The Wisdom of Jay Maisel

Known for his outspoken and brash wisdom, Jay Maisel shares his stuff on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider Blog

Nobody Asked Me, But…
When I was starting out (okay, 55 years ago) I showed my work to an art director named Bob Cato. He went thru my folio carefully, slowly, closed the book and said, “You walk too fast.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. At first I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, but over the years it has become clear. It’s about the intimacy of walking.

Think of it this way… In the 20th century some of the most memorable images were taken from the moon, jets, small planes, and helicopters, and each showed us the world a bit more intimately from points of view we never experienced before. As we got closer to the surface of the earth we began to see more evidence of mankind. We can find exciting examples of images shot from boats, trains, cars, etc., all of which are closer to the subjects and begin to be more than studies or patterns. It is, however, not as intimate, since after all, you’re still in a moving vehicle. It is not until you start walking that you begin to see details of life, where insights, evaluations, and relationships come to you. So finally, I began to understand what Cato said. I was walking too fast. I had confused covering ground with comprehension. When we shoot we should savor what goes on in front of us, allow things to develop, anticipate things, not be in such a hurry to move on to see how much more we can see quickly and superficially. It’s all there, if we take our time and look, things have a way of happening in front of you. Standing still is also a good way of covering things; just let the world come to you. To paraphrase an old cliché – Don’t do something, just stand there. Be patient. Read the Photoshop Insider blog featuring Jay Maisel!

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