Blog

Playing the “Long Game”

40

 

I turned 40 this week… and with that comes a lot of reflection. And truth be told: so far this upcoming decade looks to be PHENOMENAL.

Yet with that comes a little responsibility. At least in my opinion. So here goes:

There are a lot of readers of this blog. People of all ages, of all income types, and of all backgrounds and interests from all over the world.

To date, at least according to Google Analytics nearly 15,000,000 people have visited this blog. Let’s say even 10% of that is true:

 

Pretty cool.

 

To that end, I wanted to share only one thing I’ve learned, and it started with my job at The New York Times.

ALWAYS PLAY THE LONG GAME. NEVER TAKE SHORTCUTS. IT WILL PAY OFF IN SPADES.

What I mean is, to be clear: I’ve been offered a lot of shortcuts along the way. And I’ll take any person up to task to take me up on the offer that I ever chose one over (what I least I perceived to be) the right thing to do…

And I think that’s important to hear … (ergo this post) and more importantly: to SAY.

Why?

Because this world has become all about shortcuts. About NOW.

An “Insta” something …

A “Let my BUY this NOW.” Let me learn this “NOW” and instantly “Master” it.

If you don’t see the thick irony of the guy that some others have termed “The Godfather of the HDSLR movement” (for better or for worse) telling you not to take shortcuts… well… think about it…

I used to worry that a light would fall on my head every time I stepped on a union set…

And then a very few short years later I became one of the guys complaining about “these young guys… yada yada yada..”

And this quickly taught me that the only constructive thing that I could possibly try to do,  was to share an mentor any of those who wanted to listen to my gibberish… and that that was realistically the best thing I could TRY to do…

Well… 10,000 hours still applies no matter what anyone sells you on in my opinion, for what’s that worth.

The best – and clearly not the most efficient way – for you to learn, is by trial an error.  Only then can you TRULY understand.

And that’s not to say that there isn’t incredible value in a good teacher that can save you a TON OF PAIN in trial and error…  But they can’t replace the discipline that that pain & stubbornness (or stupidity?)  causes you to adopt.

Far too many of us have seemed to have lost sight of the fact that anything we value, we value because of the hard work we put into it

I hate to sound preachy, but anything you value, is because it’s something you had to fight for.

The single scariest thing about the trends I see happening today is that we’re entering an age of “Good Enough” and not a pursuit of excellence and a singular obsession with dreaming wild and crazy things…

Too many these days seem to be satisfied with what a close friend of mine would term as, in an ever eloquent economy of words as: “Meh.”

I simply have none of the answers to these big questions, but I can tell you that at least in my own eyes an in my 40 years on this earth here’s what I’ve learned and am willing to share (clearly only to my own detriment) :

1. The happiness of your children is the most important thing in life – if you have them. Then come the people around you, if you don’t have children.

2. The health and happiness of your family comes next. Truth be told: you don’t get to pick your family… just sayin’

3. Your friends and relationships w/ others in your personal and business life are some of the most important things you will ever have.

So with that said, if I could impart one of the single most important lessons I’ve learned in these 40 years:

It’s that during my formative years as a very lucky to be hired photojournalist at The New York Times, the most venerable Newspaper to be around (arguably I’m sure) took 100+ years to build up its reputation… is that despite then TENS OF THOUSANDS of dedicated journalists lives that it took to build up that Newspaper over DECADES… that reputation was DECIMATED by two journalist in 1-2 years who destroyed her trust… (do your own research) By their opting to take shortcuts…

And what I learned from them was: NEVER TAKE SHORTCUTS…

Doesn’t  take a genius now does it?  … Garbage in.. Garbage out.   Share something valuable… people will continue to listen.  Again:  FAR FROM ROCKET SCIENCE.  The term “obvious” or “logical” comes to mind…

So:

Take the long road… treat others as fairly as you can. ALWAYS CHOOSE THE DIFFICULT PATH – the “LONG GAME.” Even if you don’t, truly know why…

And, if I can be an example to a single one of you, I will say: playing the long game pays off in spades.

If not publicly, I can tell you it pays off professionally.

So for what’s that worth, as we all are offered new ways of cutting corners and getting “instant gratification” these days… I can share only one thing that may possibly of value to a few of you:

We only value the things we work hard for, and invest in… LONG TERM.

So with that said. I’m blessed to reach 40. To have two wonderful kids. And a family that’s despite its numerous best efforts is not completely screwed up just yet.  And truth be told I truly appreciate everyone of you reading this blog.

Sincerely – Vincent Laforet

p.s.: if this gives a SINGLE one of you the inspiration to take the tougher path… rather than the shortcut… It will make all the grief I receive for writing this very, very worthwhile.

 

NYC ” Night Over” Series next steps…

I didn’t think I’d ever experience anything quite like the launch of “Reverie” in 2008. The “MoVI” short 2 years ago was close, but limited to the world of motion.

But this latest series of “Night Over” New York City Photographs that I photographed at a high altitude over the Big Apple may just have eclipsed those those and all of the other things I’ve done… and potentially COMBINED.

Simply put – it’s safe to say that these images struck a chord with people from around the world.    My head is definitely still spinning.

But this is likely just the start… following millions of views,  many dozen interviews from around the globe, I think it’s safe to say we’ll see more of another series of these images.

To that end, if you’d like to stay in touch (or to see the original project in case you missed it!) and to potentially be a part of such future projects in the near future that will likely take place around the world, please go to:

http://www.storehouse.co/fromabove/

And feel free to share this with friends… this has the potential to be something very special.  I’m definitely very excited.

Thanks for all of the feedback and support! More to come as soon as the dust settles!

Follow this project as it expands to other cities...

Follow this project as it expands to other cities…

 

Gotham 7.5K The Scariest & Most Beautiful Flight of My Career

Flight over NYC?   Check

In a Helicopter with door off?  Check

At night?  Check

At 7,500 feet?  Wait… what?  

This was an incredible adventure – and to be honest self-imposed.  I’d always wanted to see NY from all the way up there.  Well we all catch a glimpse of this view when we land at JFK or LGA – but you can never make clean photos from an airplane’s window seat…  at least not looking down.    And when you’re in a helicopter: the vibrations make it very hard to photograph at night.

But with the right preparation, it finally worked this time: