” The trick of getting ahead is starting.”
— Mark Twain
A little plug from the TOP neighborhood: routine readers know Gordon Lewis, whose photo Precipitation(AKA “the umbrella lady)” was among our best-selling prints.
Gordon’s child Clay wrote and produced the tune “Stranger” by the band Mice on Mercury, simply out.
I’m just an old papa, but I think the song’s an appeal. Its only issue is that it ends prematurely. Check it out on the streaming or download service of your option.
Good going, especially for a 16- year-old. Huge congratulations to Clay.
For many years I have actually known numerous imaginative people, and one underlying generality I have actually pertained to think in is this. If you talk to anybody with an interest in anything creative– I even believe this reaches other aspirational categories too– you’ll hear some account of an obstacle of some sort that wound up triggering the dream to fizzle. It can be something gentle or small in outright terms– a failure to capitalize on an early toehold, gains lost, a turn of bad luck, bad treatment from another specific or organization– loss of nerve, or a closed door– something like that.
Naturally, it can be major, too, like my buddy Kevin, the standout athlete at my small high school, who was a leading college baseball player, got prepared into the majors, and after that blew his knee out playing a casual video game of pickup basketball a week prior to he was to report for training camp. A shared buddy notes that to this day– we’re in our sixties now– any random stranger is likely to hear that story within fifteen minutes of very first meeting Kevin.
That could not be assisted. It wasn’t Kevin’s fault. Bad luck of the bitterest kind. He went on to make a great life for himself.
And in other cases it appears like the goal was incorrect or the ability ran too thin or the Force just wasn’t with the individual somehow. Luck was too terrible. Or they didn’t have sufficient versatility to adjust or change. What all these stories have in typical is that the scenarios of the setback are remembered. The person might not have a clear concept of what happened or why, but they’ll tell you about that early bittersweet dream and how they brushed up to it so tantalizingly. They’ll tell you about what occurred and designate the blame as to why their careers avoided in a various instructions. I have actually heard a noticeable variation of that type of story lots of, many lots of times over several years, from all sorts of people. All perfectly understandable. And common, is what I’m stating.
Here’s what I’ve discovered, though. It’s that, in the bios of lots of successful individuals, you’ll frequently read of the exact same sorts of early discouragement– bad luck, bad treatment, opportunities lost, developments that weren’t– whatever; but the successful person handled somehow to regroup, possibly reappraise, and move on anyway.
For instance, we were just talking yesterday about David Douglas Duncan (who, by the way, was when considered to be among the 3 great brand ambassadors, as they’re now called, of Leica, along with Alfred Eisenstadt of LIFE and Henri Cartier-Bresson of Magnum. I forgot to discuss that recently.) Well, DDD had a early obstacle too. He was an university student studying archaeology in Arizona when he photographed a hotel fire in Tucson. He focused on one male who made duplicated efforts to get back into the burning hotel to rescue a travel suitcase. The guy turned out to be the well-known 1930 s gangster John Dillinger, and the luggage consisted of the money from a recent bank burglary during which Dillinger had eliminated a male. Young Duncan’s excellent lucky scoop was turned over to the Tucson Citizen paper. But someplace along the method the paper lost or ruined the film, and the university student’s photos never appeared in the paper and were never returned to him. Golden opportunity lost, through no fault of his own.
[UPDATE: More likely it was some of Dillinger’s gang—see B.J.’s Featured Comment below. In any event, the identifications led to Dillinger’s capture. —Ed.]
That’s the sort of thing that may have ended up being the sort of problem I’m discussing. DDD might have gone on to end up being an archaeology teacher, say, who repeated to individuals the story of how he wished to be a photojournalist when he was young (and some may need to be advised now just how much status that occupation had in the broad middle swath of the 20 th century). He would adoringly tell of his terrific encounter with Dillinger, speaking silently and with an unfortunate smile of the perfidy of the paper that betrayed him, and of his dead and buried dream, clutching his calcified resentment beside his heart like a pearl.
Obviously, that’s not what took place. David Douglas Duncan went on to become a major professional photographer of three American wars, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and those were just the peaks of his peripatetic accomplishment. The Dillinger story is just a footnote, albeit an amusing one. Duncan was neither stunted nor stymied by that early bit of bad luck. He selected himself up off the ground, dusted himself off, and kept on going.
All this is simply a digression, obviously! Forgive me. Although I do hope that Clay Lewis ultimately forgets this success. Which is to state, I hope it ends up being merely the very first of numerous for him.
( Picture by Wildhartlivie, CC by 3.0)
* It reminds me of something I heard in a lecture to the faculty at a school where I taught, provided by the head of psychiatry at a children’s medical facility: he stated, “If you want your kids to prosper, let them stop working early and often.”
Gordon Lewis responds: Thanks for the promotion, Mike. This is still all brand-new to Clay. Luckily, his focus is on the music, so whatever else is icing on the cake.
When it comes to your primary subject, a similar example enters your mind: Bill “Superfoot” Wallace was a judo champ until a challenger fell on his right knee, triggering irreversible damage. He might have given up martial arts or exercise totally. Instead, he became a kickboxer whose special sideways stance used his best leg only for assistance. His left roundhouse kick was so fast and precise that although everybody understood he would utilize it, they could do little to stop it.
The way I ‘d express your point is, if you’re searching for an excuse to quit, you can discover one. The exact same applies if you’re figured out to find a path to success.
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( To see all the comments, click the “Comments” link listed below.)
Featured Remarks from:
HiMY SYeD: “I just want to say, ‘Thank You’ for writing this. It is essential, and I required to hear it.”
Fred Tuman: “The life of a pro professional photographer in my case can be similar to a professional athlete. I struggled from when I came out of art school till my mid-thirties, when a fashion stylist I understood introduced me to the Head Art Director of a significant charm brochure. Now I’m shooting soft products in the early morning and complex fashion sets in the night and whatever else in between … and making the cash you’re supposed to get.
” 2 years into this the ADVERTISEMENT gets a stroke and passes on set. The marketing agency now offers me the cold shoulder like I never ever existed. I was out without any chance of returning.
” That was the 1990 s. Thirty years later I’ve had a number of commercial hits, however absolutely nothing like that. Unlike a lot of because field, I didn’t blow my money by sinking it into a huge studio. I invested it and gave myself enough of a cushion to reject tasks that will end up killing you. Now with COVID-19, you hope you’ll get an opportunity again, if you can last it out and see if any work returns.
” Recalling at whatever … when you are hectic doing that high-end stuff, you are not enjoying it … the pressure is undue.”
William Lewis: “Nice track, I have actually passed it on to some others I think may enjoy it. I’ll have to burn it to CD and see if the regional independent radio will play it.”
Bryan Geyer: “DDD definitely was one of the ‘great brand ambassadors,’ however it was Nikon’s significant lenses that he chose to mate to his Leica rangefinder bodies when he covered the bulk of the Korean action.
He later switched to Nikon F reflex bodies (and lenses) for Vietnam.
Mike replies: That’s according to Nikon, and it’s partially ideal– DDD was long revered at Nikon for bringing the company to the attention of the world by using its lenses in Korea and spreading the word– but it’s still not precisely ideal. He composes in War Without Heroes: “I depended upon two Leicas (custom-built M3Ds) crossed bandolier-style on my chest. One Leica was fitted with a Leitz 50 mm f1.4 Summilux, the other with a Nikkor 28 mm f2.8 lens; both lenses with medium yellow filters. In addition– suspending the center of my chest– I brought a Nikon F with a Nikkor 200 mm f4 lens, also with a medium yellow filter.”
The movie was Kodak Tri-X established in Kodak D-76
And by the way, the “D” in M3D stood for his name in an amusing way– the pun of “3D” referred to Duncan’s label “DDD.” Among DDD’s personalized M3’s (he had four of them) sold in May 2012 for 1.68 million euros (about $2.13 m) at WestLicht.
B.J.: “Mike, the DDD/Dillinger story may be apocryphal. The Hotel Congress still stands in Tucson and is a popular (pre-COVID) hangout for programs, food, and beverage. Every year they have a ‘Dillinger Days’ event, so the story of Dillinger’s capture is regularly retold. During the January 1934 fire at the hotel, a number of members of Dillinger’s gang were staying there, however Dillinger was staying somewhere else. The gang members got away from the burning hotel, but provided a cash benefit if the firemen would obtain their baggage from their space. The firemen did so, and later on one stated that he thought the travel suitcases were remarkably heavy. Later on, back at the station house (and this I discover a bit tough to believe) a firefighter read Real Investigator publication and came across an illustrated post about the Dillinger gang. He recognized several of the men envisioned as the ones who asked him to save the luggage. The authorities were informed, a security operation was established and, 2 days later, in numerous raids, Dillinger and his gang were captured. The heavy travel suitcases turned out to have had lots of firearms.
” Whatever really happened, I think it is generally accepted that Dillinger himself was not at the hotel during the fire. If so, then DDD did not get any pictures of Dillinger, although he may have gotten photos of some of Dillinger’s gang. Likewise, the existence of the Dillinger gang in Tucson was not typically known till their capture a couple of days later on.
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Mike replies: Thanks for the much deeper dive, B.J.– I included an Update to the post. Even if that specific example is not as great as it appeared, though, the concept still holds IMO.
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