If you read this intro before…skip to the blue below.
I had this idea in my head. Maybe put three pictures up in my office, each representing something important about what I do. Counseling reminder. A touchstone for the eye of sorts. Well, like I said, it was in my head and as I realized one of the three pictures I wasn’t going to be able to get, and the others were certainly copyrighted, the three sort of evolved as I looked for alternatives. So in looking for a different way to go, in my head, we went from three reminders to 96 reminders. It’s why my wife refers to what comes out of my noggin as ‘cumbersome’ on occasion.
So. I am mostly a counselor, but I have also studied and practiced a bunch of other things including cuisine and photography. I always wanted to have an idea why some folks in every field are wildly successful compared to many of their contemporaries, so I always checked a bunch of them out. So, here come 96 people and quotes attributed to them, if there are any – 24 chefs, 24 photographers, 20 people associated with psychology directly, and then 28 none of the above people whose lives or words remind me what to strive towards as a counselor, a counseling business owner, and a general human being. The only problem was stopping. There have been a lot of people who for one reason or another inspire me, lots more names on the potential list but it had to at least pause somewhere, so here we are.
I don’t rightly know if writing these out and posting them will be of any use to anyone else but I’m reasonably sure codifying the whole thing will drive it home for me and hopefully offer some encouragement and centering for our folks. Hope you get something out of one or two of them too.
I’m pretty certain I don’t need to do a lot to establish Eisenstaedt’s cred. He was hired at the inception of the little known magazine “Life”. Stayed, shooting there and for others for 40 years. 90 covers. Over 2500 photo stories published. And for most folks, you’ve probably seen his shot above before. Titled “VJ Day in Times Square” he recorded the only good part of war…the end. He captured history again and again.
Here are a few quotes attributed to him…
“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
“The important thing is not the camera but the eye.”
“People will never understand the patience a photographer requires to make a great photograph, all they see is the end result. I can stand in front of a leaf with a dew drop, or a rain drop, and stay there for ages just waiting for the right moment. Sure, people think I’m crazy, but who cares? I see more than they do!”
“I don’t use an exposure meter. My personal advice is: Spend the money you would put into such an instrument for film. Buy yards of film, miles of it. Buy all the film you can get your hands on. And then experiment with it.That is the only way to be successful in photography. Test, try, experiment, feel your way along. It is the experience, not technique, which counts in camera work first of all. If you get the feel of photography, you can take fifteen pictures while one of your opponents is trying out his exposure meter.”
“I enjoy traveling and recording far-away places and people with my camera. But I also find it wonderfully rewarding to see what I can discover outside my own window. You only need to study the scene with the eyes of a photographer.”
“It’s important to understand it’s OK to control the subject. If most editorial stories were photographed just as they are, editors would end up throwing most in the waste basket. You have to work hard at making an editorial picture. You need to re-stage things, rearrange things so that they work for the story, with truth and without lying.”
“In a photograph a person’s eyes tell much, sometimes they tell all.”
Certainly, Eisenstaedt’s quick and perceptive eye, his lack of judgment, his understanding of the person, the environment, and the story, all speak to me as both camera and counselor boy. It’s also cool to hear every now and then when something you had said or done echoes in someone’s history in a positive way like some of Eisenstaedt’s images. Usually it sounds like *@#! You Newman (Seinfeld intonation of Newman), you were in my head.
The thing that really makes Eisenstaedt stand out for me is his practice and reputation as a generalist. I hear all the time…”I only work with kids or couples”, “all of your photography work should look at least very similar”, “if you enter this program you have to agree to never apply to different programs.” I’m always amazed how often my uncounselory adventures connect with people in the office or applies to someone’s life or concern in a way my counselory stuff doesn’t. So let it be. Use all of you and what you’ve learned and experienced if it is meaningful or helpful to someone else. Let others limit themselves as they see fit. I’ve certainly got my own limitations, why would I not try to overcome them and plug into as much of anything helpful I’ve got? Why not learn something that might be unrelated…until it’s not. Follow as much of what interests you as you can manage, Thomas. It’s turned out alright.
All of that reminded me of a quote I read in James Clear’s weekly email.
Anthony de Mello calls you to find what grips your soul:
“You must cultivate activities that you love. You must discover work that you do, not for its utility, but for itself, whether it succeeds or not, whether you are praised for it or not, whether you are loved and rewarded for it or not, whether people know about it and are grateful to you for it or not. How many activities can you count in your life that you engage in simply because they delight you and grip your soul? Find them out, cultivate them, for they are your passport to freedom and to love.”
Learn more about Alfred Eisenstaedt here: