Lately I’ve become a fan of an HGTV show, “Holmes on Homes”. What this guy does is he goes into people’s houses who have been scammed, ripped off and just completely wronged by contractors who either didn’t give a crap about them or didn’t know what they were doing. He opens up walls, climbs through crawl-spaces and finds mistakes and wrong-doings under the surface of things that look like they are a problem. And most of the time, even though something may look beautiful on the surface, he usually finds that buried deep below the crevices lies trouble just waiting to happen.
The main theme of this show is simple: The work wasn’t done right to begin with, and people and their property suffered because of it.
(Bear with me here, I promise I’ll get to photography in this post eventually…)
The great thing about this home-renovation show is that Mr. Holmes can “save the day” by taking things apart and putting them back together, making everything good as new. Of course, none of this is done without thousands of dollars of materials and endless hours working on the property, but it can be fixed and beautified mostly by rebuilding the structures that should have been there to begin with.
Unfortunately with many things in life, both the tangible and intangible, if you don’t have a solid foundation to begin with then all of your work to get there may just horribly crumble apart, oftentimes with no hope of renewal. For example, relationships built upon honesty, trust and understanding have a much greater chance of surviving than those based upon hidden truths, neglect and disrespect. And in any scenario, whether it’s a relationship or something you can see and hold in your hands, without a solid foundation things may at first seem okay and might even temporarily hold strong and seem solid as a rock. But truth and ugliness always seem to find ways to reveal themselves, and when a poorly-built foundation falls apart so does anything built on top of it.
Now, there are many, many ways you could translate this into the world of photography and photographers. But it’s really quite simple: whatever you do, start it off right. Whether it’s managing your finances so you stay debt-free when starting your photography business, treating first-time clients with respect and fairness, or even just doing your best to get the exposure spot-on in-camera instead of relying post-processing to fix your mistakes. How you interpret this and apply it to your photography is up to you.
For me, my foundation is a combination of honesty, truth and (hopefully) beauty. I truly believe that my photography relates so much more to life and people than it does with electronics, chemicals, or software. I know that in my work as a photographer and author I need to be true to myself and others, that I want my words and images show a reflection of me and who I am, and that I never want to pretend to be something I’m not. I do my best to be kind to others, respectful of their opinions and beliefs and always understand that I was in the same shoes (or will be) as many other photographers at one point or another, especially when it comes to our struggles. These are the foundations I do my very best to live by, and work by. I honestly can’t imagine doing things any other way.