I remember when I was the new blood. That was almost fifteen years ago, when I had just turned pro. I had been let go from my day job at a digital photo lab and instead of looking for another job, I took the knowledge and experience that I’d gained as a former photo editor and struck out on my own.
Of course, things were different back then. When I started, digital imaging was Adobe Photoshop 3.0 on beige Power Macs with 14″ CRT monitors, and the world’s most advanced camera was the Nikon F4. There there were small personable stock agencies in every city, and the place where all the photographers hung out and talked shop was the E-6 photo lab.
At the time, I was one of those energetic young guys who had a bag full of brand new equipment, overflowing creativity and hefty credit card debt from buying all that gear. I had a high level of admiration for some of the established adventure and outdoor photographers who had been around for a number of years and that’s what kept me going through those really tough early years.
I’d see them out at the lab or read about them in the mags, sometimes even meet them in person at trade shows or occasionally run into one of them out in the field. I still remember the first time I met Galen Rowell, I felt like I was in the presence of a giant. They didn’t act like giants, they were just really cool guys who were all incredibly helpful when it came to giving advice to the new guys.
However, this post isn’t about advice, it’s about inspiration. I really looked up to those longtime pros. They set the path and showed the 27-year old Dan Bailey that it’s possible to make a living running around outside with a camera. In fact, I still look up to those guys, and I still get inspired every time I look at their work. That hasn’t changed.
One thing that has changed, though, is that I now find myself on the receiving end of that inspiration. As I cruise around the web, I find my name and link on other photographers’ blogs, and I often get emails from younger shooters who tell me that they’re inspired by my work. They tell me that their ambition is to be professional outdoor photographers, and I know that a number of them will succeed because I see some very good work out there on the horizon.
I’m honored. I really am, and I hope that I can continue to inspire the new blood through the coming years just as I continue to be inspired by those long time shooters that paved the way before me. And as the younger people hone their skills and enter the marketplace, I’m sure that I’ll find my self inspired by their work as well. Looking at the imagery that some of these people produce, I can say that I already am!
Here’s of these younger shooters that I’m talking about. His name is Brett May, and he’s not only a very creative and diverse photographer, he’s quite proficient with his technical camera and lighting skills. Here’s the link to his blog. Also, check out Zach Long’s site, he’s another energetic young shooter who has some great looking and creative work. These guys are the future of our industry and their imagery is worth a look.
Brett, Zach and all the others who follow my work, I’m glad that my photography inspires you. Best of luck in the future and keep up the good work!
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