Phronesis: the Greek word for practical wisdom.

Common sense and knowledge are the two closest words in the English language to phronesis. I understand phronesis to mean doing what is right and what is worth doing. You may say that anything right is worth doing, but right is a subjective word.

The business of photography is lacking phronesis at times. Right and worthy can live on separate sides of the same street. The interdependence of ethics, economics and skill can make a photo career short lived for many. Do the work, marketing will take care of itself.

For a long time I would preach “collaborate rather than compete” to any who would listen. I still think there is much knowledge and common sense in that thinking, but not much practical wisdom.

At this point in my career I neither collaborate nor compete. I do have a small group of photographer friends who share the same foundations to building a good life and good career. We teach, help, critique, listen and share with one another. We refer jobs, offer guidance and resources to each other. We do not collaborate because we are all living the photo-life-career that is personal to each of us. We do not compete either. Why? Three simple principles listed below are the answer that question.

Be kind
Do good work
Commit to growth

Back in January, 2006 I wrote a blog post that would become my most read-hit-search posting. The post titled “Mission Statement” listed below are the four key points.

* Balance lifestyle of professional & personal

* Satisfying & delighting clients

* Increase earning a living & contributing to the wellbeing of others

* Community & environmental responsibility

I still hold these core values important to who I want to be. Without mastering the upper three principles I will never achieve the bottom four.

That is a life philosophy full of practical wisdom.