I was reading the chapter, Late Bloomers, in the book What the Dog Saw: and other adventures by Malcolm Gladwell last night and it got me thinking…The chapter speaks about creative types and the difference between those writers or artists who come to their best work immediately upon writing their first sentence or painting their first stroke and those creatives who do their best work towards the end of their career. He specifically touches on who these late bloomers have in their corner, who support them when things may look bleak and they are full of self-doubt, who are their patrons?
This got me thinking about all the support I’ve had and continue to have. Most notably from my husband. Brady is the one who knew I had always wanted to create photographs. He was the one who bought me my first camera when I couldn’t afford it, who encouraged me to take classes, supported me by standing around in so many random places so I could shoot just one more photo while I get odd looks from passersby wondering what the heck I was making an image of. Who took care of the kids all those weekends or evenings I spent shooting and editing or early on with hours in the darkroom. Who has listened to me go on and on when I’m working through some issue regarding my photography and gives me the encouragement to keep at it when I’m ready to throw in the towel. Not to mention never passing judgment on me spending every penny I’d make from photography most years to buy a new lens or camera or software when I could have used that money for mutual family purchases or savings. He is my most dedicated patron.
Of course there are many others, fellow photographers and artists who completely understand what it’s like to struggle to find your stride. I know I need them for the commiseration that comes with the doubt and constant questions. The learning from talking about technique or advice in what does or doesn’t work. Their opinion on how to approach a subject or shoot. The camaraderie I feel knowing they too have gone through many of the same issues.
And of course family and friends who take the time to look at my photos, who show up at exhibitions, who ‘like’ my Facebook page, who purchase prints and proudly display them in their homes or offices, and read this blog.
Whether you’re a painter, photographer, writer, scientist or whatever it is you have a passion for that has taken you much time, doubt, hard work, resilience…who is it that’s got your back? It’s easy to get behind those instant geniuses but what about all of us and all those before us who took some time to reach their full genius, without someone backing them, encouraging them, this world would be a whole lot less beautiful. Who are your patrons?