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Heads-up – we had some technical issues with Skype this week so the show is a bit rough in places. Close your eyes and it will soon pass.
Generalist vs. Specialist
It’s a common position taken by new photographers – the idea that you can shoot pretty much anything. From family portraits in the park to “fine art” to landscapes to urban to flowers… It’s understandable that we all want to highlight everything we are capable of doing but, on today’s show, we look at whether that can actually harm our photography instead of helping. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about running a business or just developing our skills – being (and remaining) a generalist will only let you get so far. You’d be surprised at how fast you hit that wall.
By now, you should us well enough to guess that all three of us are firmly on the side of the specialist. Look, we’ve all been there – Rob’s first foray into charging money and being a “pro” had him list at least four different areas of photography he could shoot. Rick did the same thing. It didn’t serve either of us well and we try to argue that it won’t serve you, either.
So stop it!
Rob chose Eddie Soloway, a photographer he stumbled across and whose work all three of us were immediately attracted to. Eddie’s work with color and concept is a perfect example of
why becoming a specialist in an area is so important. Look through his various collections and you’ll quickly realize that such a body of work could never have been created by someone who “dabbled” and remained a generalist.
Tony, again, goes outside of the box to find our artist and chooses Heston Blumenthal. Yup, the famous chef. Rick (if you didn’t know) is a classically trained chef and he’s all over this one. We all love Blumenthal’s work and it shows. Fuck, now I’m hungry.
Just a couple of things:
Remember, October 2 is PI-Con and it’s coming up soon.
Buy some PI swag (like the “Wine Stein”) from our CafePress store and help us keep the show going.
What does it mean to be a professional photographer? A ninety minute show later, and we’re still not sure. Granted, we’ ve been drinking (again/still) and it’s possible that that has affected our judgment. Still, we go into a pretty animated conversation around the variety of factors that qualifies a person as a “professional”. Oh, and Rick really, really, really hates pictures of flowers!
A quick head’s up: due to some Skype issues, the first few moments are a bit rough with some short bursts of intermittent static. Give it five minutes or so and it goes away. Did we mention we’re on Stitcher?
How a Professional Behaves…
All three of us have opinions on what separates the professional from the amateur. Tony thinks it has to do with a person’s ability to tell a story. Rick and Rob believe it has to do with behavior. And not just the public behavior in front of clients or the public, but also keeping separate records and accounts, approach to clients, and the ability to consistently get the shot under virtually any condition.
We’re still not sure what constitutes being a professional photographer but, perhaps, we can define it by what it is not. It’s not about taking a half-assed approach. It’s not being a “wedding photographer” who shoots one or two weddings for a couple of hundred bucks. It’s not calling yourself a professional because you dropped ten bucks on a domain name. But are you a professional photographer just because others label you that way?
Maybe it’s a combination of all that – regardless of being full- or part-time, being a professional is about running your business as a business, maintaining and expanding your skills and abilities, learning that it’s okay to fail as long as you pick yourself up, and being able to consistently provide your target audience with what they expect, and knowing why it’s important – and how – to capture the image properly in-camera. It’s all that… and more.
Oh yea, there’s no such thing as a “semi professional”: get over it.
Our photographer today is a personal favorite of Rob’s, John Shaw. Specifically, we look at his gallery from Ireland. It’s a tough task to photograph a subject that has preconceived ideas for so many people. None of the guys have been to Ireland but we each have images in our mind’s eye about a land with a rich history in spirituality, mysticism, music, and ancient magic. As a photographer, it is a challenge to shoot something that so many people already have an opinion about but John is successful.
The artist today is Darwyne Cooke, author of graphic novels. We look specifically at his novel, The Hunter. (Click here to see a preview of the novel). As you leaf through the pages, look at the ability to convey emotion and story through light and shadow.
You Get the Last Word on Being a Professional
What do you guys think? Are we right? Are we wrong? Should we try the topic again when we’re sober (yeah, good luck with that). And is wedding photography like sex?
Why do we shoot? There are so many reasons: from helping to overcome tough times to being inspired by others to ‘just because’. In today’s episode (#10 – yay us!!) we share what has brought each of us to this point in our photographic and artistic lives.
We’ll be honest, at times we may ramble a bit and, quite frankly, today’s episode probably raises more questions for us than it answers so we’ve decided that this is our “lost episode.” Have you been wondering why Rob is drawn to his exploration of figure studies and minimalism? Why does Tony focus so much on alternative print processes? Great questions and this is the episode where you get to start learning about us.
Thanks to everyone who has already become a loyal listener of our show – we really appreciate.
Oh, and a note to our listeners, don’t forget to join our Flickr group, follow Rob, Tony, and the show on Twitter, and if you are a woman with a background in dance or yoga and would like to work with Rob on some of his work in the studio, drop us a line.
Oh, and we finally start to show TAI some love.
Liam from the Isle of Man drops by to hang out with us this week to discuss a topic that haunts everyone: self-doubt. Topics include planning the next five years, overcoming doubt, and not charging enough. Just cash the fucking check and deal with it!
Today’s featured photographer is John Hyde and the featured artist are the Beatles. No link for the Beatles because if you need a link for them, you shouldn’t be using a computer.
BTW, check out Liam’s podcast, Uttabull.