Let’s go back in time. Way back.
I was a mere 19 years old and I recently discovered photography and the darkroom, that mysterious magical place where images came to life.
I was at the time in college, taking a bird course of sorts, trying to figure out life.
(Photography was one of the courses we needed in order to pass said bird course.)
Photography changed my life, my destiny. But more than that, the two people I met while in this course mattered even more.
The first one was Karl, the photography prof.
Now Karl was not loved by everyone. He was scary, brash and loud. I, however, put him on a pedestal. He was outspoken, brash and he knew photography.
He also had no tolerance for sloppiness or lazy work. I admired that and respected him for it.
I naively asked him if I also bought a Leica (his brand) camera if I too would become a good photographer.
He laughed. It’s not about the camera. Okay, got it.
He set the pace for my career. I knew back then there was no room for being less then your best or being sloppy.
And while some students cowered and crawled in the corner when he came storming in the darkroom, I stopped and listened.
I was not a good student overall. But I was a good student where it mattered. And it mattered as far as Karl was concerned.
He knew his stuff. And I was eager to learn.
To this day, and I think we can all learn from Karl, being a good student matters.
No ego. No sensitive snowflakes too afraid to “get their feelings hurt”, always opting for political correctness over quality teaching.
Sad. But true for many. Their loss.
I decided to quit that program and pursue photography full time. Enter Fritz Grottoli.
Mr.Grottoli, the head of the program, sat me down in his office and gave me a one-on-one talk that to this day still resonates.
He warned me it was not going to be easy street being a photographer, in case I had any illusions.
He told me I was going to starve, and live every day in doubt and uncertainty.
Good thing. If he told me it was going to be easy, I might have believed him.
He set the pace.
They both did. And to this day I am grateful. It was the BEST education I could have ever asked for.
Every single successful photographer I know, and there are many of them, in spite of what the doomsayers and pessimists say, all have this one thing in common.
They were good students. And still are, no matter their success.
They pushed forward. Eager. Wide-eyed and ambitious. Burning with passion and they showed up. Day after day, month after month, year after year.
Success is like that. You don`t accidentally find it one day. You pursue it with dogged determination.
Truth is, nothing much has changed, has it? The business of making it in photography is still very challenging. As it was then, so it is today.
And you learn the one thing that neither Fritz nor Karl knew, or failed to mention at the time, but I discovered because I never gave up….. that marketing, and becoming a marketer of photographic services was the missing link.
Yours in photography and success,