This weekend I am attending ASMP’s Strictly Business 3 series of talks and seminars for professional photographers. In this time of immense change in technology and in the economics of the photography industry, these events have been a positive catalyst for me. It is clear that the world needs images. While there are forces at work that are reducing prices at the low end of the photography market (think micro stock and cell phone news photos), there is still a need for experienced commercial image makers.
This weekend I have met many other photographers, both younger and older. I’m 52. While it has been fun to engage in nostalgic reminiscences with photographers my age, I am energized by the enthusiasm of many of the younger photographers. It is encouraging to see people in their twenties starting their photo businesses. It has always been a leap of faith to start a photography business–I started my full time business in 1982.
Yesterday one of the four workshops I ended up in was called the Artist Lost and Found taught by Sean Kernan. I entered the wrong hotel meeting room and ended up in Sean’s session by accident. The previous sessions during the day on licensing, web sites and marketing were helpful and informative, but by after lunch my brain was filled to the top with prescriptive things I should start doing. Sean focused on having working commercial photographers re-connect with the wonder and thrill with photography that animated them when they were new photographers.
Sean had the group of about sixteen people do group exercises to open up perception and let go of inhibition. I felt like I was in a theater class.
We stood in a circle and Sean tossed an imaginary potato to someone across the circle. That person mimed tossing to another person and then the imaginary potato became a basketball and then an orange. While doing a child like game the brain had to move into another sphere of imagining and reacting instead of rational thinking. We played another circle game with changing music. One person would move across the circle to touch the next player. Each person had to move to the type of music being played. A formal minuet, hip hop, monks chanting, tribal drum music followed in quick succession as each person improvised movement to that music.
What’s the connection with photography? Every creative endeavor needs to tap into intuition and gut decision making. Being open to the new is a crucial part of being creative.