There are often two camps in any creative field. In the first camp, you have the people who don't like to share. And by "don't like to share", I mean they aren't willing to share anything. These people will not help newcomers (or "emerging artists" as they are often called), they will not share information about the industry, and they certainly will not answer the "how'd you do that" question. I'm sure you've encountered this type of person so you know what I'm talking about. In my experience, those who are in this camp also seem to come with a superiority complex. Do they feel as if they need to act like they are complete experts in their field to cover up for any possible gaps in their knowledge?
In camp two, however, are those who are gracious with their knowledge and experience. They willingly take time out of their schedules to help others. They share their knowledge of lighting, their experience in the industry, and their own resources for learning and improving. Rather than an attitude of superiority, it seems as if these "camp two" people will readily admit that they may lack knowledge in certain areas and they have no problem seeking out experts to help them fill the gaps. I have met MANY who reside in this camp over the past few years and I am extremely grateful to them for their willingness to share without any expectation of a return.
One such photographer in the gracious sharing of knowledge category is Chase Jarvis. I have watched many of Chase's videos and I consistently read his blog. He points out that he was not looked upon kindly when he first began sharing the "industry secrets". I watched him speak live (online) via ChaseJarvisLIVE at last week's PDN Photo Plus Expo in New York. The topic of his talk was "The New Creativity & the Social Art of Photography". If I remember correctly, I believe he mentioned in this talk that he was at first ostracized for simply offering information. Why are people afraid of sharing knowledge? Perhaps they're insecure and afraid that someone else will take their place. Chase also began CreativeLIVE, what he calls "the world's first live creative education internet channel" (view the reference for this quote on Chase's blog post in where he announced this endeavor in April of this year). Go ahead and check out Chase Jarvis' blog and website. Chase no longer has to contend with the naysayers since he pretty much has his pick of work these days.
I personally believe that sharing and helping others will ultimately help us all. I am indebted to those who have helped me, and I feel the need to not break the chain by passing on what I know to others. Therefore, I am not afraid to have guest bloggers on my blog. Even though it brings attention to others who are in the same field, I am not threatened by this. I offer this space to these guest bloggers in an effort to expand our collective knowledge.
If you would, comment below with the answers to these questions: Has anyone in your industry taken you under their wing as your mentor? Who has taken the time to share valuable information about your field with you? To whom can you pass along what you know? In which camp will you reside? You may not fall at either extreme of the continuum, so what can you do to start moving towards camp two?