As I lined up my camera to focus on taking a shot of the band Ryan Paul and the Ardent (http://www.ryanpaulandtheardent.com/main.html) at last week’s Art Crank opening, a guy next to me with his camera looked over and said, “Oh, oh. Competition.”

I could only respond, “Never.”

The thought that another guy (or gal) with camera shooting the same subject might be believed to be competition, I just don’t see it that way. I guess I might understand how someone might, but if I was able to take some time to talk about this with this guy, I would hope he’d gain a new perspective on two of us shooting side by side.

To be sure, I understand competition is not foreign concept. Not in life. Not even in creativity. Working in advertising for some 15 years of my checkered career, I fully get the idea of winners and losers. You win accounts. You lose accounts. And much of that is hinged on an ability to come up with creative approaches and executions.

While working in ad agencies, I admit I wasn’t even on the “creative side.” Ha. That is what they call it. Either you’re on the creative, account, production or media “side” of an agency. Talk about competition. It exists within an agency, much less between agencies. And I realize there are even winners versus losers within creative staffs of an agency. Some agencies even pit creative teams against one another to win accounts or presentations to clients.

So I get it when the concept of competition is applied to creativity.

But it seems to me, competition is more genuinely an internal thing. Those committed, fixated or obsessed with reaching the pinnacle of what we are doing are looking for more than beating the other guy or gal. No, we’re looking for reaching our own peak. We’re our greatest critic. We look at others’ work not not with jealousy nor envy, but rather as inspiration and perhaps motivation. Pushing ourselves because we see that someone has created something that so beautifully, so eloquently, so effectively has expressed their own self or their interpretation of an idea or thought.

When I see that, I can’t help but think, “Wow. How can I do that?”

When shooting side by side, I realize that each of us has a unique perspective on the very same subject. Hey, I know I can’t say it as well as Wilco says it. I’ll just share it and say to myself, “Wow. How can I do that?”

What Light (Wilco)

If you feel like singing a song
And you want other people to sing along
Just sing what you feel
Don’t let anyone say it’s wrong

And if you’re trying to paint a picture
But you’re not sure which colors belong
Just paint what you see
Don’t let anyone say it’s wrong

And if you’re strung out like a kite
Or stung awake in the night
It’s alright to be frightened

When there’s a light (what light)
There’s a light (one light)
There’s a light (white light)
Inside of you

If you think you might need somebody
To pick you up when you drag
Don’t loose sight of yourself
Don’t let anyone change your bag

And if the whole world’s singing your songs
And all of your paintings have been hung
Just remember what was yours is everyone’s from now on

And that’s not wrong or right
But you can struggle with it all you like
You’ll only get uptight

Because there’s a light (what light)
There’s a light (one light)
There’s a light (white light)
There’s a light (what light)
There’s a light (one light)
There’s a light (white light)
There’s a light (what light)
There’s a light (one light)
There’s a light (white light)
There’s a light (what light)
There’s a light (one light)
There’s a light (white light)
Inside of you

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