Robert Beck, Sports Illustrated staffer, caught the photo bug in his twenties. George Karbus, premier outdoor photographer, dolphin whisperer. Dave Black, Nikon Ambassador, lightpainting master. What do these three professional photographers have in common? They are each deeply and profoundly passionate about photography, even moved to tears by the power of a great picture.
In this short film, Beck, Black, and Karbus discuss their shared passion for making amazing images and the relentless hard work and dedication that has ultimately brought them success:
Beck, Black, and Karbus might bring three totally different life experiences to their art, but they have all figured out how to maintain their passion for photography even after making photos became “a job.” Karbus and Beck speak to that issue in DEDICATED, agreeing that once a photographer begins shooting to make others happy rather than for himself or herself, burnout is not far away.
“We should keep that childlike spirit in our hearts and search for adventure forever,” said Karbus. “I don’t care if I get an image which sells or not. I just want to go there and experience that place, experience the spirit of the place and photograph it. That’s it.”
“I don’t really care if stuff gets published or somebody else sees it,” said Beck. “The first person I want to be happy about it is myself. I’m just really excited about seeing a good picture and it doesn’t even have to be my good picture.”
Building on that, Black believes that maintaining real passion for photography requires that willingness to sacrifice other lesser things—such as extra spending money and free time—in pursuit of mastery. In that way, a photographer is not unlike an athlete.
“It’s striving towards perfection,” said Black. “[Athletes] push themselves and that’s something I think every photographer needs to do as well. Train hard, practice hard, [and] don’t let anybody say it can’t be done, that you can’t win.”
For Beck and Karbus, this means thinking of every photoshoot like a championship competition that must be won through rigorous effort and careful study of the subject.
“I treat everything I shoot, every person I shoot, as the most important shoot I’ll ever have,” said Beck. “I’ll be the first to admit, I’m probably not the best photographer out there, but I’d hate to think there was someone out there who would outwork me.”
“You can only create great images if you totally understand the subject,” said Karbus.
But as for what real passion for photography actually looks like, perhaps Black says it best:
“I think it’s just something pretty deep down inside. There’s a joy that comes from it,” said Black. “It all goes quiet when you know you’ve absolutely nailed [a shot] just the way you want. Sights, sounds, experiences, and heart all seem to come together at one point… [and] I’m somewhere else. This is passion. This is what photography is about to me.”
You can watch behind the scenes footage of the making of DEDICATED here:
DEDICATED was shot exclusively with the Nikon D4S by Nikon Ambassador Corey Rich as part of a 21-day assignment from Nikon. Rich filmed in seven different locations, including California, Utah, Florida, and Ireland using “small footprint production” techniques and gear that allowed him maximum efficiency without sacrificing quality.
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