On Teachable Moments and Lifetimes ~

Last Sunday I taught a studio lighting and portrait workshop, and as I hope this image shows, we met with a certain degree of success.  I love doing workshops. I love to see these photographers discovering anew some of the alchemy I've been practicing for a long time. And as things often do at my age, it put me a frame of mind to reflect back on the many teachers who goaded, prodded, yelled at, suffered through, and inspired me to get to this most satisfactory point in my life.

Inspire. The word comes to us (of course) from Latin, by way of Middle English, and means, simply, to breath; it creates in us that spark of creativity. This is appropriate. The best photographers who were my teachers gave me this life, and at this point I know of no other way to live or, for that matter, to actually even see. (Plus, in a roundabout way through the Gaelic word for breath, we also end up with the word whiskey, and I'm not about to go judging the wisdom of the ancients.)

I have been mentored and inspired by some pretty incredible people over the years, photographers both well-known and quietly anonymous; artists and philosophers, poets and painters, free thinkers of all stripes, and more than the occasional crank. I love them all, and hope I reflect at least a little glow from each of them. And I hope I do them proud by challenging myself to go even further into new territories that were beyond their horizons. It's supposed to be that way, you know. Michelangelo himself said that the student who fails to surpass his master, fails his master.

Well then, I better get busy. I still have a lifetime of learning ahead of me before I can achieve that lofty goal.

Maybe I'll start with a little sip of some single-malt inspiration.