Recently featured on B&H's Explora blog, the well-established photo and video sales giant compiled a list of some of their favorite photographers and had them discuss what 2014 meant to them and what they plan on doing to make 2015 even better. There are a lot of very talented people on the "Inspiration For The New Year" list, which also includes a few of the writers at Fstoppers. Seeing what each of these photographers are most thankful for in their career and reading what they feel they need to work on is a great chance to put into perspective our individual daily struggle.
The comprehensive list of photographers makes up some of the most talented in our industry across the board to include Fstoppers' very own staff writers Michael Bonocore, Michael Woloszynowicz, Clay Cook, Mike Kelley, and Julia Kuzmenko. Each photographer on this list has dealt with their own set of challenges as they paved their career and this set of career resolutions is further testament to setting goals for ourselves both large and small. There is no one-size-fits-all secret formula to being on the top of your game, but taking a page from any of these photographers allows for a great vantage point.
Explora's Top 14 of 2014:
Gabriel Biderman - Biderman discusses 10 tips of creativity goals for 2015. From remaining inspired to challenging yourself, all of these tips are worth applying to your work. Biderman is a travel and self-taught fine art photographer.
Michael Woloszynowicz - Reflecting, refocusing, and rebuilding. Woloszynowicz writes about addressing mistakes and short comings to better himself as a photographer and an educator. Michael is an editorial fashion and beauty photographer from Toronto, Canada. He’s also a contributing writer at Fstoppers and an instructor at PRO EDU and Retouching Academy.
David Brommer - Talented street photographer and B&H Photo Director, Brommer talks about restructuring from an equipment standpoint. Sometimes when life offers changes, our trade tools need to respond.
Julia Kuzmenko McKim - Sometimes obstacles are needed to elevate us to that next level of our career. McKim discusses some of her most significant challenges she has faced in her career and how dreaming big and not giving up got her where she is today. McKim is an Los Angeles-based, internationally published professional beauty, fashion, and portrait photographer, digital artist, retoucher, educator and Fstoppers contributor.
Will Cadena - Overcoming a learning disability that was discovered in his early teens, Cadena further reinforces the importance of meeting your challenges head-on to achieve success. Cadena is a high-end international commercial and fashion photographer.
Mike Kelley - Sometimes personal work is the most rewarding. Kelley discusses how his favorite images of 2014 were images he was doing for himself to satisfy his own hunger for art — further proof to always remember the fun of what we do. Kelley is a a Los Angeles-based architectural and interior photographer known for his highly technical and beautiful architectural imagery. Kelley is also an Fstoppers contributor.
Clay Cook - Taking note of milestone achievements, Cook's 2014 reflection discusses the importance of looking back to look forward. From slowing down and being humbled by mistakes, to applying lessons through education, Cook discusses the "roller-coaster" nature of life as an artist. Cook is an award-winning, internationally published photographer and filmmaker, specializing in fashion editorial and advertising photography. Cook is also an Fstoppers staff writer.
Jeremy Cowart - Cowart writes about the importance of being proactive and perseverant. Keeping the gas pedal to the floor and working through challenges has become his mantra. Cowart is a celebrity photographer, entrepreneur, and humanitarian.
Elinor Carucci - Figuring out what kind of photographer you are could be the hardest part. Carucci discusses the importance of creating opportunities, promoting work, and building a career in such a competitive field. Carucci currently teaches at the graduate program of photography at the School of Visual Arts.
Ken Kaminesky - Taking chances is important. Making a mid-career switch, Kaminesky re-evaluated his complete style of photography. Sometimes big changes are all that stand in the way of progression, after all, "If you want to do something, you'd better get started." Kaminesky is a commercial travel photographer, writer, consultant, and entrepreneur.
Michael Clark - Clark offers 10 great tips that can be applied at any level, from being more critical of ourselves to just having more fun in what we do. Clark is an internationally published outdoor photographer specializing in adventure sports, travel, and landscape photography. Clark produces intense, raw images of athletes pushing their sports to the limit.
Moose Peterson - Peterson talks about making accomplishments in 2014 that have pushed him to think bigger in the next few years. Making goals and booking work out as far as 2018 to ensure his work follows the intended path. Peterson is a wildlife photographer, and he considers himself incredibly fortunate to be amongst North America’s critters — and to bring back their story with his camera.
Michael Bonocore - Bonocore talks about overcoming the fear of failure to achieve the ideal lifestyle. He talks about 2014 as a inaugural year for venturing his career to different levels and the necessity to give back. Bonocore is a photographer, filmmaker, educator, and Fstoppers staff writer based in San Francisco, California. Bonocore thrives on working with NGOs around the world, creating photo and video content to help them tell their stories and bring awareness to their causes.
George Diebold - Diebold discusses the changes that have taken place in technology throughout the industry, further arguing the need for flexibility as one looks into the future. Known for his success as a conceptual advertising photographer, Diebold is an artist who draws his inspiration from nature as well as man’s creations.
Wow! 5 current Fstoppers writers in the top 14 that's awesome. Congrats to all of you.
its might just be a case of washing each other's hands… you never know.
Thank you David, I appreciate you reading!
I may be unusual but I like looking through photos and not focusing on any specific photographer. I believe most people are capable of taking exceptional photos, at one time or another. In other words, the photo, the end product, is what I focus on, not the photographer.
Ah, a fan of the photo not the photographer - but you raise a valid point.
Taking a great photo can often times be circumstantial; ie perfect light, great action, right place, right time... one might say 'luck'.
But a career of great photographs takes hard work, hustle, planning, rehashing, restructuring, being critical, learning from mistakes... and then doing it all over again the next day. However, keep in mind a good old R.W.E. quote: "Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect."
PHOTOS make great study, PHOTOGRAPHERS make great teachers.
Yes, luck is a part of what I was talking about, although I also believe that most people through their own efforts and inspiration, and sometimes through divine intervention, are sometimes capable of capturing great photograpghs. While it obviously makes sense to recognize exceptional photographers, as one one should in any craft or profession, I'd rather not focus on individual photographers and instead I prefer to scour through photographs looking for gems that would otherwise go unnoticed. After all, in the end what you got is a photograph. That's all that should matter, not who captured it.
It is why I have never been a fan of celebritizing people in any profession, like when so many people in the arts talk about this or that artist as if you should know them. That kind of thinking creates and encourages elitism within the arts that ultimately stifles creativity and discovery, while creating barriers for other artists. It is one of life's great ironys that the arts excell at doing that.
I'm not looking to be taught when I look at photographs. I'm looking for beauty and inspiration, and that can come from anyone.
very true. I can def agree with much of what you're saying. However, to make progress and push creativity it is necessary to learn from what's been done. Studying art history to gain better perspective.
But on the note of celebritizing people for the sake of elitism... yeah, not into that either.
I don't believe that an awareness of what's been done is necessary to make progress and to push creativity. In fact, it often interferes. That is why the danger of paradigms is taught in business classes.
If you think about it, many of man's most important discoveries and advancements have been the result of thinking that completely ignored what came before.
Insanely talented and motivated bunch...congrats to them all!
Thank you Jason!
Love hearing what these inspirational photographers have to say. I also believe in cause and effect, and hearing words of encouragement and inspiration from those who have gone out and found great success for themselves in this industry and are also outstanding photographers and artists themselves is very encouraging. To me, simply viewing great work isn't always enough; hearing the vision behind it and how they made it happen and how they faced and overcame obstacles in the industry is very inspiring.
Thank you for reading Daniel!