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on Dec 24, 2009 in Friday Thoughts

Cast Your Net Wide!

It’s that time of year when folks seem to take an extra minute to reminisce and look toward the New Year. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a marvelous family as well as an amazing group of friends. It’s during this time of year when the spirit of the season settles in and conversations turn perhaps more reflective than otherwise would during the rest of the year. Such is the case for a number of conversations I’ve enjoyed this last week. Mostly, we’ve talked about our profession of photography, photography of the masses and our own predictions for the next five years. Most of these discussions arise when I say I’m trying to figure out the direction I want to take my photography and where I think my photography will take me in the next five years.

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This all assumes we have control over our future, in part or total. When I started out in business, as in I was first self employed, three months into self employment the Gulf War began. We couldn’t give away a critter shot. Had lots of requests for Arabian species or oiled birds, but nothing from North America. Not the best first step in business, definitely not what we planned, but there was no way to foresee the war.  So learning from the past and looking forward, we’ve learned that we put our best foot forward always keeping an ear out for the unplanned. That brings up that wisdom from age question in my mind.

Setting goals for the next five years requires looking into the crystal ball to include where is the profession going and how will technology affect it. The most obvious is the inclusion of video capture in our DSLR bodies. Video isn’t new, not by any means, but it still feels new to me and to my workflow. It’s totally new when having to shoot both stills and video with the same body attached to the same lens. That’s a mind bent that’s still screwing with my small brain. And with the first video sales this month out of our office and more in the works for 2010, it makes me scratch my head and wonder. But this is just the mechanics and while important, it isn’t really the main goals Sharon & I set for ourselves or the business. I’m talking about the ones that really count!

Getting to the heart of the matter for me is the message itself. Just to who and how, and with what and then when does the message get out that I want and need to share? And in the coming years, in what format does the message go out as, still, video, web, print or combination of one or all? That brings us back to the heart of my conversations with a couple treasured friends this past week. “Does one cast their net for all the small fishes or throw the harpoon for the sharks?” That quote was just thrown at me this morning and still has my head spinning with the implications of its meaning. It’s a more philosophical asking of the quantity or quality question. And I don’t have the answer, yet, but somehow feel that in finding that answer a whole lot more answers might come flooding in that have eluded me. It requires looking at what we’ve done so far, our successes and failures and the rewards and thinking through if they are repeatable. Thinking through if they even apply to the future!

What makes this more complicated is trying to see how others might be dealing with the same influences in the artistic and commercial market place that might affect our business. Even more important is, do we care or just do our own thing? I would really love just going out shooting and shooting and shooting and not thinking about this at all, but such is not the case. Life just doesn’t permit it. But that’s the desire and passion, which if not fulfilled the rest of the house of cards comes crashing down. You might be thinking this is really too heavy a conversation to be having this time of year, but it’s the time of year that brought it all up. Where does the photograph come into play and how does it drive the train?!

You could easily take this same thought, the casting of the net, and put a totally different twist on it, the reason for the season. And perhaps that isn’t too bad an idea. Photography is a visual communication. In many cases it’s a response to the moment and in other cases, it’s a thought out process being summed up in a click. Either case, the person behind the camera, YOU, brings to those moments all the thoughts and feelings that make you, you. You have the ability and means to take just one photo or thousands and cast them out and change lives, save places and bring delight. With that kind of power, how will you then take advantage of it, what avenue will you take in presenting the world through your eyes and heart and photography? It’s one thing to take a Saturday off just to go make a couple of clicks to clear the mind. It’s a whole other one when you turn those couple of clicks into ones that can fill hearts. Take the spirit of the season, use it to give a purpose and goal for the years to come and let it run away with you and fill your photography for the coming year. Cast your nets wide and fill them with hearts!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Moose, Sharon, Brent, Katt, Jake & Stephanie!