December 1, 2011

Who’s Who

When I was in high school, my family would always (always!) sign me up for those “Who’s Who” listings that would come around. If you aren’t familiar with the Who’s Who listings, they went a little something like this. If you had a certain minimum grade point average and hadn’t, y’know, killed anybody recently, then they would send you this letter saying you had been selected. Awesome. Hey, that’s pretty cool. Look at me go. AND… all you had to do was return this signed letter along with a minimal $150 processing fee and your name would be added to the list. Wait, what?

And while we’re at it, let’s talk about that list. It was more like a book. Like an encyclopedia. Like the physician’s medical desk reference. It was approximately 500 pages thick. And your name? Well your name would be written in approximately 9 point font on one column of one page, along with a couple hundred other people. Times 500 pages. Times $150 each. You see where I’m going with this. As it turned out, the Who’s Who… was kind of a bunch of hooey.

And yet, every time it came around, my family (specifically my grandma) would break out their checkbooks and get to signing until I had an entire encyclopedia collection of these things. Now, please don’t get me wrong. I appreciated it like crazy every time they did it. And I was so, so thankful to have them there believing in me. And I think even back then, I realized that they were only doing it so that I could have one more piece of proof to convince me that I was somebody. That I could go out into this world and be somebody if I wanted to. And if you want me to be really honest, I sometimes wish there was a Who’s Who list like that for life right now.

The photography road has been one of the hardest and most challenging roads I’ve ever gone down. The self-doubt, the comparison, the bench-marking, the artistic angst. This is all unfamiliar, uncharted ground for the left-brained girl who could always track her progress with gold stars and A+’s. Truth be told, when Justin & I first jumped into this business, I had visions of us shooting straight to the top. That we would find ourselves rubbing elbows and air-kissing with the Who’s Who of the wedding industry. Sipping champagne while they looked us in the eye and told us they saw something special in us. And then they would tap us, link to us on their blog or give us a shout out on Twitter, and just like that we would be the next big thing.

That didn’t happen.

And when it didn’t, I secretly wished there was some place that I could still stuff a $150 in an envelope and mail my letter to…so that we could make sure our names were added to the list. Thank goodness such a place doesn’t exist. Because it means that everything that we’ve worked for, we’ve done it ourselves. Everything that has been built, has been built by our four (now six, with Julia) hands. There were no shortcuts. There were no easy streets. And that’s something to be proud of. Earlier this year I had a photographer tell me that because we don’t play the (industry) game, it will hurt us in the short term. That our growth will be a lot slower. I like that. I’ll take it. Because like Justin always reminds me, slow growth equals strong roots.

And maybe after it’s all said and done, it’s not really the Who that matters at all… but the What.

Maybe it’s not Who has the most Facebook followers, but What kind of friend you are in real life.
Maybe it’s not Who has the most Tweets, but What you’ve actually shared with the world.
Maybe it’s not Who looks up to you, but What you can do to lift them up.
Maybe it’s not Who you know… but What you stand for.

Just maybe. And….at least you’ll be $150 richer in the end. :)

  1. Catie Ronquillo

    YES! I remember the Who’s Who and I thought it was all a big deal and stuff. Until you see that you’re in there with a TON of other kids. Haha. Thank you for this post! I know how easy it is to get caught up, hoping to be on the "Who’s Who?" list of photography, but you’re so right. It’s about the WHAT, not the WHO. :) Happy December!

  2. Leeann Marie

    +1,000,000 smart lady! :) I knew I liked you for a reason

  3. ashley barnett

    Mary Marantz- I think I love you. :) This post just warms my little right brained heart.

  4. Jessica

    I really needed this today. xoxo!

  5. Chelsea

    Mary, this post makes me want to have a long heart to heart over a Cinnamon Dolce Latte at Starbucks so we can share our dreams of shooting straight to the top and then being hit in the face with reality. So perfectly written and so incredibly encouraging. I think we should be friends.

  6. Alexis D.

    Lovely post. It’s hard, as photographers, to see others that seem to have immediate success and attain rockstar status within a year or two and it is nice to have a reminder that just because your path is a little different doesn’t mean the other way is better.

  7. Emily

    What I think is really awesome is that you guys have gotten there to the top of the tops because of who you are AND what all you guys do! I just love you guys!!

  8. Shannon Sorensen

    It’s tough some days to not feel swallowed up by it all, but taking the slower, more windy path will build character! I’d rather have bumps, scratches, and be caked with learning experiences than to breeze to the top and be handed a shiny, blemish-free prize. Great post!

  9. Christina Elston (the detailed life)

    "patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet" -Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    I have to remind myself of this often.

    you seem like you are well on your way, though.

  10. Mallory & Justin

    Great post Mary!!! Ever since finding you and Justin, the industry leaders I look up to have drastically changed. Because, like you, I like to stand for something. I almost got caught-up trying to build a foundation based on the shiny, sparkly winners of the popularity contest’s suggestions…but after seeing you two at WPPI…I deflated, and put my feet back on the ground and started walking slowly towards my goals!
    Seriously, you guys are awesome!!!
    Thanks for being you!

  11. Mallory & Justin

    Oh, and PS…you should do a workshop on how to write a blog post. I suck. HA!

  12. rachaelmarie

    i cannot thank you enough for sharing these thoughts… my growth up to this point has been incredibly slow. and though it has been designed that way, as everyone does, i do wish to shoot straight to the top. it just isn’t something i can do at this point in my life. i have been struggling to remind myself that slow growth is okay and that it is right for me. but it is so difficult when a lot of the role models i have found appear to have shot straight to the top in the first year or two. thank you for reminding me why i do what i do the way that i do it. and giving me the inspiration to continue to build my business to be a true reflection of who i am. you have given me a much needed dose of energy to move forward on tasks i have been stalling on for months. xoxo

  13. Lisa Mathewson

    Thanks for writing this! Looking forward to meeting you both soon!

  14. Lexi

    This was one of the most amazing posts I have ever read. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and talent with us Mary! You both are an inspiration.

  15. Mary Bourque

    You hit it it out of the park again…I love following along the journey with you…You always seem to say the thing I need to hear just at the right time. Whether it’s a laugh, smile, or just a kick in the butt…Thanks! Keep it up!

  16. jennifer

    As a budding photographer, it gets overwhelming (to say the LEAST ha!). But it’s pro’s like you who make it worth it to stay in it and to look for your own style, your niche. This world of photography is too beautiful to push people to the side and play the "game". Thank you for being an awesome role model.

  17. Jennifer Bacchiocchi

    OMG, the who’s who book! I think my mom paid extra so we could add a photo, which was so miniscule you couldn’t even see it! Great post again, Mary. And if I made a who’s who of photography, you would be in my book. With a big ole picture! Thanks for always being so honest and encouraging!

  18. Christa Hann

    Was this written for me?…sigh.
    I need a fancy little wall print as a daily reminder "slow growth equals strong roots" ~ Justin Marantz

  19. Jill de Bruin

    You guys are so encouraging, thank you for everything that you share!

  20. ely

    It’s nice to be reminded about what true success is. Thanks for the encouraging words!

  21. LEOLAK

    This is an awesome post. I LOVE how your mind works!!! =) Thank you!!!!

  22. Joe Don Richardson

    Thanks you so much.

    You have no idea how much this means.

  23. Ashley Terry

    Agreed, Mary! So important for those of us who are starting from the bottom.

  24. Elizabeth Ann King

    Oh Mary, sister. You are preaching. This is so good and so true.

  25. Lauren Wakefield

    I’m not even kidding…I think we secretly share a brain or something. I so needed to read this right now. You are the Just sayin.

  26. Jessie Emeric

    You must read my mind, like, daily. Just last night I was venting to Jason about how everyone is doing so much more than we are. I’ve been feeling so down lately because it seems that everyone out there is offering workshops, retreats, mentoring, templates, and on and on. And me? Well, I’m just shooting weddings. And honestly, not even as many or the kind we always want. Working on our 2012 goals right now is tough. Thanks for helping me put things into perspective. xoxo

  27. Nicole Benitez

    I **double caramel latte heart** you!
    Amen to your post! It matters so much more being a good who you are than being a fake who’s who.

  28. Shannon Rosan

    In my book, you are the Who’s Who..of people who truly care about others, people who have bettered the industry because of your caring, intelligence, courage and positivity…people who want so much more than the ordinary and work incredibly hard for. And…very few people can be found in this book because you and Justin are rare gems. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done for me …for others…and this industry.

  29. Nancy Mitchell

    I so needed this J&M! Hence, the taking a break from facebook for 2 weeks is so far successful (5 days down). It has made me realize that there is so much more to life and I am that I will be so much richer in the end of the two weeks! THANKS!

  30. Paul Manke

    I agree with Shannon! You are the Who’s Who!

    When I think of "Making the Big Time" it’s you that I think of sharing champagne with!

    Maybe some day!

  31. Sachin Khona

    ”slow growth equals strong roots” Loving this quote!

    Beautiful blog post Mary

  32. Stephanie Stewart

    Yes, you guys are the Who’s Who – you are REAL, you are talented, generous, hilarious, passionate, did I mention talented and generous? SO many people – clients and fellow photogs – LOVE you for who you are and what you do, the way you do it. Keep it up!!! xo

  33. Scarlett & Stephen

    Because you don’t play the industry game is why I love you the most. :-)

  34. athena p

    yes. and thank you. i’m all kinds of crazy about the what. eff the who. (but not the actual The Who. they’re pretty amazeballs. teenage wasteland? need i say more? probably not…i bet you’re singing it in your head as you read the last few bits of this crazy drivel.)

    but i digress….

    as i generally do.


  35. Brooke Summer Photography

    In the end, I think that $150 richer would pale in comparison to the Intangible riches in your life because you choose to cultivate things that matter. :)

  36. Emily

    I don’t even know the path of Internet clicks I made that took me to this post, but I can’t tell you how much it is what I needed to read. I’m bookmarking your page right now! Thank you for sharing. Piece of mind is worth $150 MILLION.

  37. Charisse Rhodes

    I absolutely love & needed to read this post today. Did I say love? Yes, Love! Thank you for writing and speaking from the heart. It truly hit mine.

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