**Special special thanks to my good friend & photog Nick Karlin for assisting in this series and new bud Justin Chiet for creating the behind the scenes video on this shoot below ! (After the break)

The advertising world in photography is super competitive, actually, sometimes it feels downright impossible to crack. No matter how good one is. Yet, I believe one can say more with one photo than with 100 words.

**Unless you are Ashley from @TMFproject …no joke.

Special thanks to Justin Chiet for putting this video together!

Recently I chatted with a somewhat disgruntled photog– one who felt that there is no point in sharing tips, tricks or creative ideas with other photogs for fear that another will use it and/or capitalize on it. He even went on to say how much he hated to talk with other photographers….(Can you say “red flag”?!?!)

This had me thinking: Do I feel this way? Do I agree?

No. I don’t. Perhaps early-on in my career I may have, but certain things have helped me develop and believe otherwise.

If Redskins phenom RG3 teaches you to throw… does it mean you will throw just like him? Will you be hired by the Redskins next season? Considering cost is no issue, If someone wants a Mercedes or BMW, will they invest in one that isn’t …? or …. kinda looks and feels like one?

I digress.    (I finally have a reason to use that word! …makes me sound astute doesn’t it ??? ; ) 

For the last year I have been working a lot which has found me exhausted and therefore in a creative slump of sorts. Because of being in a constant “work mode” mentality- having room to breathe, the ability to appreciate and enjoy friends, family and the simple things in life etc…were somewhat sparse. I had no fresh, new outside inspiration. I had become creatively numb.

I knew I wanted to get out of this creative rut. I researched other opinions on the matter and the only consistent thought on this was that “you just have to push through it”.

I found that I had neglected something… “Community”.

“Rising Tides Raise All Ships”

I love this quote!

The more and more I find myself in the business world and further from some of the self-serving noise found in the photog industry, the more I find myself loving the aspect of talking shop with other photogs and visionaries. In turn I can learn and feel free to teach tips/tricks/converse…be collaborative with ideas etc and not feel as though I am some figurative glass-half-full…incrementally running out.

(What!?!?) … track with me for a second…

One who is business savvy and somewhat learned with regards to this world will tell you that one of the most fulfilling things to do is to connect and in turn be connected. In short… build real relationships. Build a community. Build into relationships and enjoy reciprocation in return.

In the world of the creative entrepreneur it is no mistake that we are “idea people”… its in our nature! Some ideas are good and some bad.

It is by running these ideas by friends & co-entrepreneurs, in and out of our specific industry- that we learn what has serious potential to stick and what does not.

“Pool Party!” …The Moment Our Work Suffers

One of the ideas that has “stuck” through the years is the concept of not having to feel confined in what I “reveal” to other photogs etc… (as though I were some photo guru) Worrying about who knows what and who doesn’t, brings nothing but grief. The moment we as artist concern ourselves with copying or imitating our work or “technique” is the moment that our work suffers and our attention is diverted. 

My response to this you ask…? Photo Shoot Parties! Yep… creativity and community all in one! Since I am a “concept guy” these work perfectly!

So what do I do?? I invite friends, some of which are photogs, some who are models and some who are not. For me, this is a time of learning and being immersed in creating something that has not yet been created or exists and less about f-stops and camera techniques.

Example: In the pool party shot above someone mentioned some kind of crazy absurd name for a flip… yeah, you know- the mctwist flip reverse blah, blah, blah… (just watch the x-games and you’ll know what I mean).

(trust me, i couldn’t remember the name if you paid me…)

…this put me in a place to try something new. Though this is a minor example, it serves to broaden my ideas and creative contribution if not immediately, later-on down the road. All of a sudden I am seeing something I didn’t consider- thus inviting the opportunity add value to an image.

All This To Say…


It comes down to this:

It seems like we spend so much time trying to be the next “viral sensation” in online “how-to” blogs or the next “big thing” that we don’t realize that we miss the point. To create art.

Through that creative expression find your healthy community which will then lead to healthy relationships, healthy family, good creative collaboration and clarity of mind.

This is the reciprocating formula that I have found to get me out of the inevitable creative slump.

**NEXT PHOTO in this Series! : “Summer BBQ” !!!

‘Mike

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