Pay It Forward: Generosity Never Grows Old
The tagline to the 2000 film, Pay It Forward read, “When someone does you a big favour, don’t pay it back … pay it forward”.
You may recall that this heart-warming movie is about a boy, played by Haley Joel Osment, who attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance. And in his own way, he succeeds. One generous deed starts a chain reaction of generous deeds that impacts many, many lives. (And underscored by excellent acting by Osment, Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, the movie is truly inspirational, if you haven’t yet seen it.)
This past Sunday, I participated in another version of “Pay It Forward.” The Prop Fair brings together those from the photography industry and prop vendors who supply goods to the industry. However, those who organise the event and the many who contribute to making the Prop Fair more than just about products and stalls and sales, are in a very real sense, igniting a chain reaction of generous deeds, too.
The biggest shout out goes to Kate Higgins and Samantha Mitchell-Daly for hosting the event. Talk about a labour of love and a ton of generosity. It takes more than a little effort to put together the “ultimate prop shopping and professional development event” and organising keynote speakers, Prop Fair stylists, displays, demonstrations, competitions and prizes.
Along with several other keynote speakers and contributors, I was privileged to do a “live” demonstration (posing a newborn) and to speak in one of the plenary sessions. While we are well compensated for our time (thank you, Kate and Samantha!), spending the day at the event, being available to answer questions and the like, provides both a service to others and helps to foster a sense of togetherness across the industry.
It is not difficult to imagine a photography industry that is ruthless and cutthroat, as photographers compete for market profile. However, because of events like the Prop Fair, a spirit of generosity and support prevails. We’re in it together. We’re all willing to serve each other and learn from one another. It is indeed a privilege to be a part of the Australian photographic community.
In the film, Pay It Forward, Osment’s character reflects on the nature of things, and says rather despairingly, “But I … I guess it’s hard for some people who are so used to things the way they are, even if they’re bad, to change, ’cause I guess they kinda give up. And when they do, everybody kinda loses.” Despite this grim outlook, he attempts to do something about it.
There were no losers at the Prop Fair on Sunday, as everyone played their part in making it memorable and rewarding.
If you missed it, I’d certainly encourage you to make it a priority next year. Of course, the event is held in several states, so head over to The Prop Fair website to stay in the loop or Like and Follow the Prop Fair Facebook page.
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