By KIKE CALVO
(Translation by Sari Levy)
Original article in Spanish
These days, while I was recording my video “Rain,” I suffered a heavy fall in the jungle. I had slipped on a bridge “slightly” slippery as a consequence of / due to the rain and the moss. The fall, combined / in conjunction with long periods of contemplation, orthopedic collar included, and various sedatives / relaxants, I set to think about/over a compendium of rules, that all those who wish to follow/pursue a career in the difficult world of photography ought to remember:
1. “You will photograph. If you leave…” My grandfather Enrique would always allude to the phrase “You will live. If you leave…” I think that this phrase is realized in the current environment of photography. This can be understood in two ways: First: As photographers, in addition to being artists, we must also obtain permits or simply pass by unnoticed. Second: The profession is more and more complex, and sadly there are many who will stay on the road / fall by the wayside.
2. “Nobody is perfect except the CAPTAIN”: The recent creation of a blog dedicated to / in the memory of my father, made me remember, after reading a note from my brother Nano, in which / that he used again and again. In photography, as in life, nobody is perfect. We are all searching for / seeking a dream or using photography as a means of artistic expression, or maybe only as a hobby using our IPhone and programs such as / like Instagram, but be that as is may / either way / regardless, we need to help each other. (As) The future of our beloved profession is intimately linked to the respect of the work of others.
3. “The Wheel of Life”: The Cubans speak of “cachumbabé.” The salsa singer Gilberto SantaRosa, since we discovered this rule long ago, in the lyrics of one of his songs, “Everything that rises must fall.” Closely linked / tied to rule number 2. We must support / rely on each other. It is clear that we must make our own way, and try to be the best, but the brave thing does not remove the polite thing. That we are forward in the way of / on the path to the profession, we must look back offering our hand, when possible. Those who initiate the way / path / road, must look ahead / forward, with respect that the careers of others deserve, regardless of style, technique (skill), or social platform.
4. “Never look a gift horse in the mouth”: This rule I have written thinking about the new and future generations of photographers. Youth gives us hope and energy. Do no waste it. Photography, in a certain way, seen/viewed from a commercial / business perspective, would be very similar to playing Monopoly. The way / form in which you move your chips/cards/sheets at the start of the game, it is quite/very possible, (al)though not always, to determine what comes next. Think with your head, and photograph with your heart. As the Chinese proverb says when you drink water, remember the source.
5. ”The world is a dangerous place,” said Albert Einstein. “Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” Every day I am sure of it. Many of those interviewed for my project The Photographic Chain confirm this. The secret is to work hard. Many have the talent, but only a few from all the rest that which is necessary to be a successful photographer and to go so far as to produce concrete proposals and ideas.
6. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” as Eleanor Roosevelt once said. This phrase is key for those who for reasons of life, will have to begin or continue his or her photographic career outside of his or her immediate environment. Many people live (through) it. Fortunately or unfortunately, I left my “land” at the age of 24, in what was the pursuit of a dream. If I had to start, it would begin anew, step by step. If you find yourself in those first steps, remember, always forward. To look back / move backwards nor / even to take a run-up. Already / even in his day Benjamin Britten told us that learning is like rowing against the current: as soon as you leave, back. Education will be our greatest ally.
7. “A smile is worth (more than) a thousand words”: the question is repeated over and over again / recurs repeatedly in/during my photography workshops. How do I get to photograph people? With a smile. In the words of the Dalai Lama, “I think of a smile as something unique to being human. A smile is also a powerful means of communication. A perfect expression of human love and compassion.” Photography of people is more linked / tied to the connection with people, than to photographic technique. If you give, you will receive.
8. “The fair price”: If we do not appreciate our work, nobody will do it for us. If they contact us for a job we say: “surrender the free pictures, with me they will leave you with many orders / assignments / jobs / missions.” Before that you must respond: “I am confident that many orders will go out. This is why, we will do nine jobs to my price, and when job number ten arrives, I will make it free to you.” And on / about the business of photography, perhaps dare I say, that the best way to make money with photography, is selling our house. However / nevertheless, after many years in this profession and dozens of countries tours, I think / believe it is one of the most incredible professions that exist.
9.”We are our memory, we are that fantastic museum of inconstant forms, that (this) pile/heap of broken mirrors,” said Jorge Luis Borges. Photographers like journalists / such as photojournalists, in addition to documenting first communions, doing press releases or presenting finery (galas), we are part of the peoples’ / villages’ collective memory. We help to capture it, and on some occasions, some of them become / turn into “central” elements of the cultural life of their cities or regions of origin. Therefore I ask that we be the artists who remember the other artists. But it is in this way / form, it is very possible that our work remains in a corner of oblivion. For example, my father. One of the greatest journalists which my region has given forth, they called him “The Voice of Aragon.” And more than 18 years later, they have / had to be his sons / children, who tired of waiting for a street that was promised to them someday, created a blog to perpetuate his memory and to educate the new generations on who was Enrique Calvo. Because as Camilio José Cela said, “Death calls, one by one, all men and all women, without forgetting / not to mention only one single G-d, what / that fatal memory, and those that for the time being we are freeing / releasing / getting rid of, jumping from hole to hole like a butterfly or gazelle, we never came to believe that he would be with us, someday / one day, his cruel plan.”
10. “Never stop dreaming” – Kike Calvo