I hear that a lot. Also, I hear, "You are generous with other photographers. Why is that?"
Why not? I've been in this biz for 40 years. I have had periods where I have slowed down a bit (when surrounded by a houseful of rambunctious children, for instance), but for the most part, it has been a passion. It was a passion long before I was being paid to do it!
So, why am I not competitive? Why am I generous? My husband would say that it is in my nature, and he would also say that I am a terrible business woman. But if someone were trying to steal him from me, you can bet that I would become competitive!
Here are the reasons why:
I am getting older. I have had a wonderful ride in the world of photography. There has always been something innovative going on. There has always been room to grow and to learn. It has been challenging and a lot of fun. It has been a place for me to express my intense and creative needs to express visually. I get excited when I get to know photographers who are at the beginning of that same path. Some fall away from it, usually pretty early on when they find out that it isn't as glamorous or easy as they had thought. But there are those who have the passion. For those, I am willing to share. I can't take all of the photos that need to be taken. I can only take those within my own visual world. I am willing to impart what I can before I am gone.
I believe in synergy. I know a lot of wonderful photographers, and I love to see their work and see their attempts to master some new aspect of light or color, or form. I love how we can inspire each other. We are able to understand each other, help each other, support each other, and motivate each other to push the envelope. We learn from each other. We are kindred souls.
If a newbie photographer comes to me with questions, I almost feel like he or she is a child of mine, a newbie, I want to patiently and gently answer the questions to the best of my ability.
I have lost a lot of good assistants this way. They become great assistants and the next thing I know, they are out doing their own photo sessions. I may even assist them, if I am free to do so. I love to assist other photographers. I love being a part of the creative process.
I have been a crew member for stage productions. I am dressed in black behind the scenes, helping to create the magic that the audience experiences. I have been asked to be on the stage itself, several times, which always a surprise each time. I always turn it down, well, usually. I want to be part of a creative team. I don't want to be a star. I have also done a lot of stage photography. That is as much stage light as I ever want to be in. I love that creative process of creating something that visual.
I love to be a second shooter for weddings. Again, it is being a part of a creative team.
But mostly, it comes down to this. I have been richly blessed with this creative life, and I am happy to share it with others. And maybe there is a part of me that feels that sharing it with others makes it more likely that it will continue on, and on.