Friday, November 3, 2023

Top Capa.

I'm not sure if anyone today knows who Robert Capa is, or anything about him.

Capa emigrated/escaped from pre-World War II Hungary and became, quickly, the most-important war photographer ever--taking probably the most-famous photos in both the Spanish Civil War and World War II. He also, though I'm too tired to Google right now (I had about 27 client meetings today and I'm writing this as I drift off to sleep) was a founder of the famous organization of news photographers, Magnum.

Capa, to my prurient eyes, also did something equally outstanding. He rejected the most-beautiful woman in the world, Ingrid Bergman, because she insisted he give up his calling, war photography, and settle down.

There's a back story, and not necessary a life-affirming one behind every one of the photos above. But that's not the point of today's tired-uninspired post.

Capa famously said something that I think about a lot. Even though I'm just an advertising copywriter.

Capa said, "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." 

This, sadly, is from a man who died 20 years after he spurned Bergman, stepping on a landmine crossing a rice paddy in war-ravaged Vietnam. 

Those eight words, for me, are the phrase that pays in the ad business--no matter what your job in the ad business, where you work, or what your level.

If your work isn't good enough, you're not close enough.

Get closer to inspiration.
Get closer to your planner.
Get closer to your boss.
Get closer to the account guys.
Get closer to the brief.
Get closer to digging deep.
Get closer to researching like a sonofabitch.
Get closer to writing one-hundred ads.
Get closer to looking at the world upside-down.
Get closer to someone with a little distance.
Get closer to people you can lean on or try an idea out with.
Get closer to, like Capa, danger.
Get closer to doing something dumb.
Something that's 27% dumb. Or 47%. Or 87%.

Obviously, I don't mean physical proximity.

I mean ardor.

It's all too easy to live life with diffidence. 

Like Thoreau said, with quiet desperation.

I'm five weeks away from turning 66. I was talking today with a friend I'm handling an account with--a senior guy. We had an incredible meeting with a giant client that went amazingly well. In just three-days I had created about four-times the work a giant agency would have created in about four-times the time.

My friend said to me, "You obviously really got into this."

"No," I answered. "I'm an old man now. But I'm lucky. I love what I do. I love unraveling problems. I love figuring things out. I love doing this."

"I can tell," he said.

And that's what I mean, "get closer to loving what you do."

It pays.

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