With social media being what it is, it's fascinating to learn that, in a time when we always strive to project the ideal image of ourselves, what others tend to gravitate to the most is usually the complete opposite of what we're trying to achieve.
There will always be a place and a time for those polished, well-lit videos of ourselves, but sometimes it's those very videos that we strive to create that discourage us from doing anything because they feel like such a challenge to produce. I love using my iPhone to create videos, and more importantly the videos in which I unwillingly speak to the camera because it's a skill that no one will be able to take away the more you develop the confidence in doing it. "Show up imperfectly as you are!"
In studio with Meghan Hayden in a Brooklyn studio. I became aware of Meghan back when she was a personal trainer at an upscale gym in New York City called Performix House and since then has gone on independent and continues to grow Take Off with Meg.
Buy that domain name. Carve your space out on the web. Tell your stories, build your community, and talk to your people. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It doesn’t need to duplicate any space that already exists on the web — in fact, it shouldn’t. This is your creation. It’s your expression. It should reflect you.
The internet is vast. It’s endless and so it was this concept of owning something that’s yours whereas you can document anything was one of the two factors that first inspired me to start personal blogging back in 2010. The second element was my obsession with Anthony Bourdain's storytelling style.
With him, no existing concepts were reinvented. He wasn't adopting a different role. He wasn't trying to please everyone. He was honest, unflinching, and most importantly, he was truly interested in what he was reporting. He had earned the right to produce the kind of art he desired, and it was this freedom that struck a chord with viewers.
Although social networking platforms are everything nowadays, I still appreciate the idea of having my own personal website serve as my home base especially in times where every other platform can become unstable at any moment.
It's really difficult to add much commentary to Nathan's statement because it stands on its own, has undoubtedly crossed your mind at some point, and is something that everyone needs to hear regularly.
It's so easy to self reflect with questions like "What am I doing with my life?", "I can't even qualify for this I'm too old", "I wish I would have done more," and "I'm never going to be that successful”.
So rather than comparing your life to 30 people, ask yourself questions like: "Do I feel content in my work?", "Do I feel valued at my job", "Are there some things I can do to improve my career?", and (my favorite), "If you could tell the 21 year old version of yourself what you're doing now, would they be impressed?"
The Leica Q2 has remained a complete joy to use, even in those situations where I'm not sure whether I'll be using it, but because it's compact and powerful, it's still worth having along, especially in New York City where the chances of encountering someone worthwhile are great.
In hopes to further her artistic career, tattoo artist Klaudia Klonowska, who is originally from Poland, is temporarily residing in New York. On a gorgeous Fall day, we met in Soho and worked together on a quick photo shoot while we strolled the neighborhood's historic cobblestone streets.
I find it difficult to decide what makes a great portrait. Of course, factors like lighting, location, perspective, and even the reason for taking the photograph lend additional levels of significance to the final image, but the person's story usually makes the whole endeavor more enjoyable. In an ideal situation, I would have already built up a substantial repertoire with the subject to the point where a portrait was feasible, but regrettably that's not always the case. Sometimes you simply have very little time to and you just have to create as you go.
I'll admit my blogging habits haven't been as consistent as they used to be. However, I do have rough drafts of ideas in my head that still need to be shaped and colored to demonstrate my aim. These unfinished ideas are actually more for myself than anyone else, with the sole intent of helping me comprehend, define, and make sense of many topics that may not always be related to photography but rather life in general.
Some people would argue that there is no longer any value in blogging, and anytime that momentary notion occurs, I am reminded of a statement made by Robin about how anything might be valuable to pursue further because "everything adds up":
"A blog post can anything...your career will thank you for it later and no-one can take it away...but you’ll never know unless you write that half-assed thing that’s in your head right now...everything is worthy of your blog. Everything."
Body and Bell, a program that uses kettlebells as its primary modality and one I've faithfully followed for the past two years on the Ladder app, was created by New York-based personal trainer and nutrition coach Lauren Kanski, who specializes in strength and athletic conditioning.
I absolutely value her knowledge and perspective, especially on social because it is honest and raw. She recently replied to a question about "selling yourself" that I've been struggling with, and even though her response was directed toward the fitness sector, it was still very applicable to freelancers in general, not just photographers like myself.
Fitness is a tough crowd. People don't buy programs, they don't buy bands, they buy you! So the biggest thing I used to ask myself was would I buy me?
I wasn't confident, I didn't think I was smart enough, I wasn't giving my biz everything I had and that was a big problem.
We usually forget that the most important piece of selling anything is that we truly believe it is a solution that can help others. Gaining that confidence starts with walking the walk and showing up for ourselves first, then we don't have to "sell anything"!
The Colombian city of Medellin is a destination rich in culture, history, and scenic beauty. In the last few decades, the city has undergone a significant transformation. It has both an old heart and yet a vibrant creative energy that is felt the moment you arrive.
I've never met a Colombian person who hasn't spoken highly of their country, which is why I was eager to experience with my wife. However, there are so many things to do and see in in this city that it can be challenging to know where to start. The city is enormous! Although there are excellent public transportation options, the area is fairly dispersed, so choosing a place to stay is important because it can facilitate your journey.
Prior to any trip, I always do a ton of research on YouTube to get a firsthand perspective on other travelers' experiences to wherever our destination will be. In the case of Medellin, I totally loved this vlog of Medellin by folks at Attaché because it wasn't just insightful; it also had a very documentary feel that was reminiscent of a classic Parts Unknown show by the late Anthony Bourdain.
There used to be a time when having a day job and a hobby meant attempting your best to keep those 2 portions of your life at opposite ends of the spectrum, but depending on what your pastime and day job are nowadays, there is no longer a need to compartmentalize those 2 components of your life because for me, one fuels the other.
I don't talk about this much, but when I'm not behind the camera, I work at Louis Vuitton, a wonderful company where I've had the pleasure of working for the past 11 years. In addition to having a "day job", I've still managed to dedicate time for client work and travel which has been the source of all of photography that you've seen me share and it stems from my free time or while on vacation. What's the secret? There's isn't any. It's just the willingness to sacrifice one aspect of one's life for another to dedicate time to what fuels you.
While I've been a part of many amazing projects put on by Louis Vuitton, I've always struggled with how much I can share. However, this one was such a pleasure to be a part of that I couldn't help but sneak my Leica Q2 out during downtime to capture a glimpse of what it was like to be surrounded by so much craftsmanship and history.
On Shelter Island, Louis Vuitton created an exclusive savoir-faire atelier for the Maison's most precious collections. The emphasis of the presentation was on products that highlight the Maison's illustrious history and craftsmanship, such as exotic creations, furniture and décor from Objets Nomades, specialized hard-sided and trunk pieces, made-to-order items, and luxury watches and jewelry.
As creatives, we may have periods of inactivity, but overall, we always have the inclination to mull over an idea, play with it, and come up with something new. Naturally, it feels good when our efforts are rewarded, but we shouldn't ever feel as though our attempts were also in vain when they aren't immediately recognized. All of this has some significance in terms of how we think, practice, and present to the world what is only possible for us in our own special way create and in those movements when you doubt your efforts, I leave you with the wise words of Seth Godin:
The body of work you’re creating adds up over time. The consistency and empathy of your vision will seep through. Drip by drip, you’ll create something worth noticing