I once read something about a professional basketball player who absolutely hated being labeled as one of the most talented players in the NBA. “Talent”, as he put it, diminished all the hard work that he put into becoming one of the GOATs of the NBA. Certainly, being born with a 6’6″ 230lb muscular frame helps, but you don’t get to be the best version of yourself simply by showing up; you’ve got to do the work.
This is true whether you’re an athlete, artist, musician, chef…or whatever your calling is: when you are a “Professional XYZ”, your sole mission in life should only be about taking your craft to the next level. Natural-born talent gets your foot in the door; but how far you go is entirely up to you because nothing else matters.
And do you know what else these professional athletes (artists, musicians, chefs, etc) all have in common? They all do it for the love of what they do, even when you remove all the financial incentives. From pick-up games to doodles, to jam sessions and personal work – they do it because they love it, and gain nothing but the satisfaction of having done something well.
Which brings us to how and why we ended up photographing Andrea & James in the middle of a Nevada desert. In the past two years, I’ve been adding more and more personal work into my schedule, along with attending photography workshops and conferences around the world. More recently, Karis & I signed up to attend the WPPI Conference in Las Vegas around the same time Andrea reached out to us about doing a “Trash the Dress” session. The conversation went something like this (not verbatim, but I imagine I’m pretty close):
Andrea: I was thinking about doing a “trash the dress” session. Maybe something with the ocean, or with a pool? What do you think?
Me: How about Vegas in February? Maybe we can go into the desert, maybe we ca…
And just like that, we found ourselves playing in the middle of a desert.
We had so much fun, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out their Behind-The-Scenes video here (their BTS starts at 3:51 – be sure to Like & Subscribe!):