Monday Blog Blog: Jeff Bridges On Widelux Photography, James Rhodes Death By Piano, Brent Bryson: Big Rocks First And Chris Guillebeau On The Creative Life
(See the photograph large: “Port Of Stockton, San Joaquin River, Great Central Valley, California.”)
Diverse ideas occasionally combine into surprising new thoughts that lead to innovation. A number of leading photographers as well as well known writers have said that to excel in any creative endeavor it is important to gather new ideas from nay disciplines. I would like to pass along a series of ideas I found in fairly rapid succession on Twitter. I tend to watch for synchronicity anyway and notice bizarre juxtapositions, at least for humor, if not for new fixes to old challenges.
(What in the world is Monday Blog Blog?” See the blog post: “Monday Blog Blog Celebration.”)
It is refreshing to hear actor Jeff Bridges talk about his own photography because neither his presentation nor his photography were affectations. He has been photographing a long time and doing it with a genuine, down-to-earth approach respectful of the medium. This is more than a great number of photographers today can claim about photography or celebrity actors can claim about much of anything besides acting. Take a look at this interesting video of Jeff Bridges Special Presentation at the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Awards via “A Photo Editor Blog.”
With the Jeff Bridges video in mind, read The Guardian’s Music Blog about concert pianist James Rhodes and his remarkably different way of looking at life and success. He describes living a completely obsessed and out of balance creative life… and loving it… but more importantly how freeing this perspective is. Says Rhodes, “My life as a concert pianist can be frustrating, lonely, demoralizing and exhausting. But is it worth it? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt.” How does this work for him? What is his secret? To find out read James Rhodes: Find What You Love And Let It Kill You.
Holding in your awareness both Jeff Bridges’ approach to photography and James Rhodes creative philosophy, read Brent Bryson’s blog post called, “Life Lessons.” The ideas expressed by Brent Bryson and the story he presents, can also be found a number of other places, including in various writings and speeches by Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Apparently since Covey and Bryson have not sued each other, the story must have originated somewhere else. Regardless, it is an important life lesson, one none of us can be reminded of too often.
To top off your conglomeration of important and unusual creative ideas, watch the long format lecture by Chris Gullebeau via Chase Jarvis’ Blog. Chase Jarvis introduces Chris Gullebeau by saying that they agreed the night before, “To have a nitty-gritty, no holds barred show where they would talk about things you aren’t supposed to talk about, talk about your struggles as you work and try to figure [the business of photography] out.” Chris Gullebeau is the national bestselling author of The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World as well as other books including The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. His genius lies in living the life he enjoys while writing bestselling books about it. Chase Jarvis travels over 150,000-200,000 miles a year, while Chris Gullebeau logs 200,000-300,000 miles a year. While I do not agree with or relate to this level of travel even for business, as it is not good for the planet, both of these young entrepreneurs set a fine example in many other ways. Besides, there are advantages to travel. In this video Gullebeau says it forces change. It forces an identity shift.
The first audience question Jarvis asks Gullebeau to address is, “How do you balance your creative lifestyle with responsibilities and paying bills?” Balance is a subject both men often hear questions about. While balancing our human activities with what is good for the earth and what keeps us in touch with nature is a healthy pursuit, the seeking of balance as an end in itself can be, well, imbalanced, just as Gullebeau points out. Gullebeau’s answer lines up well with some of the earlier references in this blog post:
I’ve never been interested in living a balanced life. I think balanced people don’t change the world, or really follow a dream. This doesn’t mean you don’t have responsibilities… sure you can have a family, but balance is like a made-up word invented by corporations to make their employees think they are happy. If you love your job that’s great, but I hear from a lot of dissatisfied people that write in from big companies saying they’re reading my blog from a cubicle and say, ‘I have this good job, health insurance, Yoga on Thursdays, but I’m not really fulfilled.’ How can you live a fulfilled life? Lots of creative people do it. I don’t like the word balance, myself.
Chase Jarvis agrees:
The goal, then is to create a fulfilled life, rather than a balanced life. I feel like balance makes me sort of numb because it means I’m checking all the boxes that I’m supposed to be checking. When I feel like I’m balanced, I feel I am unable to do great things. I like to live in a more creative place.
These two talk more about the subject, both of them saying that they often go to sleep so excited about work that they can’t get it off their mind. This is a good problem to have. I have this same pattern, but sometimes during the launch phase of my writing, Philip Hyde Photography and D. L. Hyde Photography, which has gone on far longer than expected because it’s more like a launch phase combined with a cleaning up of old business phase, I get discouraged at the sheer volume of work to be done. My friends see this and suggest ways I could stop doing what I’m doing. They perhaps don’t understand phases. I will sooner or later move more into the work I’m meant to do. This will result in a much more fulfilling life, but I probably won’t ever live a completely balanced life. My sometimes girlfriend often has given me a hard time for not being more balanced. After seeing James Balog sacrifice his life and body for Chasing Ice and the Extreme Ice Survey, she began to understand me a little and why balance is not as relevant for everyone as she may have once believed.
The video discussion between Gullebeau and Jarvis also covers aspects of Chris Gullebeau’s writing career and how he paid the mortgage as he learned. Jarvis mentioned that one of the challenges in our culture is the process of going from one vocation to another and the juggling involved. Gullebeau’s answer addresses time and starting a business on a shoestring at a small scale at first while you are working at what pays the bills currently. In the long video show format, many other topics arise in relation to goals, success and the accompanying hurdles, struggle, self-deception and honesty, intellectual neediness, focus, relaxation, breaking through barriers, the post-accomplishment letdown, plans, communication, endings and much more.
Let me know what you think of any or all of these recommendations…