I am so excited to share a story I want to take my time to build up to the moment. Ready?
"That's no toy!"
I grew up with a father who was passionate for street and travel photography. I was so amazed by my dad's reflex I really wanted to try one. But my daddy, maybe out of fear of breaking it, never let me close to any. He instead gave me an underwater compact film camera. Later, after putting enough pocket money away and tutoring some kids in school in different subjects I managed to get me a Yashica! I believe it to be one of the hardest cameras to handle because it was completely manual. So I had to learn photography the hard way I guess. With no or very little guidance.
"Secrets photographers don't share"
In my career as a photographer I have met many others in the business. Being naive and sharing all I had expecting the same paid off. It hardened my skin and thickened my hyde. Yes double. All the "pros" I met who promised mountains of gold only offered one bad grainy filter coffee. No milk. No sugar. They never shared any information or insights. Just kept me along for the ride until they felt they needed me. So I continued my journey trying not to be so naive and losing all hope to find a mentor.
"Now photographers are opening up"
Zingst. Yes I know I said it before and I'll say it again. This place changed my life. Because that is where I met my mentor and friend Steve Thornton. The first time I assisted him was for a week in Milan. And I have learned more in those seven days that I have in the past 20 years. Including my two years at a British University in London studying Photography. And I knew I only scratched the tip of the iceberg.
Along the way I met other interesting and amazing photographers. But none like him. But something was happening in the photo business. People are opening up to others.
"Pride and arrogance keep ears shut"
With youtube and internet in general information has never traveled so fast. Learning anything has become so easy and accessible. Although this has also made the market a lot more competitive in a way, most of these emerging photographers have one defect in common: pride and arrogance. They are the visual artist and their vision shall not be tampered with. In other words they enter the room and they aren't able to listen to others. Either it's advice, an idea or criticism.
"Humility opens a whole new perspective"
Successful photographers are those who would talk to people as if they were their peers and not below them just because they were practically making nothing to build a set (Source: Keanu Reeves True Tragic Story). And during a wedding or whatever photoshoot, the guest are the ones who are standing where they are and have seen something you might have definitely missed. Maybe it was nothing, but how do you know if you don't investigate?
Most importantly: be thankful. Let them know how their small act of kindness helped you create a masterpiece.