iAARP for AARP Members?

Photograph © Katrin Eismann
"Maturity allows me the grace to listen, learn, and appreciate more deeply." - Katrin Eismann
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My friend Trey Ratcliff once referred to me as the "Godfather of Photography." Trey, in a complimentary manner, was referring to the fact that I have been making photographs and writing about photography for a long time - since 1978, when I was the editor of Studio Photography magazine. 

At the magazine (1978-1980), I interviewed the most well-respected and best-known photographers of the day, including: Andres Feininger, Karsh, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Scavullo, Harry Benson (now over 80) and Arthur Rothstein. That's Arthur and yours truly below.  

I still have, and treasure, these interviews.

I just turned 61, and I have been thinking about age and how it can affect photographers.

Back in 1978, the photographers whom I interviewed, most over 60, were as active and as creative and as enthusiastic as they were when they first started out. My guess is that the creative process of photographing kept them feeling young at heart. I also think that being an active photographer, lugging around gear, getting up early and staying out late to catch the light, and so on, kept these pros in good physical shape.

So I think photography can keep one young.

Speaking of young, I think surrounding yourself with young photographers and young creative people helps us "think young." So does challenging oneself. That is is one reason why I am working with creativeLive in October - doing a three day live class. More on the class to come, so stay tuned.

I, and many of my over-50 and even over-60 photographer friends, are actually more active than ever - teaching more workshops, giving more seminars, writing more books/apps and, of course, making more pictures.

Successful shooters have embraced social media. Those who have not . . . are hurting.

Some active photographers are even jumping out of airplanes.
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I think there are many advantages of having been around for a while, one is the reason given by my friend Katrin Eismann at the opening of this blog post.

Another is the "10,000 hours of practice" concept put forth by Malcom Gladwell in his best selling book, Outliers:

Outliers: The Story of Success 
When young photographers ask me how and why I do so many things I say, "I can rest when I am dead." It's funny, but it's true. 

Also, as Jeremy said in Yellow Submarine, "Hocken knockin, quid pro quo. So little time, so much to know." 

Here is another concept: Learning is health. That is why we must keep on learning.

If you are over 50, I'd love to hear your thoughts (via a Comment on this blog - rather than on twitter or facebook) on how you feel about your photography – past and present. Share what you have learned, your photo philosophy. etc. Pros and amateurs are invited. If you share here, others can read and I can collect your words of wisdom.

Hey! If I get enough responses, maybe I can start iAARP - the International Association of Active and Rockin' Photographers. Yes, my friends, many of my photographer friends still rock!!

If you are not over 50, here is a good quote for you: "You are now where I once was, I am now where you someday will be."

Here's an FYI: Every photographer I know wants to keep shooting until he or she can "rest."

Explore the light - and I look forward to your comments,

P.S. If you like this post, click the twitter and facebook icons below to share. Thank you.

Photography Keeps Us Young, Fit and Healthy

If you are over 55 (as I am), you probably get notices from the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) to join the organization. I received one recently - although I feel like a kid.

That got me thinking: many of professional photographer friends who are over 55 are more active than ever - shooting more pictures, working and playing more in the digital darkroom, teaching more seminars, leading more workshops, learning new techniques, marketing their work, and so on. Not one even remotely considers retiring - and that includes me!

So I venture to say that photography keeps photographers (pros and amateurs) young, fit and healthy.

Young because making pictures and working on them in the digital darkroom energizes us. I think this is especially true with HDR images - because images like the one pictured here were never before possible without this relatively new technology. How exciting! (The bottom image is the average exposure of the scene, the top image is the HDR image - created in Photomatix and then enhanced in Photoshop with a touch of Topaz Adjust). What's more: HDR helps us see - and picture – the world in an entirely new and exciting way. Before HDR, I never would have taken this picture - because the contrast range was far too wide.

Fit because we burn off calories and build muscles when we lug around our camera bags and tripods and walk around the countryside and through the streets of a city - sometimes for hours a day. What a great way to work out!

Healthy because we are constantly learning - and as the old Chinese saying goes: "Learning is health."

Hey, maybe I should start, iARP: International Association of Rockin' Photographers. Wanna join? :-) Please share your thoughts here.

I know my photography-loving dad would join. He's 91!

Hey, you don't have to do this to join!

Speaking of being older (physically) and keeping young, stay tuned for my interviews with John Isaac and Harry Benson over at the Digital Photo Experience podcast. Lots of good how-to articles by our staff on the DPE site, too - which includes some potential AARP and iARP - members.

If you need some inspiration on feeling young, check out Real Magic by Dr. Wayne Dyer over on my books page. I have a few books there, too, for photo inspiration.

Explore the light,

P.S. You can get a discount on Photomatix (and other plug-ins) and learn about Topaz Adjust (which I think is one of the coolest new plug-ins) over at the Plug-in Experience.