I must warn you, before you delve too deeply into this post - I may cause you to lose much of your productivity today. At least thats what happend to me, maybe you've got better ninja focus skills.  I watched this very inspiring YouTube video, and then another, and then another. Then I looked up and 3 hours had gone by. Oh, internet.  This video struck me so profoundly though, that I felt I had to share.  In a TEDtalk filmed in Long Beach, California, musician and artist Amanda Palmer gave an impassioned speech about the art of asking, and how learning how to ask without shame or guilt had led to her success.

For most of human history, musicains, artists, they’ve been apart of the community; connectors and openers, not untouchable stars. Celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance...but the internet, and the content that we are freely able to share on it is taking us back. It’s about a few people loving you up close, and about those people being enough.
— Amanda Palmer

Beyond how engaging she remains through out the talk, I was struck by how transferable her comments were from the music industry, to the photography industry.  How when she says "Asking makes us vulnerable", I found myself shamefully nodding my head.  Something has seeped into the collective unconscious of the artistic community - that somehow asking for help, to ask for exposure, or asking for your work to be valued in a financial manner is somehow 'cheating' or 'selling out'.  That, if our work is good enough, if WE are good enough, people will find us on their own, people will buy our work, book our sessions, spread our names without any need for us to ask.  If we ask though, we are confirming that we aren't good enough, that our work is a failure, that we are failures. As wrong as this is, I can attest that I've thought it, I've had artistic peers share those thoughts with me, and I've seen it in our online communities.    

I think that what you begin to realize though, bit by bit, is that people want to help.  In a world that is so interconnected by technology, I think people are realizing how important and amazing human connections can be. Sometimes you just have to ask.

I hope that you find the talk as inspiring and thought provoking as I did, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  

JB

 

“Through the very act of asking people, I’d connected with them and when you connect with them, people want to help you.”