“…what you fight for.”
I’ve had a life motto for a number of years. “To challenge, encourage, and equip others to count the cost of pursuing the abundant life.” I won’t get into that now except to say that it reflects a deeply rooted value, ingrained in me since I can remember, that we’re not entitled to anything. American culture and media propagatesthis idea that we’re entitled to a lot of things. We’re blessed with a ton of opportunities in this country but I don’t believe we are “entitled” to anything. Don’t worry. I’m not going to begin waxing eloquent about politics.
As one figure who influenced me a great deal early in life would say, “life doesn’t give you what you want or what you love. It gives you what you fight for.” I don’t agree with that in full (meaning I don’t believe we can all be what we want when we grow up if we just work hard enough otherwise we would all be presidents and astronauts if you get what I mean). But, I do believe that if you don’t fight for things you value and hold dear, life has a way of sucking the life out of you and tempting you to settle for so much less than what is possible. Or said another way, anything worthwhile in life requires work and sacrifice. A good marriage requires work and sacrifice. Staying healthy requires work and sacrifice. You get what I mean right!?!
What does this have to do with photography? In a word: visualization.
We are richly blessed in this day in age to have access to media that can open up worlds that previously we would have had no exposure to. If we explore the right avenues, those worlds can serve as catalysts that stir our own aspirations helping fight the forces in life that may be tempting us to settle for less. Self help guru’s call it “goal setting visualization.” Meaning that if you wan to make your goals more compelling then visualize them!
In my experience I’ve found that photos of people who are experiencing things in life that I want for myself and my family serve as a catalyst. They stir my aspirations. They inspire me to fight for the things that I want out of life. Let me share a few examples…
Example 1 | Goal Visualization
If you are someone who likes to be active and healthy and have found yourself out of shape then you can appreciate that photos of people who are counting the cost of staying in shape is incredibly motivating! My wife and I have been known to take a few images of hard working athletes and print them out with a goal chart to help serve as a reminder that counting the cost to work out and stay active is worth it so that we’re in shape to go enjoy the fun adventures available to us in the Pacific Northwest. But consider the larger point: photos can be a catalyst that motivates people to overcome excuses and pursue the goals that are represented by the powerful images they see.
Example 2 | Dream Visualization
I think of Goal Visualization as helping motivate you to count the cost of pursuing things you know you can do. I think of Dream Visualization as using images to inspire you to stretch yourself to pursue things that you have not yet done but aspire to do. A relevant example for me would be Corey Rich. He’s an adventure lifestyle photographer that has produced amazing photos of extreme athletes from all over the world. When I see images such as this one (click HERE) I am stirred with wonder and desire. It causes me to want to expand my ability, grow my skills, and become a photographer that could land assignments that would take me to the far reaches of this amazing planet. How work helps me to visualize not just the things I know I can do and want to continue to fight for, but things I have not yet experienced that I want to fight to accomplish.
I want to have the honor of inspiring others just as people like Corey Rich have inspired me.
The examples I shared of Goal Visualization and Dream Visualization explain in party, my passion for photography. I want my photos to serve as a catalyst and an inspiration for others. I want my photos to encourage others to count the cost of pursuing their aspirations. I want my photos to challenge others to fight against the things in life that would tempt them to settle. I want my photos to encourage people to fight for the things that matter.
One of my greatest joys in life is seeing others accomplish things that are life giving that they never thought possible. My hope and my prayer is that my photos would inspire others to count the cost of pursuing the abundant life.