Skas is a well-known Indonesian fashion photographer. He has his studio in Jakarta and several really good campaigns on his account. So many photographers – at least ones I know – have no special education in this. He is a graphic designer. He was a fairly good graphic designer even before he became a very good photographer.
‘How did you become a photographer?’
‘I decided I would become a photographer and… I did.’
Skas is not very talkative. It can be said that he is the opposite of talkativeness. And to my every accusation (or rather expression of my discontent due to the communication difficulty), he replies: “we, Asians, do not talk as much as you do”. (He is probably nice and “you” as a collective is most likely euphemism for “you” as in “I”; but sometimes it’s worth pretending you cannot hear it. There is no need to get picky. :))
‘Ok, so you decided that you would become a photographer and how did it happen, that you did?’
‘I woke up and I said to myself: I WILL BE A PHOTOGRAPHER.’
Here the silence fell. I had to digest that very complicated recipe for success. Skas… well, as Skas does – he said his bit and flew away. He rarely looks into the eye when he talks, extremely rarely talks about himself and asks even less questions. It’s not that he doesn’t like to talk. But he only speaks when he has something to say. And then, just like a turtle – he hides in his shell.
‘Ok, so you woke up, decided… and then what?’
‘Then I got up, I went to the shop, bought the best camera I could afford and started taking pictures.’
I woke up – I thought – I did.
It is the story of a boy who went out with models, went to shows with them, from time to time took their photos – as a loving boy would (back then selfies were not so trendy yet) – and who one time woke up and decided he prefers to click photos instead of logos.
I love this story. It is painfully coherent – Skas says and does only as much as he has to. Here he also did only what he had to. And not a thing more… Between the decision and its implementation – was NOTHING. Emptiness. Zero.
I repeat the sequence of Skas’ actions all the time, like mantra.
“I got up. I made a decision. I did it. I became a photographer.”
Not one day. Not when the opportunity presents itself. Not next year. Not even since Monday. But today. Immediately. Straight after brushing the teeth. No waiting, no doubts, no analysis.
Skas taught me that it isn’t worth wasting time for thinking. If you know what you want… you need to make manly decisions. You want it – you do it!
I also quite quickly move from the idea onto its implementation, but my craziness has its limits. I always undergo a deep analytical process, testing possibilities, researching the market, checking on the Internet, weighing all pros and cons, commissioning referendum amongst my friends.
Then I wonder whether I really want this. Or maybe I want something else?
Later I consider whether this is DEFINITELY the best option, whether it’s sensible and what the chances of success are.
And here: STARTING TODAY, I WILL BE A PHOTOGRAPHER.
Do you want to know the further part of the story? How did he really become one?
You need to know one thing about Skas to understand how badly he wanted to be a photographer. He is a complete Miss Self-Reliance, painfully independent and self-sufficient. In every small aspect of his life he wants to do everything himself! When we are in the restaurant, I eat from his plate (yes, I am one of these people who think that the other person always orders better). He won’t even touch mine. He prefers to go and fish out the same fish I am eating than ask to try.
Asking about any favour is torture for him.
And when he woke up and decided that starting that day he would be a photographer, he went to the editorial office where his girlfriend worked and said: “I am not good yet. But I promise that I’ll do anything to be the best. Just give me a chance.”
And he started from the very bottom.
It wouldn’t be so impressive if he had had nothing to do or if he had just finished studies, but… he had a good job, he was a recognised graphic designer and theoretically he wasn’t missing anything.
Everything was ok except that one day he woke up and understood that that day he was someone else than he had been the day before. He fell asleep as a graphic designer; he woke up as a photographer.
As a person over-thinking and over-analysing – I am grateful for this lesson.
Now, when I wake up, I often ask myself: who are you today?
I’m a bit scared of the answer. Because now I know that whenever a new person awakes in you, you must take care of them and not let them snooze, moan, think, complain and wait.
We all change. All the time. What we wanted yesterday may be something else tomorrow. It is important to pay attention to who we are TODAY. What do we want? Why do we want it? Trusting own nature and intuition.
The fact that you WANT is the reason to DO. You don’t have to have reasons, proofs, opinions. Wake up, ask yourself what you want and… act! Such is Skas’ lesson for me.