Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

Which sage to listen to

January 16th, 2010 2 comments

This week I’ve been listening to my back log of the ASX podcast.  I’m not going to be investing any time soon but my house mate is actively investing so the interest has rubbed off on me.

Usually the subject matter on the podcast is about either how to invest (not what to invest in) or why world events like the depression and GFC occur.  It’s an interesting listen even if you’re not interested in investing in the share market.

The people that talk on the podcast have all been in the industry for decades and all, I would assume, are very successful at investing in the share market.  Despite that, no two speakers seem to have the same philosophy on how to invest and why things happen.  You’d expect that since they’re all successful that they’d all share the same view of how things are.

They do have some things in common, but for the most part their advice, their process and their beliefs are different and sometimes contradictory.  One pundit says to prefer shares that don’t pay dividends but use their profit to increase the equity of the business.  Another pundit says not to invest in a company unless it pays dividends.

Now when I listen to each speaker, I resonate with what each says.  I can see where he’s coming from and I have the confidence that his way is a good way to do things.  But if I can agree with two opposing ideas, isn’t that paradoxial?

Yes, it is.  But that’s ok!  I heard a long time ago (from a pundit) that accepting paradox is a useful trait to have.  Most of us, when presented with two contradicting lines of thought, become paralysed and eventually polarised to one of the choices.

I’ve noticed that the photography scene is very much like the investment scene in this regard.  I have read many blog posts, listened to many pod casts and learned from a number of working photographers and what I’ve noticed is that what one photographer says is an essential thing to do, another photographer will say is a waste of time.

One photographer swears by using a light meter and reflectors.  Another doesn’t even own either.

I respect both photographers, immensely.  I see their work and I am blown away but the quality.  Yet they use totally different methods!

Of course, one is a model photographer and the other is a wedding photographer.  You could argue that a wedding photographer needs to travel light and cut down on the toys.  The model photographer needs to more control as agencies have specific imagery in mind.  Wedding client usually don’t have specific ideas, they just want you to capture the moments.  That’s not to say that wedding photographer is of a lesser standard, it just means the focus is on the content of the photographs.  Even so, the standard of wedding photography is quite high!

But most of the time I can’t find reasons why two professional have different views.  It’d be nice to know why their philosophies are different to make it easier to choose which philosophy aligns with my own preferences but it’s not always possible.

So, as I said before, it’s better to just accept that experts have different views and that each one has validity and that there’s probably a good reason for the difference.  It probably does condense down to a common idea but it’s not economical for you to try to find that common idea.

I try to pick small ideas from the experts that suit me.  The biggest thing I got from the wedding photographer I mentioned earlier is “pack light”.  Don’t take so much stuff.  But I still take a reflector with me to shoots even though he doesn’t like using them.  The reason is that the lesson I learned from him was not a specific thing like “reflectors are too big to carry to shoots and don’t add anything”, it was to only take what you need and that you can make fantastic images with less than you think!

The thing I want you to take away from this is when you’re learning about a new craft you’re going to be bombarded with many opposing views from people that use those principles successfully.  Take the  advice that speaks to you and incorporate it into your strategy.