When I first started out, when I was very green, when I knew much much less than I thought I knew, I often found myself frustrated on assignment. Some of my editors wanted it one way and I wanted it another. Forget about the fact that they had been doing it for much longer than I ever had. The time they had already put into the trenches of the daily grind at a news publication was irrelevant. Never mind that I might actually learn something from them. I wanted to do it my way.
I was full of passion for both photography and my trade as a photojournalist. I was eager to get out there and create, to do my best and to be the best. Unfortunately, I sometimes overlooked that it wasn't just about me. I had editors, and my editors had managers and those managers had administrators and on and on. In the end it was about our readers and about quality storytelling.
Sometimes I got too hung up on how a photo ran or how it was cropped. There were times when I questioned why I was even in the industry. At one point in my career I walked away from it all and didn't pick up the camera for a year. The truth is, growing and learning hurt and was at times down right painful. Even worse, in hindsight, some of it was self-inflicted.
Thankfully, I'm not the naive young blood that I used to be, but I'm still just as passionate about photography and storytelling.
During a recent assignment with Distinction magazine's creative director we both worked through each others vision of how we could best tell the story of historian Dr. Tommy Bogger. We took two different approaches. One batch of photos were shot brightly lit while the others were shot with a darker mood. In the past, I would have shot it one way - my way.
Thankfully, I've grown, I've humbled myself. I've dropped the ego at the door and wow, it's feels so good. Talk about liberation!
Taking the different approaches not only allowed my client to have options but pushed me to visually explore the subject and grow. Wow, imagine that, they could pick and choose what worked best for their vision while incorporating photos that reflected my way of seeing. Not to mention, I had an opportunity to learn while getting paid.
It was a win-win situation.