Sometimes, it’s what you carry. Sometimes, it’s what you do. Either way, if you’re a photographer, you need to team to support you.
Skip and I were grabbing a bite to eat between golf lessons on Sunday and talking about what we’d learned from the first lesson. I noted that I needed to move my left shoulder more, but it really didn’t want to move… Then, I said, “But that’s not a problem. I’ll just tell Darin, and he’ll help me correct that. After all, I have a great team!”
Darin isn’t a golf pro. He’s my personal trainer at the sports club.
After I spoke, a lightbulb went off in my head. Darin is also on my photography team. I started thinking about the people we surround ourselves with, who help us achieve our goals, and how important they are! They may be paid to help, but they may very well not be. And, they may even be on multiple teams, like Darin…
Think about your team. Who supports you as a photographer? Do you have enough people on your team? And, really importantly, do you realize how important they are to your success?
Let’s start with Darin. Awhile back, I gave him a challenge. I needed to be able to lift my 35 pound roll-aboard camera bag into the overhead bin on airplanes, without injuring myself. I weigh 112 pounds and stand a “very tall/small” 5′ 2⅝”. To reach those bins, I have to stand on my toes! I’m happy to report that I can lift that bag. It may not be graceful, but I get it up there and live to tell the tale! And I mentally thank Darin every time I do it!
When I was shooting in Paris, a few years ago, I developed De Quervain tendinitis. I’d show you a photo, but this is a family blog… it wasn’t pretty… 😬 My hand looked like a softball when I arrived back in Seoul, after a day of flights. It was an important holiday in South Korea, so the international clinic was closed. Through the help of some friends, I found a doctor in a Korean medical clinic who would see me. Thankfully, she spoke some English. My minimal Korean didn’t include medical terms… After making sure this wasn’t an insect bite or a break (her first two thoughts), she worked on me for two weeks, massaging out the swelling. I healed without shots or pain medication and was soon able to head out with my camera, again. Those friends and that doctor were definitely members of my team!
There was more to learn though. Today, I can tell you that there was one person missing on my team at that point. Who? Well, maybe this will explain. Last year, while attempting to execute the Crow Pose in a yoga class, I reinjured myself. Since I am not at all adept at yoga, that was definitely a foolish choice… This time, I realized that I needed to do more about my left arm. I added a physical therapist to my team. I needed to strengthen the muscles and retrain my arm. That decision has been very empowering. My wrist and arm are now stronger than they were before the first injury. No, I haven’t attempted the Crow Pose again…
Who else is on my team? I have a chiropractor. I actually added one in Seoul, when I’d popped out my upper back, yet again, while shooting on a trip. Yes, I knew I’d recover from the pain. But, I also knew that this wasn’t the first time I’d injured my upper back. I just assumed it was a weakness I had. I certainly wasn’t going to limit the weight of my camera equipment! But, after that trip, I realized that I wanted to be able to shoot without fear of a future injury. Pilates training, with the supervision of a chiropractor, was just what I needed. Since we’ve moved to Virginia, I’ve now added a local chiropractor to my team.
If photography were a sport, my team wouldn’t be a surprise. Maybe it’s time to reconsider. If you push yourself to get the shot, if you trek through the swamp for a mile, lugging your 600 mm lens and tripod, if you haul your gear up the mountain before dawn, to get the perfect sunrise shot, maybe, just maybe, you should start to respect yourself as an athlete, as well as an artist, and build a team to support you!
Who is on your team?
What about a training team? Next week, I’ll talk about who’s on mine.