Archive for January, 2010

The power of Visualization

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2010 by martinprihoda

As I sit here writing this blog post, I look around the room and am amazed at all the events that conspired to bring me to this point.

We have a two bedroom flat in Bandra, a nice(r) green(er) suburb in the chaotic, nightmarishly surreal dreamscape of Mumbai, a city lost in the throes of vibrant decay…. outside the window, passing underneath are rickshaw wallas, fruit sellers, vegetable hawkers, newspaper wallas and strange brightly dressed dudes that whip themselves.
I am writing estimates and concept notes for jobs that will most likely pay me more in three weeks of work than I made in a year in Vancouver. One is a 12 page fashion editorial for GQ that will shoot somewhere in North India. The other two are for large advertising companies here in the Big City.
I’m listening to music, drinking coffee and feeling a great deal of gratitude for my health, the health and happiness of the people I love most and of course, for the opportunities that seem so abundant.
I grew up with the idea that to become wealthy you really had to struggle, to work hard, late nights, work so hard that in fact all you had time to do was save money and then once you had it you had to do everything to keep it….that was how you created wealth and abundance.
I’ve come to realize that that attitude, and its an attitude shared by many people, is incorrect.
I don’t think I’ve ever worked hard a single day of my photographic life. Every time I pick up my camera and realize that someone’s paying me to do this, I’m filled with an awesome feeling of gratitude (and sometimes disbelief). ‘Disbelief’ because there are still remnants of that old way of thinking within my consciousness…that unless you’re ‘struggling’ or ‘nose to the grindstone’ you’re not really doing anything productive.
Now let me clarify…i say i don’t believe in ‘hard work’ but here’s what I do believe in: Excellence in the pursuit of one’s craft, sustained perseverance in attaining your goals, clear vision, patience, consummate professionalism, ethical business practices, acknowledgement of one’s limitations and then seeking a way to move beyond those limitations…which actually, if you don’t love what you do…seems like a lot of hard work.
As I look back on my life, specifically photography, there were many moments of hardship and I know there will be many more to come. This is not a stable profession but what its forced me to do is develop an attitude of optimism, gratitude and equanimity.
Granted, I can get down when things seem impossible, but one of the key tenants of the Yogic philosophy to which I prescribe is: This too Shall Pass. Everything is impermanent and in a constant state of flux, its important not to become too attached to any one emotional state.
One of the ways to help you move through these fluctuations is to keep you goals firmly in mind.
Visualization is a key ingredient for success in any endeavor but due to the unstable nature of a photography career, its importance is heightened. It may sound like a total cliche, but you need to know exactly what you want. I call it “Paint dry visualization” Here’s why:
You can think “In five years I see myself owning a house,” or you can say
“In five years I see myself owning a house; its on a lake, the water on the lake is shimmering in the moonlight, I see myself standing in the house, the kitchen has heated slate flooring, a Sub Zero fridge and I’m making popcorn on a six burner stove…we just painted the walls a light tan brown and I can smell the paint dry.”
The same is true for manifesting a thriving photography business.
Before I made this insane move to Bombay I sat down with myself and had a very honest heart to heart. If I was going to give up my comfortable apartment, sell my equipment, ask my fiance to move to one of the worlds most crowded and difficult cities; I had better be damn clear about what I wanted out of it.
I made a very clear picture in my mind; the magazines and agencies I would be working for, the amount of money i would be asking and the quality of life we would aspire to. I visualized large ad campaigns, magazine spreads and self funded photo documentary projects. I saw myself on set, working with models and art directors. I visualized and felt myself here already with opportunity and gratitude filling my being. I pictured myself in a flow.
We all want to be in the flow, that point in our lives where everything seems to happen with effortless ease. Being in the flow refers to a state of being where present actions and attitudes are in perfect sync with our visualizations and goals for the future. Its a state of coincidence and synchronicity brought on by creative and affirmative visualization.
So, the crux of this blog post is this: Wealth and abundance are not functions of ‘hard work’ but rather of Mindset. Change your Mind about your life and your life naturally follows. After thinking a certain way for a long time its hard to shift but here’s a couple of things you can do:
1. Before you go to bed, write down 3 things you’re grateful for.
2. Write down 3 ‘impossible’ goals, no matter how far out they seem.
3. Write down 3 things that are on your mind that you would like to resolve immediately.
4. Take a few minutes and meditate on one of your goals, visualize that goal with crystal clear clarity. Picture these goals as already attained. Smell the paint dry.
There’s a certain organizing power that happens when you get your thoughts down on paper; its like the first step in manifestation. Practice this consistently and you’ll start see old negative thought patterns loosen the grip, eventually being replaced by increasingly affirmative ones.
Since I am a student of this myself and not a master, it takes me great vigilance and attention to stay positive but the reward is tangible: forward motion towards the life I want to be living; full of happiness, wonder and abundance.
we deserve no less than that.

why a photography career is like a long term relationship

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2010 by martinprihoda

I often remember back to the heady days when I first picked up my digital camera from Future Shop. It was my first foray back into photography since i was a teenager with a sketchily constructed darkroom in his parents basement.

I had moved into motion pictures after university, leaving the fixer, developer, enlarger and poorly ventilated darkroom far behind. It was many years later that a desire to re-visit photography emerged and by that time digital photography had begun to firmly entrench itself as a viable photographic alternative to film.

I bought one of the first 30d’s on the market, really had no idea where it would all lead but i fell in love instantly. It was so different an experience than the old days of film, so immediate and fun.

It was really like falling in love; you didn’t care what you took pictures of; leaves, bike chains at a shallow depth of field, bracketed exposures of mountainous landscapes, friends at parties, it was anything and everything. You didn’t mind spending your money on a new lens or an upgrade, you took courses and workshops.

It was a wild and experimental time, just like a new relationship is. Lots of sex, late night phone calls, impulse purchases of expensive lingerie… any excuse just to be with the person.

After a while though decisions need to be made, energies and interests shift. Things start to get more serious. A question is asked; “I this thing going to last? Does this have long term potential? Is this someone I want to spend my life with?” and so on.

It’s really the same with a photographic career. You ask yourself “Should i pursue this full time or keep my day job and photography as a hobby?” If you keep it as a hobby, photography becomes like your mistress; fun but ultimately on the sidelines. You may buy the occasional lens or take the camera down to mexico and snap a few pix.

but for some of us…we decide to marry our mistress, our photographic dream. We decide that this is it, we’re going to make a go, a career, a serious committed relationship. We’re going to forego a steady paycheck, draw up a business plan, get incorporated, get educated, buy insurance, get a startup loan, print marketing material, build a website, setup a booth at our local wedding trade show.

And so we marry the love of our lives, an art form that inspires us, that compels us to create, that aids in the expression of our soul.

but all in marriage is not rosy…bills need to be paid so we compromise with clients, mistakes need to be made in order to tweak the business model, new technologies have to be learned. Invoices need to be paid and monies need to be collected from clients who think ’90 days to pay’ is just a rough estimate, give or take a month.

and what has happened to the love of old? the rainy sunday stay in bed and make out attitude of young lovers? the days where there was a photo around every corner, didn’t matter what…as long as you heard the click of the shutter.

like all marriages, your photographic career is a ton of work and I don’t mean ‘work’ like carrying light stands and sandbags…I mean ‘work’ like “Shit…i can’t believe that job fell through, how am I going to pay my rent…ok f**k it, let’s go for a walk and take photos, of anything, just to keep that love alive.”

You have to keep the love alive, somehow, in the midst of recession, tough times and new opportunities, you need to remember what it is you first fell in love with…and if you can, your marriage will thrive, bring new opportunities and ultimately elevate you.

a good way to accomplish this is to do something that scares you: like approaching a new client, calling a Big Scary ad agency, raising your rates in times of ‘economic uncertainty’…or (gulp) moving to India (?!).

love is a force that exists all around us but it can be elusive; a constant test of our will, patience and determination and like a fire it must be stoked or it will shift elsewhere and lose intensity….

…just like in a human relationship.

back in Bombay, but first…

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2010 by martinprihoda

It was great to be back in Canada for christmas. Equally amazing was coming home and noticing the incredible contrasts between India and Canada. I spent alot of time with my family and Tonia and I had some much deserved space from the chaotic and hectic pace of Bombay. Vancouver did indeed seem a small quiet town in comparison…

I didn’t shoot alot, it was nice to take break. I managed to knock off a pregnancy shot for one of my best buds, Tyler and his beautiful lady Jude. Of course we setup some nice, standard, mom friendly pregnancy poses but i have to say that it was this last shot that is my favorite.

I arrived in mumbai today at about 4:30 am and booked a shoot with GQ at 2pm. Its tight seeing as I haven’t slept really but what the hell…

Its great to be back and working…missed the sound of the rickshaws, the cows mooing in the streets and yes…even the smell.