I’ve just recently read an article in an issue of Professional Photographer Magazine. The article was entitled, “Was is your secret ingredient?”. In the article, the author gives an analogy from the Disney animated movie “Kung Fu Panda” where Mr. Ping (the goose), the adopted Father of Po (the Panda), explains that the sacred “Secret Ingredient” to his popular noodles is imaginary. There is no secret ingredient. Mr. Ping explains that one just has to believe that there is a “Secret Ingredient” in order for it to be considered special. The author uses this story to express her personal philosophy and motivation of believing in yourself and expressing that positive attitude towards her clients.
Inspired by this article and the author‘s analogy, I wanted to write about my own article of motivation and inspiration for others to read. One of my favorite Disney animated movies is “Ratatouille”. It is a simple story about a rat who believes that he is far about the average rodent with an extreme desire, passion, and natural talent for food and cooking.
Remy, the rat, is inspired by a legendary French Chef, Gusteau, who published a cook book entitled, “Anyone can cook.” This was the basic philosophy of the late Chef as his inspiration for anyone interested in cooking. Remy was constantly barrage by his family and external forces that he should learn to except “the normal” and not to upset the “standard order” of life.
Like many of us, our friends and families may be our biggest discouragement from our dreams and desire. We may be constantly reminded that we are either “Not good enough”, “Not educated enough”, or “That’s not a safe decision” from the very same people whom we are suppose to lean on for help and get advice from.
For Remy, there was no moral support for his desires and passions from his immediate surroundings, except from the ghostly apparition of the late Chef. I will equate this scenario to that little voice that we hear inside our own head telling us that we are definitely “good enough” and “talented enough” to achieve those aspirations.
Chef Gusteau’s emotional and physical demise comes from a negative review of a restaurant / food critic named Anton Ego. The words of this one person were strong enough to bring down the great legendary Chef. This character symbolizes all the negative people and forces that barrage our minds and drain our motivations from our dreams.
Remy finally becomes the “Little Chef” that he always wanted to be. His creations have created an overwhelming popular rage in the restaurant world. Indirectly, he is confronted by the same critic who brought down the great Chef,Gusteau. Without any hesitation and doubts, Remy prepares a very simple dish from the Chef’s list of recipes, Ratatouille, for the critic to review. Ego is extremely overwhelmed and pleased by the simple meal and demands to meat the Chef. After discovering the true identity of the meal’s creator, Ego has a complete revelation about his reviews. He writes one last final glowing review of his career with a new appreciation for this industry. However, there is one line in the movie that I believe most people with miss its understanding. In his review Ego is stating his new found enlightenment and understanding of Chef Gusteau’s motto “Anyone can cook”. But, the last line in the movie, Ego says “…only a few can be a great Chef.”
This last segment brings me back to the industry of photography. As a Professional Photographers and a Photography Instructor, I meet dozens of people who struggle with these same elements of life. They tell me that they are either “not confident enough” or “not skilled enough” to be a good photographer. Confidence and Skills are like Yin and Yang.
They compliment each other and one does not exist without the other. As one’s Skills develop, their Confidence builds and as one builds more Confidence, they begin to increase their Skill levels. However, it all starts with education. Make an investment into your personal development and seek out all the educational venues that you can afford. Photography education DOES NOT have to be expensive in order to be beneficial. I have personally learned from Community College classes, Online Webinars, Traveling Road-Show Seminars, and participating in Photography Club’s Workshops. I have never spent over $100.00 for a single one-day event to learn something about photography or digital editing. There are hundreds of resources out there. You just have to be WILLING enough to seek them out and participate in them.
Just remember that “Anybody can cook”, but it take years of training and education to become a Chef. Just like Photography, anyone can take a Snap Shot of an image, but it takes training and education to become a true photographer.