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Originally Posted: 09/22/2020

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.

So, back to the photographers. Being honest…didn’t really know about this guy before I started noodling all of this together. What the hey, there’s only an average billions of things I don’t know about everything I know a little about, so why not delve into something new. This dude’s shots had me long before I knew anything about him. He’s got the ability to tell you a frightful lot from his trigger pulls which is what photography can aspire to be. His desaturated images have the ability to stun, to haunt, even to change the way you think. Look up the pictures he took at gold mines in Brazil and see if you don’t feel differently about that ring on your finger or in your ear. Some of the things he talks about related to his work include his mentors and what mentors should be, that your efforts should lead to moving people toward something better, his dedication to staying at a location until he becomes part of it so he gets an image close to reality instead of an awkward smile because that weird stranger is pointing a camera at me, and how he feels about his subjects. Some of that is below…

“When I was just starting out, I met Cartier-Bresson. He wasn’t young in age but, in his mind, he was the youngest person I’d ever met. He told me it was necessary to trust my instincts, be inside my work, and set aside my ego. In the end, my photography turned out very different to his, but I believe we were coming from the same place.”
Sebastião Salgado

“I don’t want anyone to appreciate the light or the palette of tones. I want my pictures to inform, to provoke discussion – and to raise money.”
Sebastião Salgado

“The picture is not made by the photographer, the picture is more good or less good in function of the relationship that you have with the people you photograph.”
Sebastião Salgado

“There are moments that you suffer a lot, moments you won’t photograph. There are some people you like better than others. But you give, you receive, you cherish, you are there. When you are really there, you know when you see the picture later what you are seeing.”
Sebastião Salgado

“It is more important for a photographer to have very good shoes than to have a very good camera.”
Sebastião Salgado

What I take away from Mr. Salgado is that to make a real difference…to stand out,

  • sometimes you have to slow your roll, allow people to find out who you are, why you do this, to become comfortable on their own schedule with you, before you try to capture their essence or try to help them make significant changes in life
  • to find mentors or be a mentor who really loves what they do and encourages and supports others to use their own gifts to be good enough to love what they do every bit as much or more
  • that I may like some clients more naturally than others (come on, even parents/teachers know that is true about their kids/students) but that does not make anyone’s story or life or growth more or less valuable or important…I am not the arbiter of any of that…and sometimes when you see the picture at the end…you see what you had missed in the moment
  • to maintain hope that what we do in a small room far away from others may very well at some point change more people than we will ever realize, if we do it well enough and…
  • it’s all about that other person and how who you are interacts with who they are, and it’s my job to puzzle that together in the most effective way possible.

Find out more about Sebastião and see his work here, you really should:

Or here:ão-salgado?all/all/all/all/0

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