So what does a photographer have to learn from a sushi chef? The documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a legendary sushi chef and his son shows us all that is required in having the greatest sushi restaurant of all time. I found the film extremely inspirational, something that I can carry over to my work as a photographer and artist. Jiro is 85 year old man who has no desire to retire or stop working; he has the work ethic to use every second to become a true master in his craft. His apprentices must work for 10 years without pay to even become an acceptable chef, and many don't have the patience or work ethic to last that long. He still doesn't believe he's reached perfection, citing other chefs sense of smell and taste as better than his. Rust Cohle from True Detective told us that a lifetime still isn't enough time to get good at something, and I think Jiro Ono furthers that idea. He has the patience to "elevate his craft" and as a result has reached a level that no one else in the sushi world has reached.
I frequent a couple photography blogs, watch a couple videos here and there, follow a handful of notable photographers that share their knowledge with the world, but I never feel like my skills improve by following people in my own field. This could be because of my pure hatred for technical photography talk: questions like "What are you shooting with?" "What are your settings?" are my least favorite discussion starters. The blogs, the stories that really inspire me are the ones like Jiro's, a success story in his own craft. People like Giorgio Moroder, Steve Jobs, and Jiro, are the people that encourage me to work harder because they started from nothing. I want to be inspired by people that have met hardships and worked hard to expand their skills, photography or not.
Jiro makes me want to stick to photography and keep at it until the day I die. I have no plans to ever retire from photography unless I'm physically incapable; I wouldn't know what to do with myself without it. A lifetime is barely enough time to get good at one thing, so don't spend it getting mediocre at a bunch of little things.