The last couple of days I’ve caught much of the online feed of the live photography class that Zack Arias has been doing at creativeLIVE which is a pretty sweet set-up. I’ve never seen a live seminar online before so that’s impressive and even more so since it’s free. And given and the fact they even went outside and did some shots on a roof in Seattle (and answered Twitter questions live) is technologically crazy to pull off.
And Aries is one of those teachers that I imagine would be enjoyable to listen to no matter what subject he was speaking about. In the Robert Rodriguez sense he is not only both technical and creative, but also an excellent communicator as well. One of the things that really jumped out at me while he was teaching—that fits what I write about here— is when he spoke about getting into photography in the old era when film ruled photography.
Back then the traditional path was go to photo school, art school, or a 4-year college, then work as an assistant, maybe get a gig at a lab, and take any photo related job you can and work your way up. That’s the context that Aries said, “The Path is gone.” Gone my be a little strong, but the path is certainly less traveled today—and the weeds continue grow over it. And for what it’s worth, that which was true in photography is also true to some extent in the film & video industry. Though Hollywood features, due to unions, still hold on to the old path, but outside of Hollywood I think that path has faded to a large extent.
But I remember being in film school and applying for a job at a production company in LA and even though I had made 8mm and 16mm films, and had worked as a photographer, the guy I interviewed with looked at my resume and told me, “Son, it’ll be ten years before you have anything to bring to this company.” Ouch. A talented 21-22 year old today has the opportunity to walk his or her own path like never before.
And it seems like at least a couple of times a month you hear stories of filmmakers who are finding success walking down their own path. On the photography side Joey L. is just 21-years-old and not only shot the Twilight movie poster when he was 18, but has shot assignments for Forbes, Warner Bros. Records, and various projects around the world.
To see just what a different game it is these days check out the David Hobby’s interview of Joey L way back when Joey was just 17-years-old. (After doing photography for about a year.) And just to top if off Joey L also has his own DVD photography and Photoshop tutorials and workshops. (And all that success before most of his childhood classmates have even graduated from college. Did I just hear someone yell out, “That’s not fair”? )
P.S.— Another quote from Arias that was interesting was— “There are great photographers who can’t pay their bills.” There is a business side to photography and filmmaking which is often the Achilles’ heel of creatives. You don’t do the things that Edward Burns is doing or make a film like Winter’s Bone—or run a photo studio—without having a sense of business, and/or surrounding yourself with people with a good sense of business. (On May 1, 2011 Arias will be covering his business practices of his studio—and the little talked about subject of how creatives can balance life and work— on the third day of his free online workshop. Go to creativeLive and click on “live” in the top left corner of the screen. )
P.P.S.—I’m not sure if golfers or photographers are the biggest suckers for buying gadgets to improve their game, but Aries did reveal one on his online shoot that I’ve never seen before called the Saberstrip that if I could buy stock in I would. It’s a Star Wars looking device that is a soft light modifier for small flashes. They might be hard to get through security, or be a little awkward to use if you shoot weddings, but if you’re solo shooting a model on a windy rooftop in Seattle it’s a useful tool that creates a nice look.