We had the good fortune of connecting with James Patrick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James, what makes you happy? Why?
I’ve come to learn that happiness is fleeting so I no longer pursue happiness, but I will pursue fulfillment. And fulfillment is not conditional.
For a large portion of my life I believed it was. I would tell myself things like “I will be happy when…” and then would fill in the blank with earning a certain amount of money, doing a certain style of work, having a certain type of lifestyle, being involved with a certain type of person and so forth.
But anytime I achieved those goals that I thought would make me happy, the truth was I felt the exact same. So I would move the finish line a little further down. Maybe I need to make more money, life an even more lavish lifestyle, do even more work, and so on.
The realization hit me that fulfillment was not based upon any of these conditions but was a choice. It was a choice. I can choose to feel fulfilled or I can choose to feel like I do not have enough.
My goal is to find a reason every day to be fulfilled in my life, regardless of my conditions.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In 20 years as a photographer I’ve been able to shoot more than 500 published magazine covers. It all started out in college learning not only how to make imagery that could sell – but also how to market and sell my work.
The biggest lesson I learned was that no one should rely on reactive marketing in hopes to grow their business. Reactive marketing is building a website and waiting for people to find it, or setting up your social media channel in hopes it gets seen. Proactive marketing means you intentionally choose your target market and you engage them, provide them with immense value and give them a reason to look into who you are and what you do.
Also realize that the industry you are in will forever be in flux. As a photographer, early in my career there was a debate over film versus digital and so many professionals would say that “real pros only shoot film and not digital.” Well, the world changed and consumers demanded digital assets. If you had not adapted you were left behind.
I saw it again with the rise of social media where photographers would say “real clients will never hire artists off of social media.” Well, the world changed and consumers wanted to find and hire those they find on social networking sites.
I saw it yet again in the economic recession of 2008 where photographers would blame younger professionals for ruining the industry by lowering rates and giving away too much to clients and thus destroying the industry. But they had it backwards. Once again, the world changed and consumers wanted new services – it was just the younger professionals who were more willing to provide it.
The point is that you much always be willing to change and adapt with the future of where your work is going – not relying on where it was before.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I truly believe that Arizona is the perfect place to be about 9 months out of the year. Sure, we have a brutal summer, but that beats the winter in most other areas. It is hard to beat the bevy of food options in and around downtown, amazing concert venues, every major professional sport, best outdoors space and if that were not enough – then you are a few hour drive from the mountains and snow or the beach,
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been truly fortunate to have had several mentors who have guided me along in my journey – but the one who stands out the most was a college professor I had.
It was this individual who pushed me to really take photography seriously, who helped me get my first few jobs as a photographer, who taught me the value of earning work and credit and set me on a path to build the career I have today.
I think about all the things I do from photography, to coaching, to public speaking and they all lead back to the guidance I was fortunate to receive from him.