Sometimes I forget how hard it must be for young photographers and artists who face the challenges of today’s modern world.

I was recently compelled to post a comment on a blog buddy’s website. I saw a comment that gave advice on this stuff that seemed to come from a different culture. Maybe I’m just lucky to still be able to work at what I love, or maybe I’m just an old white guy…

Here’s what I wrote. Maybe it will help somebody somewhere.

“Simplify, simplify, simplify. And learn how to say no.”

“It’s a huge help that I’ve been blessed to do what I really love for a living. Great wife and no commute. If I weren’t passionate about everything I do (I work 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week), I would have given up years ago.”

“Not getting any easier though. Working more for less is something that I’ve adjusted to like many artists. I keep telling myself that when the economy recovers I’ll be well positioned to take advantage of it…”

“I try to take one day off a month and do nothing, and I mean nothing. Maybe stare at the ocean is all. It helps. Hope this helps too. Hang in there.”

“Whatever you do, please don’t do anything half-assed. I don’t get that philosophy. If you feel like you have to slack off at something, you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

“Sometimes you need to just do nothing. Choosing to do nothing is a long way from simply going through the motions.”

Please remember to approach life as if everything matters (because it does). Once you find your life purpose, do everything you can to align yourself with the best people and projects that fit into that. Don’t worry about making mistakes along the way. There are none.

By eliminating the unimportant stuff, you can approach what’s left with full commitment. Do everything the best you can. From opening a door to organizing a complex photo shoot. You only have The Now to think about. There is no tomorrow and no yesterday. Life’s a journey that’s best approached one step at a time. (Zen lecture over)

I used to teach a workshop called The Poetic Element in Photography. These are the books I referenced:

Art & Fear – Boyles/Orland
Artists on Art – Goldwater
The Artist’s Way – Cameron
As Above So Below – Miller
The Business of Being an Artist – Grant
The Courage To Create – May
A Creative Companion – Sark
Drama of the Gifted Child -Miller
Escaping the Prison of the Intellect – Chopra
Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway – Jeffers
Free Play – Nachmanovitch
I Become Part Of It – Jordan-Smith
A Joseph Campbell Companion- Osbon
Listening To Nature – Cornell
Love Is Letting Go of Fear -Jampolsky
No More Secondhand Art – London
No Ordinary Moments – Millman
On Creativity – Moore
Color Photography – Haas -check out the philosophy section of his website:

(Photograph: Andrea Wells)

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