On the date of this post, two historical events are celebrated; the 84th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and the 57th Inauguration, and the second by President Obama. Dr. King left us his legacy, both good and bad, and for the large part we choose to remember and hold on to the good. President Obama will leave his legacy, and like Presidents Reagan and Clinton before him, his legacy can be a mostly positive one, or it can be a somewhat negative one like Presidents Nixon and Hoover.
As Photographers and Models, what is OUR legacy within the industry? What are we known for now, what will we be known for in the future. Tyra Banks was known, not just for her "curves" but for her killer walk. Annie Leibovitz is known not only for her lighting and being able to shoot some of the top personalities of her time, but she is also known for putting on a PRODUCTION! I love viewing her behind the scenes videos to see the result of the planning that goes into one of her shoots.
Legacy is an important part of your success. One of the better actors in Hollywood today, Matthew McConaughey was one of the stars in the movie 'A Time to Kill.' His performance, especially at that time of his career, was amazing! Yet he fell into the "hole" of romantic comedies, and stayed there for a long time. And while his is now back to other movie genres, that hole might be almost impossible to get out of, a la Cuba Gooding Jr. I have seen photographers struggle, because their legacy is that of being a "booty" photographer, or a "hotel" photographer. They have never evolved to the position of being better than what they are known for.
What are YOU known for? What is your legacy? Are you the go to model that has 101 different poses and expressions and give them in 5 minutes? Are you the model that has the reputation for being a men's magazine model, even though you may want to do fashion? Are you the model that is routinely called to do hair shows and runway shows? What is your legacy? When developing portfolios, consider not only the project in hand, but also the next project as well. There are those models who can literally shoot ANYTHING, but most people are best with specialties. Find yours, and create your own legacy.