I received a present at Christmas, a book, The Humans of New York. Its by a chap chilled Brandon Stanton. I admire Brandon. The first few pages of this book explain why, here, I paraphrase but the gist is correct: Way before his book was published Brandon was bond trader in Chicago. In July 2010 Brandon lost his job.
At this juncture, he decided to become a photographer. He’d had zero training, he didn’t know anything about photography.
Brandon was bored of trading primarily because he wasn’t satisfied worrying about trading which is really worrying about money. After two years of worrying he had nothing to show for it. Brandon wanted to do work he valued just as much as the reward i.e.: Do something he loved. So, of he went to New York and started photographing.
This was back in 2010, to cut a long story short, he started a blog which became very, very successful. Why? because people shared it a lot. Why? because the photographs were captivating. Why? I suppose because Brandon was good but he worked hard from what I read. He practiced and practiced and practiced. In essence, he created great product and that led to a bigger and bigger audience. There is a lesson in that tale.
Due to the success of the blog Brandon was able to publish this book (which I recommend by the way). I like this tale for a number of reasons:
- He gave up what I am sure was a well paid job to do something he had an interest in
- He worked hard at the new venture regardless of salary
- He kept at it, he was persistent and tenacious
- I like the fact creativity won over cold cash
- He overcame the odds and by my yard stick is a success
- He changed his life
Last Sunday (24th Jan) I met a friend of a friend who is also a photographer. Like Brandon, he has followed his dream. By his own admission the money isn’t great but he loves it. It’s his pleasure and living. Through his work he’s travelled the world, been featured in the national portrait gallery and worked with many artists. Success I have so much admiration for. (you can find him on Instagram: neverseenthelight)
I’ve talked about some of these themes before, experience before cash, following instinct, making the jump etc… everywhere I look I see more tales of those who’ve taken a step off the familiar path to something untrodden. It’s brave and exciting (at least for me!). I very much like the notion that creativity is in all of us,the problem is most of us (including me) are tied to a salary. The bond is strong and very, very difficult to break.
But what if it was broken?