20170723_TIME IS THE ONLY LUXURY.doc
It wasn’t until recently that I started taking the idea of my time more seriously. I can literally replace every possession I have - I can buy new luggage, cars, homes, watches, and gear. I can replace everything and anything. Everything except time lost on things I didn’t really want to be doing. Time spent making things that I refuse to put my name on. Things that didn’t inspire me or remind me of why I love what I do.
If you’re not careful you can quickly find yourself caught up being “busy”. Taking every job simply because of the paycheck or in order to fill empty days on your calendar. Diluting your brand until there’s nothing left of the vision you once had. What’s worse is the time you spend letting your creativity slowly wither away is time you could have spent making something that mattered. Something that inspired others and brought some form of beauty to the world around you.
20140829_THE DEATH OF ROBIN WILLIAMS AND WHY WHAT YOU DO IS IMPORTANT.doc
I met Robin last January. He was incredibly gracious, kind, and surprisingly soft spoken. He was shorter than I had imagined him as a child and yet had a command of the room without a word. He was a rare talent born in the golden aged of comedy where crafted storytelling reigned. A genius that may never be rivaled.
He passed away earlier this month at the age of 63.
As a photographer there was never a strategic endgame in mind. I never laid away at night searching for the deep philosophical meaning behind the work. I'm self-aware enough to know that it has always been as simple as loving what I do and sharing that with people. I love creating and until now it was as simple as that. Yet when I heard of his passing I came to realize something I hadn't previously considered.
I've heard it said that you die twice in this life. Once when the last breath leaves your body and once when somebody says your name for the last time. If that's true, as a photographer, I have the opportunity to give people an sort of immortality. To let not only their names but their image live on after all of us are long dead and gone. That's true for anyone who picks up a camera.
It's a little surreal to consider that the man so largely responsible for capturing my imagination as a child was, only a year ago, taking my direction on set. That he looked me in the eyes as he shook my hand and said, "Thank you for taking the time.". That as soon as I started shooting he took out his phone and began photographing me as if to even the playing field. Now here I am a year later and he's no longer with us. As I revisit the images from our time together I realize they will carry a small part of his legacy into the future. I consider that the greatest of honors.
The point I'm chasing is this; if you're a photographer, never treats your work as disposable and never take for granted what it is you get to do with your life. In one way or another Robin influenced each and every one of us through his work. It is now our responsibility as artists to craft the narrative, capture the moments, and share the lessons learned in hopes that we can impact the coming generation with as much intensity and imagination as Robin did with ours.
Stop. Stop trying to keep up with the newest creative fads, effects, editing, lighting styles, etc. Forget what people are raving about. What are you excited about? Believe it or not, not everyone's new project is multiple "fire" emojis. All your creative peers say they just worked with someone "about to drop the greatest thing you've ever heard/seen" as if they are in some tight inner circle. 99% of those declarations are utter bullshit. Make things you're proud to put your name on, share them, and go make more.
Don't worry about being trendy, worry about being good.