PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE CREATIVE LAWYER
Kristi L. Bergemann is an associate with Gaunt, Pratt, Radford, Methe & Rockenbach, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find ways to be creative when you are a lawyer. Judges don’t want to read a brief written like a masterful novel or hear an oratorical tour-de-force in the courtroom. And your clients and superiors probably don’t want to pay you for such prolific creativity when you can likely be a more effective advocate with a concise argument focused on the brass tacks of the case. However, if you have a love of photography, as I do, there are many opportunities for you to explore your creative side if you take advantage of being a lawyer.
Get started by putting your research skills to good use in finding the right photography equipment and services for your interests and aptitude. Test cameras to see which one is right for you. An expensive DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) might not be the right choice for you if you are a busy attorney with little time to learn all of its functions. Search the Internet and magazines for interesting products and services, such as Web sites that allow you to have your best photographs stretched onto canvas. Have some made and hang them in your office to remind you that you are talented and creative when you are experiencing a moment of writer’s block. Plus they are great conversation pieces in getting to know your colleagues and clients.
Once you’ve found what you need, start snapping photos whenever you can! If you travel for business (or while volunteering for the ABA), make some time, even if it is only ten minutes while walking between your hotel and a deposition site, to take some shots. Most cities have iconic landmarks and open spaces that aren’t too far off the beaten path that make perfect photography subjects no matter what the conditions (e.g., weather, lighting, crowds). If you are fortunate enough to be able to blend business with pleasure, take some vacation time during your trip and explore. Before you travel, visit the city’s visitor bureau Web site and request a travel guide. Most Web sites also have a list of attractions and a calendar of special events. While in town, pick up the tourist publications and entertainment newspapers. They often mention more unknown attractions that can make the best photograph subjects. Sometimes the best subject is the most unexpected.
After a busy week at work, make time for yourself and focus (pun entirely intended) on photography. Plan an outing to take pictures in your own city for a couple of hours, even if you just walk around your neighborhood (great exercise too!) and take pictures of pretty flowers in yards. Or set aside some time to download the pictures you have taken in another city and edit them so that they will look their best. Save and archive them in a way that will allow you to reminisce while looking at them for years to come. Or print some of those snaps on your printer or at a local store and spend some quality time sharing them with family and friends.
Finding a creative escape from your daily life as an attorney is just the snap of a shutter away! Plus, the advice in this article doesn’t apply only to photography. Whether you are a poet, a painter, or a performance artist, plan to let your artistic nature soar from time to time. After all, judges, clients, and superiors all benefit from their involvement with a happy, relaxed, and well-rounded attorney, even if your next novel is not welcome in the courtroom.
- The Reflective Counselor: Daily Meditations for Lawyers. 2008. PC # 1620072. Center for CLE and Section of Litigation.
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