Jeremy Cowart is a household name in the photography industry. Recently Jeremy was classified as one of the 30 most influential photographers on the web by the Huffington Post. After studying graphic design, he continued on to become a well-known celebrity photographer. We all know him from famous photos of Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and even the Kardashians. But who is Jeremy Cowart? And what motivates him to be a photographer, an artist, and a humanitarian?
Jeremy is somewhat of an entrepreneur. From launching his own photography teaching platform "See University", to starting his own app "OKDOTHIS", to creating a worldwide foundation called "Help Portrait", Jeremy has always thought outside the box. It didn't start out that way, though; as you can see in the video, Jeremy struggled academically. But his father gave him something that he could hold on to, telling him: "You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you." By believing and having faith, Jeremy challenged himself to take graphic design as a college course. Then, he had to take a photography class in college, but got a D. Fast forward down the road to a mentor named Jimmy Abegg, who told him that he should grab a camera and start taking photos. Falling back on faith, Jeremy bought a book called "Digital Photography for Dummies" and learned all that he needed to know to get started. From there, the rest is history. He started photographing his musician friends and from there, he stumbled upon Sting and became a celebrity photographer.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you are going to have to learn to deal with impossibility, just like Jeremy did. There is no way around it. Thomas Edison tried over ten thousand different experiments before he finally demonstrated the first incandescent light bulb on October 21, 1879. Michael Jordan was once quoted as saying: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”
I'm sure that throughout Jeremy's photography career, he has doubted himself more times than he can count. He has also had numerous instances of success, but it’s not even close to how many times he had to overcome an obstacle or difficulty. Imagine if Jeremy followed every teacher's advice, telling him that he wasn't smart, or something was impossible. The failures far outweigh the successes; that's the challenge of being a creative entrepreneur. Without failure, there will be no success, but without trying, there will be no failure. It’s the nature of the business of being an entrepreneur and of success in general.
In my opinion, the most important thing is how you deal with the impossible; remember, Jeremy lived by the phrase: "You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you". Whether you subscribe to a specific religion, once you accept that the impossible is inevitable, you are able to learn from your mistakes and move on. It’s easy to let the failure consume you — not so much because you are pessimistic, but more so because it is hard to see something that you poured your heart and soul into be ignored or rejected. The sooner you can objectively analyze why you hesitated and learn the things necessary for improvement in the future, the better you'll be. Just like Jeremy reiterates in the video, "impossible" spells "I'm possible." Thinking that something is impossible is very challenging and extremely frustrating. Don’t believe me? Ask Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, or Michael Jordan! Ok, asking Thomas Edison might be a little tough, but you get the idea.
One thing that stands out with Jeremy aside from his career as a photographer is that he proclaims his faith publicly with no hesitation. He also loves taking photos of his children. Having two biological and two adopted children, Jeremy embraces the love for his family. There's definitely so many different ways that you can enjoy photography, but Jeremy loves to document his children's lives.
Jeremy also touches base on photographers he admires, including Joey L., Annie Leibovitz, and Dan Winters. He's also inspired by younger, unknown artists who post their photos on Instagram. Overall, he loves seeing artists and their craft. Ultimately, what motivates him to continue to take pictures is that he is a dream chaser; he has ideas constantly and he tries to accomplish them by having that constant reminder from his father.
In essence, diving deeper and figuring out what voice you want to have as an artist is what Jeremy advises young creatives to do. Even though you might be focused on certain genres of photography (architecture, portraits, weddings, etc.), those might not be your passion. Find your passion and figure out how to put your unique stamp on that voice — that's part of what makes us grow as artists. While Jeremy loves to embraces the unknown, he is now facing the biggest journey yet: the idea of his hotel. Embracing the unknown and standing by his faith is definitely not an impossible challenge, but rather, a possibility that's ready to be encountered. Finding something or someone in which to put your faith can make impossibility nonexistent. Where do you turn?