Today was the first day of speakers at the News Photographers Association of Canada's Annual Photojournalism conference and the first speaker up was David Burnett. I had taken a Maine Photographic Workshop with David 24 years ago so it was great to see him again and gather his words of wisdom.
David has a couple of rules that are worth remembering.
"Your importance to an editor is the inverse of your distance from the editor." What this rule means is that your not much worth to an editor of a magazine or newspaper if you're in the same city that he's in. The further you are from the office, the more important you can become.
"The more you know about photography, the more you learn that you don't know." Keep discovering both new and old things, it's a long road.
"Please have some patience", which means you're never going to get a picture.
"Hustle is the key to victory." In the long run hustle will trump over talent in most cases.
"The Magic Phone Call"... that special call that comes out of the blue but sends you on a new adventure which might include hanging with Bob Marley or covering a coup in Chile.
And his advice about life learned from the hockey arena..... "Skate to Win."
David has been shooting around the world since he covered the war in Vietnam. He still carries a "Speed Graphic 4x5" with him and gets a fair number of images from the old camera published in Time. Plus his picture that won the "Best Campaign Picture" from the White House News Photographer Award in 2009 was taken on black and white film on a Holga.
You can see an interesting video on David here.