A.K.A. – Shut Up.
I know, how rude, right? Doesn’t that kind of contradict what I’m preaching? In a sense, yes… but let me elaborate.
First off, what does humble mean? I personally believe that humble means to not think highly of oneself. In photography we should be proud of our achievements, and since we also have to factor in marketing ourselves, there is a time where we have to do this publicly.
I think to be ‘humble’ in our industry is more so how much we stay grounded to where we came from and how we started. It is showing our achievements in moderation and discernment. I can agree that sometimes we just get excited and we feel like we just have to share every single highlight that makes us jump up and down and want to pop champagne bottles… but let’s face it. We have, in most people’s opinion, the best job ever. It’s cool! We get to travel, take pictures, see new lands and discover new things and try new techniques. It’s what we do. It’s what we are passionate about. It’s our job. Exciting things are going to happen!
We, as photographers, tend to set goals for ourselves as we progress in knowledge with each passing year. You know, the same ones every one sets…. Iceland, Ireland, elopements in Yosemite National Park, elopements in mountains in foggy weather, elopements in caves, throw New Zealand in there and #waterfallsdammit, too. Elopements are popular, can’t ya tell?
If you’re part of a photography community, most of us are, you’ll see that this is common. It’s fantasized about by some, myself included, and accomplished by, actually, more than you think. It’s crazy. It’s magical. It’s everything everyone wants. It’s achievable! It just may take some extra work. When did a little extra hard work ever NOT do something for someone? Does it require a celebration when it happens to someone? This awesome experience and opportunity to explore new lands and document something you only thought existed in films? Uh heck yeah! DUH. Who wouldn’t be ridiculously stoked?! But… I have also seen where certain achievements have maybe sunk a little too deep in the happy tank and it makes the whole opportunity seem almost, “shoved down your throat”, you know? It starts to suck the fun out of the actual experience. And your genuine excitement for them just fades. You’re left with, basically, feeling like, just, “shut up!”
It’s hard to stay humble though, when you just feel like you’re in the limelight. Everyone has their own accomplishments, their own goals that help them take initiative to progress. It’s one of the coolest things about our job. We are always learning. Always growing. Always striving. Humility is where your reputation lies. I saw from a good friend of mine, a status that she shared on Facebook the other day that really hit the nail on the head… “I’d rather be approachable than untouchable. If inspiring others meant I’d lose the ability to be relatable with others, I’d forfeit my influence. People matter more than a pedestal.”
Touch lives. Leave legacies. Inspire others.
“True humility is staying teachable regardless of how much you know”
Shut up. Be humble.