A collaborative online community that brings together photographers and creative professionals of every kind to find ways to keep photography relevant, respected, and profitable.
Want us to find an answer to your question? Interested in becoming a contributor?Email us
During my career I have been accused of being cocky, self assured, and overly confident. To which I respond; yes I am, I’m a photographer.
The only way to infuse yourself with the confidence necessary to navigate the photo world’s rivers of advancement is to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. Take two photographers, each with equal knowledge and natural skill. The one that has shot the most will always win. They’ve done it. They’ve clicked the shutter a thousand more times and solved a thousand more problems in their head.
These were my thoughts in 1989 when I was showing my fashion portfolio to a group of peers looking for a photojournalist. “Fashion and photojournalism are very similar,” I volunteered. I kept my arms down so no one could see I was sweating waterfalls under my arms. My entire career up to that point had been about sprinting to a location and conjuring a fashion story through my camera on the fly. Photojournalism seemed to be a derivative of that, except easier because you didn’t have to make up the story, you just had to capture it. I was wrong.
My confident (cocky) pitch about the relative similarity between fashion and journalism worked. I got the gig, and was sent to Russia. My first few weeks at Novosti Press International in Moscow were remarkable in that I was consistently producing rubbish. I was mildly panicked that my fashion/journalism theory may have been flawed and all I had really achieved was a successful con job.
Ego annihilated I sought the help of the senior Novosti Press shooters. In a Russian accent: “Louie, you need to shoot, shoot, drink a little, and shoot more. Then drink more for celebrating shooting.” I did. And they guided me with the kind of quality advice and criticism that can only come from decades of experience.
Knowing when to stow your ego is as important as invoking it in the first place. Without the humility from my desperate realization that I was tanking my first big journalism assignment, my career would have taken a much different path, and I would probably be writing about the multiple backdrops offered at the Sears portrait studios. As it turned out, I went on to shoot journalism for another two years. Enough time to augment my ego and gain the confidence to con my way back into the fashion industry.