My success is not my success [this is my should-be-censored oscar speech]

   I am not responsible for my success. That’s something that I need to remember. Always, but now even more, as 9art is at a place it’s never been before, on the brink of something bigger.

[In case I forgot to tell you, the blog is where I get a little more personal. You can totally leave now if you just wanted more pictures. Seriously… I’m not offended].

My success comes back, first and foremost, to God. 

If ever I question why I’m here, doing what I’m doing, in the place that I’m doing it, I can always remember that I was PLACED here, very clearly.  

I remember someone handing me a camera in my journalism class in college, so that I could take a picture to go with the article I was writing. My response was something along the lines of ‘aw man, can’t you send the photographer out? I just want to write the article!’

Yep. I was led to that camera. I was also led when my first photography teacher Cyndi Cox told me she thought I had an eye; when my next photography teacher Lori told me she thought I was good enough to shoot a wedding that she couldn’t cover; and years later, the day I put in my two weeks at Starbucks and wondered if I was being an idiot for trying to go full time- then I landed a huge (for then) job the next day and knew that was the sign I needed to say that yes, this IS what I’m supposed to do.

Anytime I have faith issues, I can remember two things in my life that are always undeniable signs that my life is being orchestrated by someone greater than me: finding my wife and pursuing a career in photography. That first story is actually much more interesting (let’s just say it involves waffle house & online dating), but we’ll save it for another time.

That brings me to my last thought… my success is also only success because of other people in my life. That first one is, of course my wife- who has stood by me through every doubtful moment I’ve had and given me her faith that yes, I could (and should) do this.

So many others. Those early photography teachers. The early clients who saw something in me before anyone else did and made sure to tell everyone they possibly could about this new photographer they’d found. (you guys are still my clients, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you). The new clients who encourage me with a fresh look at my work. The other local photographers, both aspiring & professional, who have such a great spirit of friendship rather than that of competition. The  friends I’ve made in the last few years that helped me make Joplin my home. The creatives I know who constantly brainstorm with me and show me how to be a better photographer and a better businessman.  The folks who’ve helped me get connected. And most recently, Michelle- the employee who is cranking out work for me so I don’t have to be a one-man-show anymore. (thanks for putting up with my daily ranting and all the times I’ve thrown hot coffee in your face because you didn’t make it right.)

The point is, I’ve done nothing alone. No-one is immune from developing an ego. So always remind me that my success… is not my success.

Love you all. If you read all this, love you even more. 

Next post is more pictures, I swear.

PS… one last thanks [as they’re dragging me off stage]… all the folks that have assisted me on shoots lately, w/out even getting paid for it. The barker boys, Natalie, Alison, Matt & Amber, and anyone else who has ever held my huge ugly umbrella in the face of a windstorm… you’re awesome. I’m devoting a picture gallery to you all, very soon.


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