Ok, it’s not flesh and blood but it may as well be, because when your very first book gets published it feels like giving birth to another child. Although producing a book will give you sleepless nights, waves of excitement, and pangs of anxiety – you generally do not throw up, gain 50 pounds or acquire stretch marks!
There is something oddly surprising about holding your first book in your hands. All the hard work is done, nothing can be changed, your images and words are printed on an actual paper page and it’s no longer an idea or dream, it’s very very real.
Of course, like any endeavor you care a lot about there are things you would do differently given more time, better light, wings to fly to the moon….but right now I am taking the time to savor the moment and enjoy the accomplishment. I highly recommend the process to any of you who are contemplating a book or long term project.
If you are brave enough to launch a book I guarantee you will be infected by a longing for place, your curiosity and respect for the people you meet along the way will increase, and your photography will grow by leaps and bounds because the project demands it. You have to do more than you normally do well, you have to move beyond your comfort zone and “photographic templates” because you have an entire story to tell.
Speaking of telling stories, this is where I thank my friend and collaborator David Middleton. If you know him, you know that he is nothing if not a master story teller. He did a great job of prodding me, and not always gently I might add, to find the whole story. It turns out that it takes some discipline (still working on that part!) not to spend an hour on another great pile of gear and go get a shot of someone eating a lobster dinner, but that, as I learned the hard way is what a pro does. You get what you need and then you move on. When you undertake a book you serve the bigger story not your own indulgences.
The other thing David beat into my head, almost successfully, is that you do the very best you can at the moment. You prepare, you work deliberately, you “keep your wits about you”, and then you get the best shot you can. Full stop. Some winters the snow doesn’t come, and some days the light sucks, but you don’t freak out, you make the very best choice you can in those conditions.
Between the two of us we created a book that we are both proud of. Hey, there is no birth without pain no matter what they tell you, but we didn’t kill each other, rather we pushed and encouraged each other to do our very best work. That, I found out, is what collaborators do. Thank you David, see how much I learned?
Let me know if you’d like a signed copy, ask your local bookstore, or pop over to amazon and be the first on your block to get a copy…. or two!
So here it is, The Lobstering Life, a labor of love.
I just pray books don’t turn into teenagers….
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