Sunday, December 12, 2010

Form and Function

Got a message recently regarding my age, talent, and backstory. I thought I'd share my response with you guys :)

May I ask how old you are? You look like a relatively young guy and that emboldens me to take more risks to get to a higher level. It restores my faith that people recognize talent more than they recognize age in this industry (at least if you're a photographer and not the model).

If you have time, I'd love to hear about how you've gotten to where you are now.

I'm 31. I'm very late in the game comparatively speaking. You young guys are coming in so much earlier. But I have my advantages :)

Here's my backstory.

It's been quite the journey. My blogger and flickr photostream (both linked on my MM account) are testament to that. That said, I'm still growing, arguably even faster than before. I have my own formula for personal growth that works for me. Sometimes I wish I would have started out younger but who knows if I would have persisted on this trail this far if I had?

The industry recognizes not talent so much but rather "who you are" and "who you know". Talent is rather secondary to knowing the right people. It's one of the things that make me most jaded about the industry. On the other hand it's good to know "things" aren't done via email/text but rather by person-to-person interactions. As a whole, the "industry" lags in its adoption of technology and therefore relies on basic forms of communication.

I guess it's a combination of form and function. Functionally (talent-wise) I'm not the best. If the industry were 100% talent driven I'd be out of work in a heartbeat because there are guys like you on the horizon! It's good to know that part of being a successful photographer has lots to do with marketing yourself (form). Fortunately for me, I don't ever get tired of talking about myself So luckily hacks like me still have a chance at making it in this field!



  1. Charles, I love it. This is a classic example of how wisdom trumps skill, I love it.

  2. I think I'd trade some wisdom for pure talent ;P

  3. Hello Charles,

    I think this is one of things young photographers just don't get. Photography is run like any other business, i.e. investments, overhead, marketing, etc. etc.

    A lot of starting photographers seem to think that wreaths will be laying at their feet once they throw their hat into the photography ring. What many aspiring photographers don't realize is that the number of photographers out there are legion and a great number of them are good. Really good. It takes a lot of work and focus to make a photography business go... just like any other business.

  4. If only it were as easy as making nice pictures! :)