened to me. A handful of friends (at first), encouraged me...guided me...showed me through THEIR love of the craft just how much more I could do with photography and in turn stoked the flames of my love for photography.
It truly leaves me speechless. And I know that I can't repay them (hell, they may not even know how much they've touched me). All I can do is help light that fire and spread that love with someone who comes along and looks up to ME for that guidance (and when that happens, it kinda blows my mind, to be honest).
That's really what it's all about, isn't it? Doing something that makes your heart sing.
The culmination of this hit me full in the heart on December 10. I helped with the Help-Portrait event. And I was blown away. The gifts that were given were amazing. The sheer effort that went in to coordinating the Columbus event alone was mind blowing.
But that wasn't all. The level and caliber of the photographers there blew me away. These are guys that had their shit dialed in. Super talented and skilled. And I again felt like the total newb.
But it didn't matter. I learned so much from everyone that I worked with (or near) that I feel like I took a course on portrait photography.
It blew me away. And there was no disdain, condescension...none of that. Everyone was there for one goal. And to reach that goal everyone helped everyone else. It was awesome.
And for that, I am grateful.
I learned so much from so many people this year that I know to thank them all would be futile and I'm sure I'd miss someone.
But know this...if you are a photog...and we've shared that bond...there's a very good chance that I've learned from and been inspired by you at some point in my quest to make my dream real.
And for that I am eternally grateful as you have brought me one step closer in bringing the dream to life.
I hope that I can continue to learn from and be inspired by you in years to come. And I hope in some way I can pass on the gift and love you've shown me to others who may be in the same boat I was in.
Now let's go capture some amazing moments in 2012!!