How To Make It To The Top – According to Quincy Jones

carla coulson portrait shoot

“The people who make it to the top – whether they’re musicians, or great chefs, or corporate honchos – are addicted to their calling … [they] are the ones who’d be doing whatever it is they love, even if they weren’t being paid.??? Quincy Jones

I hope you are having a light and love filled weekend. I am blogging from Puglia today and have been gobbling one cappuccino after another like they have just been invented.

I wanted to share a little secret with you today that I have never really aired.. Here goes..

You all know how much I love a quote and I adore these words by Quincy Jones. He has beautifully summed up that no matter what you do in life (including photography) when you really love it and are passionate about it, it is like an addiction and you would be doing it even if you weren’t paid! He should know, he has worked with some of the greatest musicians of all time.

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I have a confession to make, until I found photography I don’t think I ever did anything really well in my life. I was Miss Lightweight, Miss Skim the surface, Miss Read the headlines and Miss Attention span of a gnat.

I didn’t have the killer drive when it came to anything! I remember years ago our hockey coach told me I had talent in equal quantities of my best mate but I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I couldn’t wait for the whistle to blow at the end of the game to get off the field and back to the bench.

My friend instead had the killer instinct that coaches all around the world dream of. Hence she had a gold medal at everything.

carla coulson portrait shoot paris

Not that you need to have a gold medal at anything but something happened to me when I found photography that had never happened to me in my life before or on a hockey field, in a boardroom or in any other job. A big, burning, overflowing volcano of killer instinct came from nowhere. Kind of like ‘get out of my way I need to take a thousand photos’.

Miss Lightweight turned into Miss Devoted and do you think you could drag me away from the darkroom, a photography project, a bookstore or a shoot. The killer instinct I had seen (and envied) in others all of a sudden was mine. I could name any photo of any photographer and where it was taken, I inhaled book after book of photography, would stay up all night poring over photos and spend all day taking them.

I had always felt there was something missing when I saw others so wrapped up in their worlds and I had asked myself why I didn’t feel passionate about anything? Did I have some DNA missing?

carla coulson portrait shoot

All photos of the lovely Anissa copyright Carla Coulson

If I had only known it was about finding the right medium and the thing I really loved, I might have started my search earlier.

The old Carla dragged herself out of bed everyday in a daze hating the thought of ‘giving away’ another day to a job I didn’t care about. The new Carla can’t wait to get the washing-up done to get to Photoshop! Scary…

Reward comes in many forms and I liken it to falling in love. Seeing people I photograph truly happy makes my heart purrrr, taking a photo that I think is great still has the power to move me and harnessing something as uncontrollable as photography even just for a couple of seconds is more rewarding than all those days put together when I worked selling things that meant nothing to me.

Back to Quincy Jones and his theory, I am not even close to the top, I feel like I have just started but I love his words and I have the fortune to work with many people who have made it to the top and it is just like Quincy says ‘they would be doing it even if they weren’t paid’!

If you are wondering why you don’t have an all consuming passion, take heart, all of us can have it if we find the right medium.

“Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Confucius




PS: Feel free to share if you know someone beating themselves up cause they haven’t found their thing in life. xx

Check out my Portrait Lightroom Presets here.

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9 years ago

Your passion and true love for photography shines through on all of your works you show us here. You express yourself so well through photography, Carla!

9 years ago

Great article, Carla! I love the way you share your knowledge and are a mentor to so many budding photographers.

Like you I had the immense good fortune to do a job I absolutely loved for over 30 years. It is truly a blessing. C xx

9 years ago

I love this post Carla. Apart from thinking that Quincy Jones is a god, I am so happy that you have found your passion. It’s so clear from your work that it is filled with real love. I think that getting to the top is only for a few, and that it’s more important to wake every morning with enthusiasm for your calling. I’ve always wanted to write and it’s coming together slowly after kids and marriages and displacement, so much work but gosh it’s worth the ride! Xcat

Debra Kolkka
9 years ago

I am pleased you have found what you love to do. Not everyone is so lucky.

Peggy Braswell
9 years ago

I too have found what I adore, interior design, it is a relief + a blessing to be able to do what you love. I love that quote-had not read it before. Thank you.

Liz Thomas
9 years ago

So so understand how you feel about photography. I resent when I get tired at night and have to put my computer away because I can no longer focus on the images I am editing. I am envious that you are able to do just your photography and support yourself with it. Someday I will reach that level and I am so anxious for it to happen!

Shell Sherree
9 years ago

Thanks for your inspirational posts, Carla… and your beautiful photography is the icing on the cake.

Corrina Tough
9 years ago

Oh how I would adore to have photography as my source of income at the moment I am doing it for nothing!! But loving every minute of time I get to play! pay would be the icing on the cake xxCorrina,

Melissa Gaggiano
9 years ago

Love this post. Words like these really do help.

Chrissa Reed
9 years ago

Your post spoke straight to my heart, Carla! Thanks so much for sharing your journey and encouragement xx.

French Cravings
9 years ago

Your love for what you do is clearly seen in both your photos and your well chosen words. Thank you for inspiring us with your story, Carla.
x Katie

La Contessa
9 years ago

Your a great writer too!I totally , understand what your saying and how you feel.In Pulgia now!BENE BENE BENE good for the soul!Perhaps, find a new pasta sauce to share with all of us!I need some new inspiration!