Fame and letting it get to you

It seems that kids today have as their career goal to be famous. Not to cure cancer for the good of humanity, or defeat world hunger, or be the best baseball player ever, but to do whatever is necessary in order to be known…with, hopefully, a TV show to go with. And, even more importantly, a pile of money. Sad, but such seems to be the case.

I can understand the draw of fame. Doing these SB2 events has led to some situations I never, ever, thought I be in, like being in some public place with my brother and having some photographer say “Your sister is famous!” in a very kind way (this happened yesterday to me). While I am deeply, deeply flattered by those comments, so far at least I’ve managed to keep my head in the right place. I know that while I may be relatively well known in our circle of photographers, nobody “on the outside” would ever confuse me with someone really famous like Angelina Jolie or Mother Theresa (and yes, I know MT is dead).

Even within our world, I am just one voice. Yes, I have experience and confidence that I am giving good advice to my clients and you readers (and the SB2 folks), but I am not an oracle. I’m imperfect and always will be.

So are you.

This is how we can keep our heads about us if we “hit”–remembering that we’re all imperfect and that no matter how good you get and how famous you are, you’re just another human being.

That also works on the other side–that is, if you are “just” a working photographer in some small (or mid or large) city, working to pay the bills and doing the best you can, you are no worse than the David LaChapelles and Annie Leibovitzes out there. You are as valuable on a human level as they are. Sure, they are making more on their projects and are famous, but they all started a hell of a lot lower on the food-chain and, more importantly, you are perhaps a better human than any of them (please note, I am not implying that DLC or AL are bad people or asshats, I’ve never met them, though I have heard some stories about her that will raise a Buddhist’s eyebrows, so to speak [smirk]).

Everyone has her/his first big gig…and second…and, eventually, last one. It’s who you are as a person as you go through this life that really counts. Don’t be a jerk and don’t take yourself so seriously. Remember that it’s not the fame that counts, it is the work. So take the work as seriously as you choose and remember to pat yourself on the back for making great work, even if it is never seen by anyone else or doesn’t generate a dime for you.

Look at yourself honestly in the mirror from time to time, especially if you “hit;” and don’t forget to ask “Does this attitude make my ass look big?”

3 Responses to “Fame and letting it get to you”

  1. Giulio Sciorio Says:

    My career goals:

    Get Famous
    Get girl prego
    Have public addictions and sex tape
    Go in an out of rehab
    Loose fame and get out of the public life
    Move to Colorado
    Become Hindu
    Make a come back in a Tarantino film
    Get reality show

    Sadly fame does not equal talent. Actually it’s probably better that fame does not equal talent or I’d be out of a job.

    I agree with you girl, I shoot for me first and because I love to create. I still wake up thinking how damn cool it is go to play and make money, good money, to support my family.

    Any time I need a reality check all I have to do is go to the sears portrait studio.

  2. Bruce DeBoer Says:

    DL, AL and those like them have “Sacrifice and Obsession” written across their foreheads. Work for them and don’t share their values – no matter how skewed – and you risk feeling the rath of frustration that you “just don’t know what it takes” or that “you’ll never make it because you aren’t willing to do what it takes”.

    I’m willing to stick my neck out here and say that those who reach the top aren’t there because they wanted to be famous. Most – IMHO – are there because they are talented and obsessed – not necessarily in that order – with making that next best image.

    Success is measured in accolades and money – if you choose to see that as fame – cool, but I don’t think they would see it that way.

  3. Alan Farkas Says:

    Besides making great pics or great what ever it is that you do, remember to have fun. When you love what you do, as most photographers love what they do, work is play. Play is having fun. I have to admit at times in the past I was in place when photography turned into work. Now that I’m out of that place, life is play for the most part.