Sometimes Give it Away!
It certainly feels good and I wish I could be there when the mail arrives in a few days.
A very wise mentor of mine has had an extremely rich and full photographic career for over 67 years. He has traveled the world shooting nearly everything imaginable, often people and events typically not open to the photographic community. Doors are opened as relationships are created. Part of culturing the relationships is offering and following through with sending some prints back after they are developed and processed. The offer to send photos is extended and they are actually sent. Days, months or even years later when access is then again requested, the doors are open and remain open as the process is repeated.
On a recent trip to visit and spend time with him, we were able to spend the day shooting a culture rarely open to photographers. We were granted such access because of the relationships he has formed over his long career.
I, and maybe even you, I’m sure have wanted a shot of a stranger and offered to send them a print if they will allow you to take their picture. I’ve said it and then later, for whatever reason, haven’t followed through. Maybe I wasn’t happy with the photo, I just got too busy or maybe I forgot. Whatever the reason, it really doesn’t matter. This lack of ethics simply doesn’t cut it with my mentor.
As we were driving back from our day of shooting and talking, he urged me to stop along the lake we were bordering to get a few shots of the fall colors. Twice, I pulled the car over, neither time liking the perspective. On the third try I saw a dock that would be perfect. I grabbed my gear and headed down to the water. Immediately upon my arrival at the dock the family that was there fishing erupted into a chorus of hooping , hollering and cheering. The youngest member of the group had just bagged her very first fish.
The spirit of my mentor, who was resting up in the car, flooded into me and my normally very shy self races up and says “let me grab a few shots and I WILL SEND YOU THE PICTURES.” Of course I looked around to see who was speaking and it was in fact me!
I grabbed a few photos, exchanged mailing information and then heard the whole story about this contemporary American family - turns out this was a pretty big deal for them.
It pleases me very much to say that yesterday I mailed some 5x7s and an 8x10 of her “first fish”.