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on Dec 18, 2009 in Friday Thoughts

Is It The Openness of Youth or The Wisdom of Age?

There’s this myth that with age comes wisdom. It’s a myth I put to the test everyday. Of course at what age comes what wisdom is not told in this parable, it’s just assumed that it will come. Now that I’m “older,” am I or do I feel wiser? Sometimes yes, most times no. I wish there was a written test to measure what we had, what we’ve acquired and now what we posses but no such test exists. Here’s my concern, how much of what I have learned can I still access and how much is now lost and with that loss, is wisdom gone with it? Or, does that leave a void to fill with new acquired knowledge? Does merely asking that question demonstrate wisdom? I doubt it.

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Why ask this question of one ’s self? It started with me when I did something really stupid that I figured a wise person would know better never to do. But then again would they or, does merely asking the question mean you’ve learned from past experiences and so you have learned more? I find myself asking more questions then coming up with answers in this quest. And this whole question came up again today when working with my assistant Stephanie. I gave her what I thought was a helluva challenge in Photoshop to find an answer, I couldn’t. Not only did she find an answer in a heartbeat (dang her) but in the process taught this old dog new tricks. Seriously.

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So where does the openness of youth and the ability to take on any task fearlessly, get replaced with the caution and “set in one’s ways” in the wisdom of age? The “I can do anything” attitude replaced with the comfort of “doing it the same old way.” And more to the point as a photographer, either one on their own could be the kiss of death especially in a business atmosphere. The Darwin Theory of Photography, evolve or parish is always at the forefront of my thought. But the successful photographer and business person would have a careful balance of both (with some other things added in for good measure). Did I find my answer? Is it that balance of the two that makes up wisdom?

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What Stephanie did was simply brilliant! It was literally simple and its effect is brilliant. I can’t wait to share it with folks at Photoshop World this year. It goes right to the core of my style of photography and image finishing yet subtle, while following the KISS theory. And it’s so simple it went flying past me for years, I did see it or what’s probably worse, didn’t seek it out. Did the wisdom or old age let me down all these years or did it serve me well by giving Stephanie the challenge in the first place, tapping into that pool of youth?

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Pushing my craft, engaging my visual communication skills and refining the message is something I’ve prided myself in regarding my photography. When I start to feel too comfortable, I feel uncomfortable and I throw caution into the wind to see what comes out of the big blow. There is no doubt I try everything until in my mind tells me it is a failure or a success (the measure of which is probably influenced by wisdom?). But you’ve gotta have your eyes wide open to see all you should try. Close your eyes or close your mind and then those new opportunities never appear. So perhaps that’s where the wisdom thing kicks in, having the smarts to try things in the first place and then the wisdom to pursue those things that work for your own photography. I truly enjoy having Stephanie in the office, she makes me laugh. That has now grown with respect for her youth and the “take on all challenges” attitude. Openness of youth or wisdom of age, I wish I was old enough to have the wisdom to figure out the answer! More importantly, will the answer find its way into my photography? Only time will tell which brings me back to what I wrote a few weeks back.