Dewitt Jones tells an exceptional story. He does it with a passion and purpose that he has put into his life as a National Geographic photographer. The title of his talk, Extraordinary Vision, was truly extraordinary. He shares the stories behind these fantastic photographs that make them real and meaningful in a way that sticks with you. I was fortunate enough to see him at both the EO Arizona University and the EO Canada Regional, and was captivated both times. Many people said they felt teary eyed listening to his presentation.
What really got to me, and he does get to you, is how he approaches moments with the possibility of what could be. He goes by a personal mantra, “There is more than one right answer!” No matter how great the photo, he is always open to the possibility that there is a better one. He would capture a moment in time that may have been just what he was looking for, but if he’d stopped there, he wouldn’t have seen the better one that came just moments later.
He spoke about a time where he’d gone to a dandelion field to take some photos, only to find that the dandelions had dried up and all that was left was a field of white puff balls waiting to fly away in the wind. Instead of walking away, he thought that maybe things didn’t end there, that dandelions didn’t make the only “right” photo. Take a look. Who would have thought a picture of a dried up dandelion in the sun could be so beautiful and serene? It wasn’t what he’d sought out, but his open mind and creativity offered something more, and something inspirational.
For me this begged the question, what am I not staying open to? What is the next right answer? Are you dealing with white puff balls instead of pretty, yellow dandelions in this economy? Are you open to the idea that there is another right answer?
Dewitt talked about having Vision, Passion, Purpose and Creativity in the way you approach where you are going. Honestly, it sounded more like something from a Jim Collins book like Good to Great than it did a photographer. He would say “When we breathe in, we take it all in, and when we breathe out, we give it all back!” He calls it the One Breath Meditation…what a good analogy for life.
He believes that when your vision is clear, it’s there, and it will show up. When you continue to believe in the next right answer, you find yourself traveling down the accelerating possibilities curve. He has a vision of beauty and special moments in all of life, and he has captured them over and over again to be witness in National Geographic for over 20 years.