Saturday, June 16, 2012

Advice from the Editor-in-Chief of GQ India

So I sat down with a few of the editors (who have by this time become friends) at Conde Naste India the other day and one of them was Che Kurrien, the editor in chief of GQ India.

The video interview will take some time to edit but I did want to talk about a few great things Che touched on during our chat. These are not direct quotes because I haven't gone through the entire footage.

A key thing Che talked about was needing to stay hungry as an artist. He deals with and meets a ton of creative people so he's definitely a source worth listening to.

He mentions that as creative people we may reach a point where we've worked our asses off and feel that we've reached a certain level of expertise and renown. At this point we may feel that we're somehow 'entitled' to the work that comes our way, that somehow we should be able to sit back and enter what Che calls the 'collection' phase of our careers.

Once we've done that he says bluntly, we're creatively dead. That's right, entitlement is equal to creative death.

I notice this in my own life and career. Some of my most creative and alive moments in life were when I had no idea how my work would pay the bills or when the next job would come from. It was a time of blind creative faith and juicy vital output. I was hungry and most definitely more than a little foolish

So when my editorial and ad jobs started pouring in, the abundance of which, ironically, was based on the strength of the imagery I created in my 'poor, starving artist days', it was tempting to slip into apathy and entitlement.

Avoid this at all costs say Che; remember the passion that got you to where you are. Don't become 'fattened.' Stay hungry and foolish as one other well known entrepreneur was fond of saying.

Another interesting point Che made is the idea of personal work and commercial work. GQ is a great combo of creative and commercial style photography. It not a fine art magazine but its not fully of dry, boring commercial style photography either; its a great melting of both.

Che says at one point in the interview that its easy to be creative with your own work and your own ideas, with no client on board. The great photographer, he insists, can be as creative with a client brief as they can with their own work.

How you apply your creativity to someone's concepts is the sign of a successful photographer. I can assure you that this is true, for its hard to afford to be otherwise. Bringing your own ideas to the client brief or trying something new once you feel like you have the shot but still a bit of time to spare, going the extra mile not just for the client, but for yourself and your artistry. These are all hallmarks of the hungry photographer.

There's lots more great stuff but I'm going to leave it for the interview edit.


Anonymous said...

Insightful article !

Anonymous said...

Translation: Don't expect to get paid much.