Today I read the photography blog from Chase Jarvis which was about how he answered aspiring photographers who asked him a professional photographer how to succeed. After reading his answer to the qeustion I became discourgaed after I did the math based on his answer and discovered it would take me about 20 years of study in the field before I could succeed. The calcaulation was based on my current pace of practicing or studying photogtaphy about ten hours per week.
So here was the secret to success from the Chase Jarvis blog...
- Be Undeniably Good. Last year, in an interview with Charlie Rose, the famous comedian Steve Martin gave this advice to anyone trying to make it in any field:
Be undeniably good. When people ask me how do you make it in show business or whatever, what I always tell them and nobody ever takes note of it 'cuz it's not the answer they wanted to hear -- what they want to hear is here's how you get an agent, here's how you write a script, here's how you do this -- but I always say, "Be so good they can't ignore you." If somebody's thinking, "How can I be really good?", people are going to come to you. It's much easier doing it that way than going to cocktail parties.
- Dedicate at least 10,000 hours to whatever it is you're looking to master. In his enlightening talk at the 2008 AIGA Business Design Conference, about innovation and misconceptions regarding what it takes to become a success, Gladwell discussed this concept from his new book Outliers: The Story of Success. "Genius and creativity don’t necessarily spring forth unbidden, they require time and support to experiment, try and even fail." I found his talk really entertaining, and I'd imagine you might too.
What's fun about photography, of course, is that anyone can pick up a camera these days and make great pictures, straight outta the gate. No brainer, really accessible, relatively little effort, nice pictures. I love that about photography - it's why everyone has a camera these days. The technology is really wonderful.
But, if you want to "make it", whatever that means, I think you need to start by being undeniably good. And if you can't intuit how to be undeniably good, then start by dedicating 10,000 hours to it. That will get you where you want to be.
Since I didn't start out being "undeniably good" then that means I have 10,000 hours (minus the past year) of work in front of me before I'm ready. So in 2026 when I'm hopefully retired I'll be ready for another journey.
Now where did I put those photography books?