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BUM Life: The Learned Photographer

“BUM life” is a weekly blog following the everyday tasks and experiences of Boise Urban Magazine marketing, photo and journalism interns. Aspects of marketing, photography and journalism are highlighted each week to demonstrate the learning process and growth of being an intern in today’s market.

This week’s BumLife blog is written by photo intern, Joe Morgan.

Though my time with Boise Urban Magazine (BUM) has been brief, I would like to share with you a few of the lessons to be learned in our particular environment (which is not unlike many other enviroments) if only you allow yourself to be open – increasingly open. To preface, I hope I never stop learning. Yet, amidst my learning, I always try to find time to teach. If any of these points are unclear please leave a comment, ask a question, etc.

1) The values of a startup for a young photographer.

BUM, in its infancy and as a startup, provides a world of opportunity to an aspiring photographer. Chiefly among those is the opportunity to be autonomous and to realize your artistic limits. For example, my first assignment was to conjure up an idea; a photojournalistic idea that would not only impress my new colleagues but set a new standard for photojournalism at BUM.

That venture soon failed and I was back to square one. Lesson #1: It is far too easy to let our ambitions run wild. Every now and then it’s valuable, even commendable, to be overambitious and it is necessary to fail. In the small-scale, often-autonomous world of startup companies, ambition, failure and the outcome of both allow an artist to thrive.

2) Only you can strip away your own accomplishments.

It’s all too easy to make comparisons – to compete. My apparent need to compete is likely due to my amateur status as a photographer. Nevertheless, I can’t believe I’m the only one on this aspiration train fueled by competition.

The important thing to remember when chasing the next best thing is the only person you’re ever competing with in art is yourself. I believe I’ve been at this long enough to know that I’m most happy and successful with my work when it’s authentic and not a byproduct of competition with another photographer’s shots.

What I’m saying is allow yourself to be inspired but set your own standards, don’t allow those standards to be set for you. In training for a triathlon, worrying about the swimming portion of the event, someone gave me a simple yet applicable piece of advice – swim in your own lane. Much of life is a competition with yourself – not anyone else.

I hope you find time to get out and capture whatever it is that inspires you. Paint. Write. Dance. But, keep in mind, life isn’t a competition and failure is a building block to fruition.

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