Today I saw two examples that the saying, “Do what you love and the money will come” has some validity. Interestingly enough, both examples involve photographers.
The first example is Joel Robison whose ability to look at the world differently landed him a dream gig with Coca-Cola.
A few years into his photography, Joel took a picture of a few Coke bottles in the snow and posted it on Flickr. A friend of his suggested he send the photo to Coca-Cola in hopes they’d use it. At the time, Joel laughed it off and didn’t think anything of it.
“It was about a year later that I got this message from someone that works inside Coke saying, ‘Hey we’d like to take your picture and share it on Twitter. Would you be OK with that?’” Joel says, “I was very excited, and it made my day.”
“About three weeks later, I got this phone call from them saying they had developed a project for me to moderate their Flickr community,” Joel recalls. “They [Coca-Cola] wanted me to take their Flickr page, help it grow and to use my photos to encourage other people to submit their photos based around their positive themes.”
Joel moderated Coca-Cola’s Flickr community for about a year and a half. When it was all over, Coca-Cola presented Joel with an incredible opportunity.
“In 2013, they offered me a role on the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour,” Joel says. “It’s a worldwide tour, led by Coca-Cola and FIFA, taking the FIFA World Cup Trophy on a world tour of 90 countries. And they offered me the role of photographer and voice of social media. I was shocked.”
“It totally changed the course of my life,” Joel admits. “I was able to quit my job and accept photography as my full-time career, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been non-stop, I feel more passionate about it every day, and I feel like I am allowed to share with the world what I see, and I feel very supported in that.”
— Imaginative Photographer Lands World Tour Job At Coke | Flickr Bog
Joel was a teacher before, but didn’t really feel as if he was connected to the creative part of his mind. One day he bought a cheap camera on eBay, taught himself about photography and Photoshop and the rest is history.
Notice that his breakthrough did not happen overnight. It took years.
Scott Schuman, aka, the Sartorialist. I’ve followed Scott’s blog for a long time. What pulled me to it was his authenticity. He was one of the trail blazers who paved the way for the fashion bloggers who now sit on the front row during Fashion Week.
He is also a self-taught photographer. His work has landed him commissioned ad campaigns with Nespresso, DKNY Jeans, Gant, OVS, Crate & Barrel, and Absolut. Burberry commissioned him to shoot a really cool (on his blog described as groundbreaking) social-media advertising campaign “Art of The Trench.” His photographs are displayed as part of the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Plus he has two books.
But today, I read that he now teaches a social media course at Domus Academy (way to go Scott).
Once again, none of this happened overnight. He started his blog in 2005.
If there is something that you really love to do, do it and let your love for it feed your efforts. If you do this, I really believe that sooner or later (most likely later) you will reap monetary benefits from your efforts. There’s no such thing as a lasting, overnight success.