Summer School Lessons

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I attended Skip’s Summer School this week with over 100 other aspiring photographers in Chicago.  The atmosphere crafted by Skip Cohen and his incredible instructors electrified the place for four days.  I was starstruck when I sat next to Scott Bourne, talked to Clay Blackmore, took classes from Tony Corbell and Roberto Valenzuela, saw Jerry Ghonis, and enjoyed the company of Levi Sim to mention a few of the many incredible pros there!  If you do not know these folks you should.   They are incredible talents and even better people.  They took the time out of their schedules (for very little monetary payback) to help people like me discover what it will take both in business and in skills to survive as a photographer.  The passion they shared lit the school like a four alarm fire.

I am forming my business plan now, with the help of my lovely bride, thanks to lessons taught there at Skips’s.  These baby steps will allow me to grow over the next year in confidence that I can pursue this dream (and still feed the six of us).  It feels good to be taking constructive steps forward.

On the photographic side here are two photos I’m sharing from the ride home Thursday with my son.  Both were taken in Vincennes, Indiana.  One is a standard touristy type photo of the George Rogers Clark statue at his Revolutionary War Western Victory Memorial.  It says. “I was there!”  It is an ordinary photo of an extraordinary thing.  The second photo uses some lessons I picked up from Tony Corbell and Roberto Valenzuela.  Note the drama in the lighting.  The tension between the shadow and light makes it a better keepsake.  The pose and sharp contrast also help you see the power and strength of the man it represents.  It provides the onlooker an vision of a bold man who captured Fort Sackville during the high water mark of the winter floods while cut off from all supply and reinforcement.  That photo says, “I was there and the achievements of this man’s small 130 man army in defeating a 300 man fortified army are legendary!”  (Do read the story of this man and his army!  Take that from me Mr. Bachelors of Science in Military History at West Point)

The motto of all this is to take every lesson you can into your heart.  Put those lessons into passionate practice both in business and skill execution every day.  Doing so builds businesses, nations and legacies worth remembering by our children.