Thursday, May 05, 2011

Business Day Thursday: The Gift of Impossibility

Good Morning Everybody,

OMG – I can’t believe the start time today – 7:00 a.m.  and I’ve got to get the blog posted!  Situation:  Too much fun at Texas School, too little time to blog ;~)  All joking aside, we really do have a very early wake up call this morning.  We wrapped our shooting yesterday and then it was off to the wild and wooly trade show being held from 4:30-10:00 p.m. at the Intercontinental Hotel. Yes, free wine and beer was available until 10:00 p.m.  This is like the 3rd largest photographic trade show in the country!  We were back to the room by 10:30 p.m. and I worked on class images till 11:30 p.m. Whew – a pretty long day. Did I mention that I have the most amazing class of students? Enthusiastic, open to seeing and learning and they have been a real joy to LaDawn and I this week.

Thankfully, my Ace #1 Assistant, Nicholas Viltrakis, has come to my rescue today. Nicholas is not only my Ace #1 wedding assistant but also my second shooter.

He had just wrapped a post over at his blog and offered it for me to post as well.  Since it speaks to what I’ve been talking about this week in my class, I decided to take him up on his offer.  I love the title of his post – “The Gift Of Impossibility.”  How about I turn it over to Nickolas and let him tell you the story.  Here we go…

The “Gift of Impossibility” or Failure is not an Option

I decided to get a portrait of my ladies before they scampered off to Grandma and Grandpa B's this morning no matter what! Rain, sleet, stormy weather would not deter this photographer.

OK, there was no actual rain in this image - it's all Photoshop, stop sending me hate mail! But anyway the situation still got me thinking!  What happens if it was really raining and I really wanted to get a great image. What would I do?

Failure is not an option, whatever you call it, it's a mindset really that can make ordinary people perform extraordinary actions. In psychology it is described as follows: "Volition or will is the cognitive process by which an individual decides on and commits to a particular course of action." And over the course of my career in various situations I have felt like failure wasn't an option, but only in a few situations would the consequences have been bad enough for me to commit to prevailing at all costs.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned in volition happened to me early in my career working for David Ziser. A man of impenetrable will himself, I was photographing a wedding reception with Mr. Z, shooting the under appreciated "table shots."

There were well over 300 people at the wedding, all seated and eating dinner, some on the balcony of the great Hall of Mirrors in downtown Cincinnati. There were 40 tables or so 8 or 10 to a table. Since there were so many people I photographed the hard to reach places and as much else as I could so Mr. Ziser could focus on the key tables. Just as I had finished about half of the room David asked to see the camera. The result?

And I'll quote, "These are all too close, go shoot them again.”

Now keep in mind I've just interrupted about 180 or so people from a tasty open bar dinner among friends. Now I have to go do it again. That s@#ks! (Plus now I have to do it before they get up and go mingle. And not just the tables again, everybody has to be there!)

This, my friends, is where the concept of volition pops back into my mind. Well ok, Here we go camera. No choice. *sigh* I couldn't fail again, I'd look like a real jerk then, so I made up my mind to do whatever it took and be as persistent as possible to get the job finished.

Jokes, charm, telling them a magazine wanted a copy after they saw the first one, apologizing profusely, whatever I had to do. It's an interesting feeling that changes (in my head, at least) when there is no impossibility. If it can't "not be," then there must be a way of doing it. If I don't have the option of saying no, all I have to think about is how I can get YES to happen. :) It can be very liberating.

(get ready for my upcoming rain tutorial)

The idea goes... if this is just a mindset then why can't you just treat more situations with a "can't fail" attitude? The Volition wiki page further goes on to say: "Volitional processes can be applied consciously, and they can be automatized as habits over time."

Wouldn't that be nice?! Habituate yourself to a Can do / failure is not an option mentality! Here's the loving portrait we ended up with today just before my lovely ladies went to visit family.

Stop thinking of excuses and think of options. Harder said than done I'm afraid, but it can be done! I'm also not saying that you should apply this strategy to all situations, clearly "Grizzly Man" didn't have it right.

Just something to think about.

(No babies were harmed in the "filming" of this. I just needed an image for effect. :)

p.s.  Reposted with permission from Nicholas’s blog right here.

You can also check out Nicholas’s regular website right here.

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Hey gang, that’s it for me.  We’ve been up since 6:00 a.m. and we shoot till 9:00 p.m. this evening – it’s going to be a long day.  I hope to back tomorrow with at least an Image of the Day post.  Have a great one and I’ll see you then.

Adios, David

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