Carol Friedman’s Advice for Young Photographers

Question: What are some common mistakes \r\nthat novice photographers\r\nmake?


Carol Friedman: This \r\nwhole business of all these lenses is ridiculous.  You\r\n know, it’s like you have to capture\r\nyour picture.  You have to create\r\nit.  You have to see it.  You\r\n have to seize it and you have to\r\nmove in to get it, so those lenses are just an escape of some sort or a\r\nshield.  I think that people get\r\ninto trouble when they photograph something that they... that is not in \r\ntheir\r\nworld.  It’s like when they say\r\n"write what you know."  I can’t tell\r\nyou how many reshoots I’ve done from, you know, famous photographers who\r\n really\r\nlove just to shoot models and failed at shooting a Patti Labelle or \r\nsomeone\r\nlike that because Patti Labelle didn’t turn them on, so you have to \r\nshoot what\r\nyou care about.  For me if there is\r\nnot a component of intelligence or music or culture or something that is\r\n fascinating\r\nto me I really don’t care about photographing the person. \r\n That is just it’s about that\r\npsychological exchange.  That is\r\nwhat is interesting to me.  I think\r\nthat people have to just go with their gut and follow their passion if \r\nthey’re\r\nphotographers.


Question: Who have been your mentors in \r\nthe music industry?


Carol Friedman: \r\nOkay.  Just I really have\r\nbeen lucky to have a lot of mentors in the music industry. \r\n Quincy Jones, Ahmet Ertegun, Jerry\r\nWexler, Bob Krasnow, Bruce Lundvall, you know all label heads and that \r\nera is\r\nagain, the music industry era is gone, but those rules still apply, \r\nbecause you\r\nknow the record business is kind of a metaphor for life in a lot of \r\nways, just\r\nbecause of all the components that had to come together and make an \r\nartist. And\r\nmost of these people except for Ahmet, you know, came from the street \r\nand built\r\nempires, and you asked before about what would I recommend to young\r\nphotographers.  Make sure you have\r\nmentors, you know, to teach you, because you can’t just intuit life by\r\nyourself, especially now.


Question: Have you ever acted as a mentor\r\n yourself?


Carol Friedman: I think mentoring is \r\nessential in life, both\r\nbeing a mentor to someone and being mentored, and I think that when you \r\nare\r\nmentored it inspires a generosity in you to mentor others and that I \r\nknow is\r\nwhat happened with me, so for instance, the people that come through my \r\nstudio\r\nto work for me, it’s not good enough for me to just give them a \r\npaycheck.  I want to help them get to where\r\nthey…  You know I don’t care if\r\nit’s you know an intern or a full-time employee.  I\r\n want to help them arrive at who they are or who they want\r\nto be in the world and that is one of the questions I ask them when I \r\nmeet\r\nthem.  You know, who do they want\r\nto be.  So I think that that’s an\r\nessential part of life and if you don’t get to do that and receive it \r\nyou’re missing\r\nsomething.

Recorded on April 21, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen

Stop obsessing over lenses, and "make sure you have mentors."

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