Kung Fu and the Nimble Photographer

When I was a kid, I loved watching the TV show Kung Fu.

I admired Kwai Chang Caine, played by David Carradine, who came to the American West in search of his half brother. If there ever were a case for a journey eclipsing the destination, Carradine’s encounters were that. The stories that fascinated me were the lives of those he met along the way.

Years later, I have embarked on my own journey as the Nimble Photographer, in search of artists who have navigated their way through the financial challenges of life. How did they do that? What is the answer?

They have surprised me with their stories. I go into a conversation thinking that I have a sense of what is about to transpire, only to discover that there is far more to the experience than I could ever imagine.

Like many journeys, I wasn’t really planning to take this trip. A series of unexpected events happened, and the next thing I knew, I was on the road. Kwai Chang Caine had to flee China because he killed the man who murdered his mentor. Fortunately, I have done no such thing.

But as I perceive it, there has been death. The casualties are the careers of thousands of writers and photographers. In the span of a decade, I have watched how much of the business world has devalued professionals who excel at honest communication, creative thought, and insightful storytelling.

And even though many of those opportunities have gone away, the people who are skilled at them have not. They are still among us. Many of them continue to perfect their craft without the safety net of financial security, health care, or paid time off. Or… some have managed to recover those things, and they are willing to say how.

In the end, Caine did find his brother. And I hope that I find the answer to my question as well, which is: what are the best ways to adapt the skills that I admire to today’s society?

If you enjoy a good quest, then I hope you’ll travel with me on the Nimble Photographer podcast. I may not be able to fight for these people as Caine did, but I can share their stories. And there’s power in those words.