Someone is listening.

If you have kids, you know what it’s like to feel like you’re talking to a brick wall.  If you’re a writer or blogger, it’s that only worse at times; you can’t even see who you’re talking to, let alone knowing if your words are actually being received and considered.

Sound familiar?  Let me share this letter I received a few days ago.  (An actual, physical, hand-written, honest-to-God old-fashioned letter!)

Cheryl,

I hope this letter finds you well.  I’m writing because I recently came across an article you wrote featured on JPGMAG.com, “My Advice For Aspiring Photographers.” 

I read your article and was really inspired.  I went on to listen to an interview or two and poured over your work.

I really love your work, but more importantly, your approach and confidence.

After a lot of thought, support from my partner, and your article — I was inspired enough to leave my job.  I’m now, finally, making a go at photography full time.

I’m struggling in a huge way, not really booking work…having a hard time really finding my voice and the confidence to let it be heard.  But I really wanted to express my gratitude to you for helping to motivate me to really look inside myself and see my dreams into fruition.

I see people like you, whose work I really and truly respect, and it gives me faith.

I noticed you do portfolio reviews and workshops.  I hope, one day, to be able to take part!  I’m always excited by other photographers, like myself, who find their voice through film.  So… I found this film in my freezer and thought you might enjoy.

From what I recall, you prefer TXP 320 in 220 size.  My camera doesn’t support 220 (old Yashica D at the moment) so it only seems right to pass it along to an amazing photographer that will put it to good use!

Let me know if you ever find a new combo that looks as damn good as the 320 does…man, the tonality is just PERFECT.

(sigh)

Warm regards,

Drew Pearson

Well, needless to say, receiving that letter (and three Holy Grail rolls of extinct Tri-X 320) was an incredible kick in the pants for me.  That is exactly why I teach, why I write, and mostly, why I preach to anyone who will listen, the value of being your own perfectly imperfect honest artistic self.  There are faster, easier, cheaper ways to make money in this industry, but if you lose yourself along the way, the art is suffocated.  There is beauty and value in what you do.  Believe it, trust it, and help others see it.  That’s what makes you an artist, and not a picture taker.

Someone is listening.  How cool is that?

Image

4 thoughts on “Someone is listening.

  1. CJ you are always such a rational, thoughtful, eloquent writer and source of encouragement on the CM forum. Thank you for sharing this and for all the other lightbulb moments i’m sure your writing elicits. (BTW, the photo at the bottom of your post is one of my all-time favourites!)

  2. Are you kidding, YES, we’re listening – you’ve inspired me since I first saw your work in the ‘Black and White Photography’ magazine (Dec 2004) and then did a ‘soulful portraiture’ workshop with you in the UK. You inspired my own style of “simple, soulful, sensational” children’s photography and your words, images (and music) continue to inspire every day. YOU ROCK, thank you!

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