Last week I received a last minute request to assist a young lady who was covering the Prince’s Trust “People’s Catwalk”, a charity event hosted at the Trafford centre, Manchester. The young lady I refer to is Liz Henson ( http://www.lizhenson.co.uk ), who had been given the task of organising a team of photographers for each day over the weekend.
The idea of working a very long day, under someone elses direction, doesn’t seem to appeal to a lot of photographers. Tell them they’ll be doing it for free, and you tend to lose any audience you have. Is it because as a whole, we expect payment for everything we do? I know some aspects of our work are seen by the public as nothing more than cash cows, and I work in one of those areas. Weddings.
Just for a moment, look beyond the usual and immediate rewards you tend to get for your work. You can benefit in far more ways if you think about it.
I agreed to help, because I have a lot of respect for Liz as a photographer, and I consider her to be a friend. If I get a call from a friend to say they need help, I at least try to make room in my schedule to do so. Did I benefit from the event? absolutely! At the end of the day I was tired, but I felt good, having helped raise money for a very worthwhile charity. Was that the only benefit? not by a long way.
I met Jeff Banks, the designer, who’s the man behind The People’s Catwalk, and presented the whole weekend with humour. A really nice guy, I have to say. I also spent time with people who care about other people, and that’s always worth while.
I don’t accept every request I get, I pick and choose very carefully, and of course it does depend on my schedule. But if the request comes from a friend, and it’s for a worthwhile cause, it tends to get far more consideration.
It’s not all about money.