Harold Ramis on Ghostbusters, Collaboration

My friend, Kate Wing, sent me this glorious oral history of the movie, Ghostbusters. My favorite line was from Harold Ramis, who said:

Aykroyd used to look at me, Rick, and Bill, and say, “Three directors, four writers, no waiting.” If you didn’t have a good idea, someone else would.

This was Kate’s reaction to the line:

Exactly — isn’t that the kind of team you want to be on? Not worried about looking the best or competing, just being part of a continuous fountain of good ideas.

Yes. This is exactly the kind of team I want to be on, and it’s the kind of team I’ve been fortunate to have been on several times.

Amy Poehler on Creating and Collaborating

Here’s some delicious wisdom on creating and collaborating from an interview with the great Amy Poehler. (Hat tip to Michael Swaine for sharing!)

On power:

Power sometimes comes down to knowing the vocabulary, figuring out how the system works and how to work within it. You need to believe that you deserve to be in the room once you get there.

On functional collaboration:

I met a lot of the people I collaborate with now doing improv, and I’ve had the experience of being in functional creative environments. I don’t think creativity has to come from a place of dysfunction. It can come from nice people with good parents.

On caring and risk-taking:

To some people, not caring is supposed to be cool, commenting is more interesting than doing, and everything is judged and then disposed of in, like, five minutes. I’m not interested in those kinds of people. I like the person who commits and goes all in and takes big swings and then maybe fails or looks stupid; who jumps and falls down, rather than the person who points at the person who fell, and laughs. But I do sometimes laugh when people fall down.

Photo by Renee Barrera. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Photography and Extroverted Introversion

I spent a few days in Vancouver last month for work. I had a chance to take some pictures, including a few at the beautiful Capilano Salmon Hatchery. Afterward, I took the train down to Seattle.

The train ride was beautiful, but also foggy. Because my view was limited, I decided to pull out my laptop and post-process some photos. I had some work photos that I wanted to turn around quickly, and when I got through them, I started going through some of my travel photos.

I was totally oblivious to the people around me, including an older woman sitting next to me. When I got to the above picture, she decided to interrupt me.

“Are you a photographer?” she asked.

“No, I just like taking pictures,” I responded.

“I really like that one,” she said.

“Thank you! What do you like about it?” I asked.

She started walking me through the composition and the different shades of green. She had a sophisticated eye, and I started asking her about her own photography background. Her name was Ingrid, and when she was in her 20s, she moved to Alaska and worked as an assistant to wildlife photographer, Sam Kimura. She was sort of this hippie grandmother who had lived all along the West Coast and who had done all of these fascinating things in her life.

One of the unexpected pleasures of photography as a hobby is how it’s opened up people’s lives to me. I’m not an outgoing person, but photography gives me an excuse to talk to strangers. Several months ago, I was in a coffee shop in Japantown, and I noticed this person sitting next to me drawing cartoons. I watched him out of the corner of my eye for a while, then finally asked if I could take a picture of his journal.

He was very friendly and said it was okay. His name was Evan, and this was the way he journaled about his life. We chatted for about 15 minutes, and he showed me lots of drawings, explaining the different life events they represented. If it hadn’t been for my camera, I never would have struck up a conversation with him.

 

Having a camera is also an excuse not to talk to others. I’ve been in social situations where, for whatever reason, I haven’t felt like talking to anybody. I simply start taking pictures, sometimes without even excusing myself. No one seems to mind, and I end up having a good time.

My friend, Eugene, describes this kind of behavior as extroverted introversion, which describes my personality quite nicely. They like people. They even like talking to people, even strangers, but in doses, not buckets. Photography is the perfect hobby for extroverted introverts.

Photography Is About the Person Behind the Camera

I loved this 500px interview with Gabriele Liaudanskaite, a 17-year old Lithuanian food photographer. She only uses natural light, she mostly shoots in automatic mode, and she uses a cheap kit lens. And, her photos are gorgeous. Further proof that photography is ultimately about the person behind the camera, not the tool itself.

She also offered some excellent advice for beginning photographers on developing their voice:

One should not be afraid to begin with ordinary pictures: blooming tulips in grandma’s yard, oh-my-god-how-awesome clouds at sunset, touristic pictures of famous landmarks from a very boring angle, close-ups of friend’s new puppy or kitty or whatever. Only after taking such photos one will start to feel the need to become different.

Never Compromise

I’ve been an Aaron Huey fanboy since seeing his amazing photography of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at Pop-Up Magazine a few years back. He’s the only person I follow on Instagram whom I don’t actually know in real life.

Yesterday, he posted a photo from his latest assignment. Because he’s a National Geographic photographer, he has a huge following (more than 40,000 followers) on Instagram, and his pictures get a ton of comments, most of which I ignore. However, one comment from this picture stood out to me, largely due to its boldness. It was from Andrew Griswold, who himself has a huge Instagram following. Andrew wrote:

Hey Aaron, huge fan of your work. My wife were just talking about this last night and I was curious how exactly do you become a photographer for @natgeo? As it being the holy grail of jobs for me I was just curious how your path brought you there. Would love to connect! Hit me up anytime.

I loved Aaron’s response:

Secret is to never compromise (no plan B) and you’ll likely need to shoot one thing deeper/better than its ever been shot before. Forget single images. Shoot a story.

Great advice for aspiring artists of all ilks, including social artists.