I never wanted to be the wind. The sun! I wanted to be the sun! The wind is chaotic, mixing things up, knocking things down, inducing haphazardly energy. The ballet teacher saw my gangly arms and the way my small feet had not caught up with the four inches I had grown in 7th grade and she had no choice but to hand me a long scarf and tell me to allegro my way through the piece how ever it moved me. So I flailed my arms over head and made fast unplanned steps around the the sun dancer. She was elegant and methodical. The sun dancer was steady, stable and centering. My brisk rumpus movement mirrored my soul and perhaps set the tone for the road map to my life. I was not the sun, I was never going to be the sun…I was the wind; I was born to move and mix things up…to live in a frenzy, to bring joy-filled furor and passion to those I life-dance with.
My feet never grew to match my body. They are still small, my arms are still gangly, and I still don a scarf more often that not. However, there is one major change…my life dance now involves a most essential tool, a camera!
I have traded in my ballet shoes for lenses and photogenic merriment. And as I cheerfully allegro around wedding couples and spiritedly picture shuffle with families, I am reminded of the time in my young life I was earmarked to be the wind. And I am thankful that I have learned to lean into this role.
But what is the wind without the sun…without the day, without the night, without the rain? And this is true in photography as well and in life, in fact. This year marks my 10th year as a professional photographer. Photography can be a lonely and proprietary field. Often plagued by isolation, photographers want to protect the work they create, the clients relationships they have, and any successful “business secrets” they have procured along the way. Focusing perhaps on a feeling of scarcity, professional photographers tend to not share.
Photographers lack of authentic friendly collaboration is understandable; often biding against one another for jobs, competing for referrals from the same venue, and fishing from the same small photographic client pond leads to a perceived dearth of opportunities. But I am the wind, I believe in mixing things up and knocking things down. This year I started a club called PWANA (Photographers Who Are Not A**holes). I know that the wind needs the sun and the sun needs the wind and a candle looses nothing by lighting another candle. I know that the more we share the more we have and that we can focus on joy together and not on scarcity. So we created a tribe and it is a community of gratitude and abundance and learning.
The wind needs the sun. Sonja, the photographer, is my sun. She is grounded and steady, not easily rattled, and understands all things linear. She teaches me about business taxes and new apps. Ian, the photographer, is the day. He is a adaptable, mobile, adventurous, silly. He teaches me a different photography perspective, brings me newness and an art-fill eye. Chris, my intern, reminds me that when teaching others we teach ourselves. Kelvin, the photographer, has insight, contacts, stories, and technical skills. We don’t compete, we share, we debate and listen and laugh, roll our eyes at each other and hug when we say hello and good bye.
We need this photography community, this friendship, and most importantly the inspiration that comes from collaboration. Inspiration attracts abundance and thusly the very thing photographers fear they will loose, prosperity, is actually gained in the embrace of connectedness. Connectedness as an attitude and an essential business scaffolding that supports us all and carries us all to success and business abundance.
Isolation is not a healthy human condition. In fact it is understood that ideas that are born in isolation are also lost in isolation with out a garden of community to plant them to grow and take shape. Tom Wagner says, “Isolation is the enemy of improvement.” When we work together more is learned, more is gained, more blossoms. When we share, we are shared with. When we support others, we are supported. We lean into others, they lean back to us. The wind needs the sun to shine light on insights and ideas. And the sun needs the wind to move notions and drive movement. Together we grow. As a lone professional photographer your craft may be well tuned and exquisite and I assure you… you are certainly enough alone….AND together we are a bouquet: bright, happy, communing and blooming in possibility. Together is better.