Still enjoying NYC
I’ve written about this before, nearly 18 months ago or so, but I feel the need to revisit it for myself from time to time because my thoughts are always changing.
These thoughts were dredged up again by Chris’s post about Jay Maisel. I’d never heard of the guy and in visiting his site and looking at his photos, it naturally brought up some questions.
First, after looking at some of his photos, I thought that I could have taken any of them myself. I’m sure that many people would look at my work and say that they could do the same thing and it’s true, they could. Continuing on down the thought path I read the myriad testimonials of his former students and was, to say the least, impressed by their impressions of his abilities as a teacher. I hope that this is not ego or hubris, but perhaps it is.
Many talked of life-changing experiences. Then, I looked at the price of the workshop, $5,000 for 5 days, all meals included. I’m not sure if it included lodging as he owns a complete bank building, so he has the room. The PDF said to expect 5 days full days of photography, 9 AM – 10 PM, which comes out to about 65 hours of photography, food, and lodging. Overall, it might not be a bad deal at all! Without question he is by all rights a successful and prolific photographer. Yet, I was unmoved. I cannot say why because I don’t know, but his photos just didn’t speak to me. Were I to take another workshop, I would rather it be with George DeWolfe.
Still, I go back to some of the reading that I do about discovering self and wonder how much can a teacher really teach you about being yourself, artistically. He can be the guide, I suppose, but to what extent? Certainly, I am not saying that I don’t have anything to learn, but these are thoughts that pop up from time to time. I think that I’ve mastered the technical part and am constantly on a journey to discover ‘self’ and what my own photography is about … I think that it is a moving target, sometimes, and I just shouldn’t worry about it.
Part of this goes back to thinking about an online class that I took about how to make money with your photography. I learned a few things about being critical of your own work and picking out strong pieces for your portfolio. These were valuable; however, I did start to move away from what the teacher thought when we wanted me to hype up the saturation and the WOW! factor. I guess that this was in line with making money because your stuff has to be commercially viable, I suppose and “WOW” sells.
Anyway, just more food for thought. In reading other people’s blogs, you never know how much you will start to question your own ideals, motivations, and beliefs.