Give Yr Prada to the Poor, 2012
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One of the podcasts I like to listen to from time to time is Ibarionix Perello’s The Candid Frame. (How’s that for a name!) Perello just began the eighth year of producing and hosting this wonderful series of recorded interviews with well-known photographers. They talk about their work, how they got started, what inspires them and how they deal with the challenges of making a living as a photographer.
A recent guest on The Candid Frame was Vancouver-based photographer David duChemin. Back in 2010 I wrote about my admiration for duChemin and for the pdf publishing operation, Craft & Vision, he founded.
In this week’s conversation Perello asked duChemin about his recovery from a nearly fatal fall off a wall in Italy two years ago. duChemin started by outlining the expected physical limits this accident inflicted on him. (All in all, he just happy to be walking, even with a limp.)
But the recovery was also a chance for introspection and comparison of his own life with his fellow therapy patients whose prospects were not as hopeful. To start with, duChemin came away from this experience ever more determined to appreciate the opportunity that each day gives us, especially in view of his newfound appreciation of how rapidly and unexpectedly life can change.
Even more interesting was duChemin’s newfound rejection of the whole idea of competition. “I used to be jealous of a lot of photographers and I was very aggressive when it came to competitions. But now I’m not, and I don’t worry about competitions.” From that observation rolled a lengthy conversation about creating art for your own sake and for the purpose of expressing an idea rather than just to please other people.
I’ve always been jealous of any number of other photographers. I used to be jealous when even my friends whose photography I admire got recognized in some way. Eventually I realized how wasteful, counterproductive and simply unkind that was. It bothered me that I had been, however briefly, the kind of person to hold such jealousies.
Listening to duChemin talk about his jealousies at least assured me that I wasn’t alone in having such vanities and that the act of recognizing it may have actually freed me to do better work.