Yesterday, I gave my 2nd conference of the week in Vancouver. After I reached the end of my speech on inspiration, the entire room was silent. I had gone almost an hour over the allocated time on my conference and for a microsecond I was worried that I had managed to, despite my hyperactive personality, to lull everyone into a coma… but when I began looking into the eyes of those in the front row, I realized that they were simply lost in thought: thinking, processing, reacting to what I had said. Even before the applause began, I breathed a sigh of relief because I knew that I had made an impact to, at the very least, a few people. That was all that mattered.

I attended my first workshop in 2011 with Brooke Shaden. I had been following her for over a year on Flickr and when I heard that she was going to be giving a workshop in New York, I cleared out my schedule to make the 6-hour drive from Montreal to attend her workshop. I had no expectations for the workshop other than to hang out with someone whose work I admired. I wasn’t disappointed. he photography and photoshop techniques were things I was already becoming acquainted with, but it was the inspirational way she worked that I found most fascinating. – The approach, thought process, philosophy and passion was what touched me.

5548050605 fe8cbc28c5 b Shot during Brooke’s workshop in 2011

Fast forward a couple years. I have grown enough to actually begin giving workshops of my own. Through a series of flukes and the power of facebook, I met a model by the name of Jen Brook. A couple of casual conversations later, I realized that she had aspirations & talent… but lacked the conviction to transform those aspirations into actions and pursue her dreams. I took it upon myself to give her that proverbial “kick in the ass” and have been encouraging her ever since. Though I am certain that she would have found her way sooner or later, with or without me, I did manage to open up her eyes on how to dream big and believe that anything is possible.

Tumblr inline mkn0snSh5H1qz4rgp

Moving forward a couple months, Jen has since launched her dreamcatcher project and had managed to gain enough traction and momentum, enough to attract the attention of none other than Brooke herself. Her passion for the art had now come around full circle… and in turn, she was now inspiring Brooke.

Over time, I have found that being generous, caring and compassionate just because I can, not because I expect anything in return, has given my life purpose and meaning.

So if anybody out there is wondering: Why do I try so hard to be visible, to be branded, to be different when none of that actually makes me a “better photographer”?

It is because it gives me a stronger voice that empowers me to make a positive impact in other peoples lives.

The idea is that if I can inspire a few, who then inspire a few others to inspire a few more… we can actually change the world.

The little things matter.
Projects like these matter.
And so do you.

My conferences have so far been all local based but one of my fans just cued me in to the possibility of speaking to the world – for free. Amazing.

Here is my submission to speak at Photographer’s Ignite, hosted by Creative Live.

Wish me luck 🙂

Announcements:

  • Upcoming workshops in Vancouver, and Edmonton!! Check them out here
  • I’m doing a reader survey to try and increase the quality of my blog! If you appreciate what I do, please take five minutes to complete it!! http://blog.vonwong.com/survey/

MORE AWESOMENESS:

  • Bob Rewski

    Hmmm. Mister Wong, if you allow constructive criticism, please consider this: Einstein, Michelangelo, Mozart and Barishnikov never set out to inspire others. Knowing Brooke personally, I can assure you that neither does she. Inspiration is always incidental, a consequence of the work you unselfishly do, not of your deliberate efforts to put your mark on the world. It is unfortunate that you are so thirsty for recognition and approval, that it drives and orients you so much, because I believe it prevents you from being truly free. And it is only in total freedom and detatchment from the effect you have on others that your true artistic expression can manifest itself. I feel sorry for you, as your suffering must be unbearable sometimes.

  • I hope you will get there, you should have your own course actually.

  • Jens Gerlach

    Hello, thank you very much for this inspiring post! Your page is very helpfull for me!
    Best wishes http://jenzflare.de