Practical Advice

From the series, Navigation Without Numbers. ©2013 Dave Ortiz

From the series, Navigation Without Numbers. ©2013 Dave Orti

Tomorrow is Soho Photo’s monthly gathering of the Portfolio Review Committee of which I happen to be a member of just by virtue of showing up! But I have contributed one or two thoughts that keep me in their good graces. The great thing about this monthly event is that the applicants get to sit down with 2 members of the review committee and get valuable feedback on their work.  Lots of times I see very young photographers applying for membership when they clearly have not found their voice or even figured out how to be a photographer or what it really entails. So a smile came upon my face when I came across this wonderful bit of wisdom from David Carol, the Director Photography for CBS Outdoor. He was part of a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities of emerging photographers at the Photo Expo show last week.

“They put the cart before the horse. Forget about shows, forget about books, forget about being famous, forget about people knowing who you are. Take the first 10 or 15 years to figure out how to be a fucking photographer.”

This is very practical advice if a bit irreverent, that should be followed not only by photographers but everyone. Learn your craft and everything else will follow. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam said much the same thing in the Documentary “20” directed by Cameron Crowe. He said that when you are in your bedroom practicing and playing your guitar you are not thinking of fame because its just not going to happen!

But sometimes it does. Most of the time it doesn’t. But that is beside the point.


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