This weekend’s Powerball frenzy got me to thinking. What if there were a Powerball of sorts for photography? What if, BOOM! you could shoot whatever, wherever you wanted? What would you shoot? Why would you shoot it? Where would you go? Would you stay home and build the most wild studio? Would you travel the world? A little of both? Hire the best super models or hide in outer Mongolia completely void of people to get the most interesting landscape you could find?
Now, you might be thinking, “she crazy. Poor Carol’s gone barking mad. Again.” And, why maybe you’d be right about that. I’m always a little bit headed down that path of barking mad. I can accept that, but what if there’s a reason for me asking these type of questions too? My reasoning is that, if you can think about that lottery as a sort of photography lottery, if you can think about your existence after you would win such a lottery prize, it just might give you some insight into how you shoot without finding yourself a big prize winner. Dreaming about what you might shoot if you could shoot anything and everything tells you a little bit about how you see yourself. That fantasy gives you some insight into who you are as a shooter. Would you end the war in the middle east? Would you find the most beautiful, awesome flower and shoot it instead? Would you travel to the far reaches of the globe or stay at home opting to work instead in studio? Would you buy the most dope lighting rig anybody has ever seen or would you quit your job and shoot at the golden hour each and every day? These are all insights into how we work as photographers, even if they never come to pass.
You might never get to shoot that sweeping landscape of outer Mongolia but if you like landscapes that says a lot about how you shoot and what you might want to shoot next. Don’t box yourself in. Get outside and find the sweep. Now, because you didn’t win that fabulous prize, you might have to settle for a sweeping landscape a bit closer to home but go ahead and hunt it down. You may never be able to afford that dope lighting rig but you can make something work. Consider it a challenge but go ahead and try. You might find you can build a dope lighting rig for a lot cheaper than you think, especially if you are willing to do a little bit of DIY type work and build out things yourself.
Most of us will never know the joy of winning a lot of money in a lottery prize. That’s OK though because we have already won another prize. We’re photographers. That’s a prize, a big prize. We get to see the world, shoot what we see, share our stories, our joys, our sorrows and yes, sometimes, our pain too. It’s what we do and who we are in our very core. While it might be nice to have some big bucks, I don’t think winning a big prize like that would change anything about that really. We’ve already got this, man, we’re photographers. It’s who we are not just what we do, right?
Congratulations, you have already won the big “photography powerball.” Now, what are you going to do with all that prize “money?”
Until next time…
PS This one taken in Langley. An abstract for you tonight. On the zoom with the baby Mark.