WhyWeWork BrianVee
WhyWeWork BrianVee

Episode 123 · 1 year ago

#123 John Ratchford - Ratchford Photographic Studio - BrianVee WhyWeWork


John Ratchford is a professional photographer who has been in the industry for nearly four decades. While he acknowledges his struggles, he also highlights his love of serving his clients.






Welcome to why we work with your host, brian V. As he speaks to people like you from all over the world. As we together dive deeper into our motivations, struggles, joys, seemingly missteps, hopes warnings and advice which would be an encouragement to us all to get up, get going and keep on working. Working is tough, but working is good now. Here's your host to why we work brian V. I'm brian B and this is why we work today. I have the great pleasure of speaking with john Ratchford John since 1993 has been the owner and operator of Ratchford Photographic Studio today. I want to find out from john how has photography changed over the last three decades, but also how has it remained the same join me today in my conversation with john Radford. I'm brian V and this is why we work today. I have the great pleasure speaking with Mr john Ratchford. Good day find sir. That's nice to be with you brian. Thanks for having me. Thank you very much. I think we have to give a shout out to Frankie Macdonald for hooking out stuff but I I do appreciate your time and coming on here, would you do me a favor and tell us what industry you're in and a lot of people that know you give you obviously know what you're in, uh europe, but what you're up to nowadays? Well I have been a photographer, like a studio photographer, does, you know, portrait work, you know everything from graduations, weddings to some model work with the program. I have a little bit of commercial and I have been, I opened my first studio in 1988 when I was 21. So I've been at this literally all my life. That's that's pretty, pretty amazing. I have a question about that later, john will you bring us back though? So it radiates a while ago, you're a young man, so that brings you pretty young. But what would have been your very first job? The first thing that got you out of the house, even if it's collecting baseball cards or make making a lemonade stand, just whatever it was that got you started in your path of work. So the first thing I did was a paper Rusche And that would have been the summer, like I think it was between Great six and 7, but I wasn't long added. It was really the next year I I got a camera, what happened? We went on a school trip to Ottawa And we all had little cameras, you know, 1 10 in those days. And just for some reason or another, my pictures were better than the other kids, which was tremendously encouraging for me because I wasn't good at sports. I didn't play hockey, I didn't do the Canadian things and now I had something that made me feel special. And uh, when, when the pictures came back and we all looked at them, the teachers all gathered the other teachers in the room to show them mine now that they were that fantastic. But I had a sense of composition and clarity that the other kids and a lot of the teachers didn't have. So I had a thing and it was like the next year I started taking pictures of horses because we had race horses and I was selling them to the owners. So literally that was like the first, aside from the paper route, the first real job I had was all kind of an entrepreneurial thing. So I started in 1980, I guess if you can't live navy, did you get any other jobs along the way? Say in middle school and high school? That kind of earned some money. Yeah, yeah. I loved selling, love fashion and I loved working in clothing stores. I've loved, you know, working in malls and things like that. I thought that was the coolest job ever. Girls were there. Uh, you got to dress up and look your best every day and I was always a people person, sales were came natural to me before we get too far ahead. Say after high school, is there something? It's a new question because I was listening to a guy and she just mentioned the idea of play and play is an obvious thing that everyone should do even as we get older, But play is a really good part of our development. Is there something that you did as a kid in your play, that you really enjoyed, that? Just, it just got you out of whatever was going on in your life? Sure, absolutely racehorses. We had horses. So we raised, it was harness racing, you know, the sulky eyes and uh, from the time I got in junior high, I looked after horses and I took pictures of horses. I wrote for a newspaper, both horses and that was my play. So, uh, sometimes a little too much play with, it didn't do that well in school unless...

I was, uh, I was focused on too many things. But yeah, it was the horses that really kind of pulled me out. There's such beautiful creatures, aren't they? Yeah, yeah, there was a, there was an excitement with the horse racing, you know, there's an excitement if you're, if you're 12 years old and you know, you're, you're wanting to get out of, there was five of us kids, I wanted to get out with my dad, I want to be with the men and I love to go on the track with my dad kind of you know you're you're leaving your mother then sort of you know, you're not the little boy anymore and it helped me grow up as some people know that you're in Cape Britain and you and I were talking a moment ago, my uncle Ian has a barn full of horses and his father, my grandfather earl raised horses as well and it's just always something that I wanted to have my own horse or you know, be at least close to something where I could at least participate, help and get my hands dirty and get in there as well. Yeah, yeah, no, it was a big part of my life and uh got me started in this industry aside for working in the malls. Uh I sold life insurance briefly, but uh I had a kind of a turning point in my life. I was 19, I was a heavy drinker. I was getting into all sorts of trouble, was living in Halifax then and uh came to a point where I was in the detox and doing things like that and I had to get sober. Is this after high school? Yeah. This is only a couple years after high school. Before getting into that though. Were what were you thinking you wanted to do? Did you have an idea as you were, you're in graduation? I always thought I'd be in business. I thought maybe I could have a men's clothing store or something that I really didn't think I would have a photography studio. It was always a side gig to me. Um I don't think I ever really thought of it as a profession ever. And after I got sober, um, I was, you know, I was unemployed, I lost my job with the insurance company. They let me go. And somebody suggested that there was a little film store downtown here and uh, they said the guy needs help and I wasn't working. He said, would you give him a hand and you know, he would pay me a few bucks. So I went in there, found out he was closing out and really a quick turn of events within three months. I had, I got a little loan from uh, you know, one of those government agencies that helps young entrepreneurs, I gotta start up and I was in business three months later. Isn't it funny you and I were talking again? I said and mentioning the hardships we have, the difficulties we have and maybe you might want to get into that. But isn't that funny how that worked out for you at that point to where you are now? And you know, you were coming over a hump, not sure what you want to do. And I was like, Hey, there's a guy over there. He needs some help with photography. 30, 30 years later. This is what you're doing. It's funny because we, we worry and we're concerned and we think, Oh no, it's not gonna work out, but it always does. Yeah. And uh, really, you know, I have to thank God for that and faith that because at that point when I was getting sober, I really like, had come down to nothing, like I lost my job, I had lost, I got kicked out of where I was living. I was engaged to be married. That was over and I was kind of down and out and I became very open to what God might have in store for me because I was you know, I was screwing things up. So I became became somebody who said yes to suggestions if somebody was trying to help me. The stubbornness left me and that was it was just a matter of that, you know, that guy needs help, would you give him a hand prior to that? I found out about the film store needing help because I was volunteering at the hospital. I was taken around the books to the patients because I was sitting in Tim Hortons one day and I said, you know, I feel guilty I'm not working, I've never not worked, knows I was a worker. And I was getting kind of down to myself and one of the guys says, look, why don't you volunteer at the hospital here? They're looking for people. So I said yes to that. That brought me to the lady that was working there. She said, oh, my husband has a film store, would you like to? Really? That's how it happened. It was a series of yes, yes to God. Really? I felt I was saying yes to So when you started you got your loan, you started your business and there's probably some ups and downs along the way. But basically from many, many 1993 of owning your own business And up until 2017, that's a pretty good career right there. But you kind of came upon some other difficulties. What was that?...

And how did that transpire for you? And what was going through your mind? Well, the first studio was more of a one hour photo lab at 88. Okay, so that was, you know, you bring your film in, you get them up in an hour. And that kind of business at that time was starting to go out, Walmart was getting into it. And the supermarkets, they were using film developing as a loss leader and we just couldn't keep up. We couldn't beat with their prices. I did have a little studio in the back Of that one hour photo lab so that I was taking pictures. But really the main business model was the photo lab. So I ended up going bankrupt in 1991. I hung out as long as I could, but I was in all kinds of death and I wasn't able to dig my way out of it. So again, you know, almost down and out. And I went to Alberta Because there was a little transition between 91 and 93 when I opened the business. So I went to Alberta to, to think and to be a way I work for a newspaper up there and just reported in a small town, Alberta, Northern Northern Alberta was high level. So I worked there and I always kind of felt uh, cover desire or curiosity about priesthood and I thought this is a good time in my life to do it. If I'm gonna do it, I better do it now. And uh, so I went to Ottawa and I was with a religious community for two years. And uh, at the end of that two years, it was gonna be my year to go to seminary. And although I had a great experience there, I have nothing, no complaints. Some of my best friends are still there. I felt, you know, I don't think God is calling me to be a priest and I just had this inclination. I was going to come home and open the business. So that's what I did. So through the 90s I no struggled along. You know, it's hard when you're starting up and I started to join the professional associations because I thought you're going to be successful. The best way to do it is look around and other successful people and copy them. So it's really, that's kind of how I did it. I started to travel, you know, go to the maritime conventions and then we'll go to the Canadian ones. And every time I came back from a convention, my business would double because I would have all these great ideas from successful people and how to do it. Right then I would travel to the States and, and uh, yeah, I had a school business in the beginning brian, so I was doing like school pictures and had built a big business and probably, I think it was around 2002 I had to make a choice whether I'm going to be a school photographer or I'm gonna be in studio photographer, more of an artistic kind. And I picked the ladder. So that was a struggle. As, as you approached 2017. How how are those struggles mounting for you? What was, what was the issue? What was the rub? Okay. So through the 2000s, um, started the getting serious about doing portrait photography and things took off. I had great success through, you know, 4567 2008. Um, I was on the speaking circuit. So I spoke in europe at conventions. I spoke down the states, California all over Canada. I did a Canadian tour one summer, you know just a speaking tour and then people will come and hear summer. So as you know it was a bit of a rock star Photographer life in a sense. But then we hit that recession in 2000, Late 2008 in 2009. And my mistake Brian was uh was running so fast, I wasn't really watching what was happening and I was running a little too close to the edge. So everything I was taking in, I was blowing oaks either in in staff expenses, advertising budgets, you know new gear like there was no, there was nothing I I didn't say yes to if I wanted to do something in my business, I I had no limits on what I was going to do. I didn't spend a lot personally, I didn't have a lavish life, lived in a small house, didn't spend much that way. It was always single. But yeah, so that recession hit, it, hit herd and I was still on the speaking circuit so I would fly out every sunday morning. It seemed maybe finish your wedding saturday night, get home at three in the morning shower and go to the airport because I had to fly out on a five a.m. Flight. Maybe fly out to british Columbia at a California, teach for a couple of days, not get back until Wednesday and then only have, you know, thursday friday, maybe saturday here in the studio if you weren't doing a wedding and I wasn't watching my business and there started to be, we started to go in the red, so I was paying out more than I was taking in. So that's speaking to our didn't...

...really pay that much because uh it has already been booked a year before, but the crowd now that was during that recession, I don't know if you remember that 2009 2010 Everything just shrunk. It was horrible. So for you, you came to the end of your rope thinking that what were you going to do instead? What were your options? Well, I I kept trying to fix it. 2012, 13 14, but just getting more depressed, more negative and you know, funny thing, all the things I did to be successful, brian was traveling around the uh, you know, taking advice from the experts. I'd stop the traveling because I felt I can't afford it. I felt like a hypocrite, I didn't want to speak anymore. So I was off the speaking circuit and I just got into a bit of a funk and I thought I can't make this out of the business changed and it was good. I got humbled in a lot of ways, it was Humiliating. At one point I moved in with my dad, rented my house out, 45 years old, you gotta go home and live with your father in the spare room and you know, write your house out, it was, it was tough. And the other bad part was I became very negative fairy JJ, it's almost like a marriage brian, you know, marriage is going great during your honeymoon stage and then you have, you hit a speed bump and I didn't handle it well and I thought, God, I don't know what I'm gonna do, it was 2017, my father had died in 2016, so that was a bad year because you know, you spend a lot of time in the hospital and you're not, you're not in entrepreneurial mode. So that was the following year and I thought, you know what I'm done. Um I don't know what I'm gonna do, I didn't think, you know, maybe I go back, go back and work for the catholic church. Somehow made some inquiries. I thought maybe I could move to Ontario to do it. So I was ready to go. I was really ready to leave it and then I went on an eight day silent retreat because I thought if I'm gonna make a big life decision, I'd better pray about this and especially I was thinking about working for the church or I was even willing to go back to seminary, you know, I was still single and anything but what I was doing and a funny thing happened brian at the end of that eight day silent retreat, I thought God was gonna have this yellow brick road, this new opportunity that was going to become so clear to me, I was gonna Do a totally new career path, maybe work for the church. And at the end of the retreat I felt I'm saying two things. The first one was, I want you to go back to work and fix this and I knew that had to be God's voice because that wasn't the one I wanted to hear and the other one was that it was great that I made eight days of quiet to listen and not that I never prayed, I prayed all my life and I tried to you know, I was always a a mass going, you know, you know catholic guy that just tried his best, but I didn't have lots of time to sit and listen to what God was saying to me and I felt him saying, you know if you go back and fix this, if you give me a little piece of you every day, I can help you and when I came back I kind of made a commitment, you know that every night I was going to take an hour after work and I had keys to the church because those good friends with the parish priests and I said do you mind if I slip in there at night because I'm somebody I'm very 80 HD Ryan, I have to have, if I, if I work out, I have to go to the gym to work out, I'm not going to work out at home, I'm not gonna pray at home the same way I pray in the dark church all along because there's nothing else to do there. So through that fall that was, that came home in august and through the fall, you know, it wasn't the business that had to change. It was me that had to change and slowly but surely I started to open up to ideas and, and I felt like he was really guiding me in that january. I went to Nashville to the big convention again the first time I went a while and uh, I just stumbled upon this business coach there that took a liking to me and I can't say enough for that guy, steve Saporito is his name. He called a he, you know, what's that fable? Where the mouth pulls the pin out of the lines pa mhm grateful. That's what this guy did for me. You know, a lot of ways you kind of saved my life, he gave me a new purpose in business. How did he do that? What, what was it that he did? Maybe in particular or maybe in subtle ways that kind of gave you a new leaf on life or lease on life? Great question, because I met him in the, in the, in the booth, you know, they have a trade show, so sitting in the booth...

...with an album cameos dealing with it and they said, oh, meet this guy, steve sacrament only said he will change your life, go to a seminar and you know, I've heard that 100 times, every, every every new speaker is going to change your life. I used to be one of those guys, you know, so I didn't really want to listen to him and uh he started to talk to me and I can tell you I was wanting to get out of the booth and just kind of like, okay, nice to meet you, see you later. And he kept, as I was walking out, he kept cutting me off and engaging me and asking me why I was frustrated some and what had happened. And he said, you stopped caring, you stop caring about your clients and you stopped caring about the people. And I didn't know that. I didn't realize that happened. And he said, why did you stop caring? And I told him, you know, the story about health. Down things went and I said, how could you help me? And he said, pretend your customer and you're calling me to get a portrait done and we're still in the booth and uh okay, so I'm going to play along and uh all um he answers and he said, do you want to get a picture of now? I'm not married, I didn't have any family. And I said, I don't know. I said my my work staff, I had to on staff and he said, great, start telling me about them. And I had Kourtney and magnet Meghan and I told him a little bit about what they were like they were kind, you know, very giving people. I was telling the truth and he said, tell me a story about Courtney And that year Courtney, 35 years old, went home, found her husband on the floor dead big, You know, traumatic thing for her. Um she was only off a month and she came back to work and I was turning 50 a few months later. And as I was approaching the the birthday, this was a year that you wouldn't think she would do any planning. But she planned a big surprise party for me. She had half the restaurant all there waiting for me. And uh I just couldn't believe she did that for me because to me it was like I'm gonna cry talking, I was like one of the kinds of things because she was not in a headspace to care about other people and she still did and it humbled me and when I started from that story, I started to break down Because I realized two things, I realized like one I have a good staff, like Courtney was at that time was with me almost 16 years. And uh I loved her, like she was just so I was so I just knew I was so lucky to have her in the same with Megan, she wasn't there as long. And he said to me, how much is that picture worth to you now? And I couldn't put a price on it. Like I knew I just when I got back I had to have a photo of those girls because they were so important. And he said, I just did that for you in five minutes. I said, why can't you do that for your clients? You know? And he was just the way he layered the questions and charitable to people that changed me. And it changed the way I, I dealt with my clients again. And uh, so now when someone calls us or wants to get a picture done here, we're not asking yes, I got to get your name and address, but I want to know what's your, what's your graduate? Like, you know, what's the thing you admire most of them? What's the thing you see in him that you wish you had yourself when you were that age? And you just getting people to open up and uh, you know, I've seen people in here say things to each other that they've never said, I was doing a session with a couple. Um they were probably in their 50's Married for at least 20 years. It wasn't, it was it was the 25th wedding anniversary, that's what it was. And I started to ask those questions and especially if you ask a guy, because most of the time guys don't get asked and I just got to comply in a phone call there, sorry. Um and and anyway, he got asked, I got asking these questions and he said things about his wife that made his wife blush and cry right in front of me. She had never heard them. So not only and she's probably said to me afterwards that that this changed this changed the relationship and uh and just the relationship took a whole new turn after that. So, I mean it's just an incredible thing we can do and the business did change. You know, I got out of my, I got out of my funk, I started to serve people in a different way. So instead of thinking about it as a business, I really just thought this is this is the way I can serve people and help the relationships and you know, it's paid off. So over the last three years or so you've seen a dramatic change, not only in your...

...business, in the bottom line, but in the way you approach. Absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah. I had a renewed purpose. One of the things I always loved the priesthood was the opportunity to minister and care about people. But I had become so jaded this and I wasn't able to do that anymore and he reawakened that in me and it gave me a new purpose, you know, I think any, any of us brian were made in our lives too to love and to receive it and to give it all that kind of stuff. Sounds kind of kind of cliche, but it's really true. Yeah, I mean that's what else is there to serve and to serve and he just, he gave that back to me and uh let me give it back to me. I never really had it as deeply as I did. Uhh with what he was able to, he made me realize that I could still minister in a sense uh with what I'm doing and I didn't have to be a man of the cloth or something like that. You know, I can do require math. It's been great. Absolutely. What does, what does a week look like for you now, now that things are a little bit different? Yeah I think you you've come to a different level in the way you handle or approach your work. What does it look like for you now? Maybe the speaking engagements are on or off, but what do you do on a regular basis? Welcome. There's no speaking engagements. I would like to go back. Um especially you know once things started opening up because I feel like something to offer again I got, although I had seven credit cards Maxed out for almost 10 years, they're paid off my back taxes paid off. So I had worked Probably 80-100 hours a week for the last few years trying to fix this thing. What I have to do now Brian is to work smarter and not as hard. So it's a hard transition when you're used to go go go. Uh but I have to delegate some more responsibilities. I have a great staff. I have a new lady, jodi's her name. Um She's the one who takes all the phone calls now. I don't don't do that parent anymore. I do it when they get in here. But she really opens them up on the phone and she's been great at. So I have to delegate more because there's only so much here to go around and uh You know, I can't keep going in 53. I can't keep going at 18 1900 hour work weeks. Oh you're a young pup yet. You Have a beautiful studio there behind you. I mean, I can't imagine going from, if you think in 1988 when you had some little place, a little studio in the back compared to what you seem to have now, it seems great. I know in Korea here there's lots of studios but they're really small, right? They'll have like a little maybe a desk or a check out in the front and then just this little room that's maybe even just mapped off by a piece of fabric. But I mean what you have going there seems incredible. 4000 sq ft. I'm very, very fortunate. Yeah, I'm very blessed right now. Very lucky. What is the difference? Say when you first started photography between photography itself, what are some of the differences? But what are some things that has remained the same? You know, good work will always be a good work. That when I started we start of course on film, you couldn't see what you're doing now. At one point I got a meeting what they call a meeting format camera and you would do sometimes a Polaroid of your lights up, but you really, really red light. And I got to understand what lighting was, what good lighting was and I was competing in the competitions and, you know, earning my masters, That's still important. Now, a lot of the newer photographers today, uh they shoot window light, they shoot outside, it's kind of very flat, it's a nice look, but it's really done. And there's not many of the old school guys like me left that that that creates dramatic lighting or create a mood with my rather than just this blanket light that you see all, they're so good work is always good work and that's always remained the same in your relationship with people, uh, has to be strong. So that's remained the same. In fact, it's probably gotten better for people who are getting into this industry. Is there a skill that is necessary even to put your foot into it or something that you have to continually develop for you to be a professional? Is there a particular skill that one needs? Yeah, I would say if you are um interested in photography, most of the people I know have a sense of the beautiful and have a sense of composition. You can always expand on that. But the photographers,...

I know they've been sexually successful. They we can tell when something or someone looks nice and angle the way the light's hitting their face, that just speaks to us in a different way. Now, you can build on that. But if you don't have that interest, I can't see this being a very interesting or successful endeavor for you. I think that's kind of the thing has to be an artistic thing in you somewhere. Is there a particular, a particular tool, A favorite thing that you use that you can't be without when you do your work other than the camera? Yeah, maybe it's a specific type of camera which would be way over my head. But you need this tool wherever you go. Not so much. If you gave me one life and even like an amateur camera, I have one good light with me. I can do a lot with that. I can build that lash, I can direct the light the way I want, I can create a move with it. Um You can reflect it off of things to give you two lights. But if you're just using a big window behind you, it's just that one thing and it's the one thing that everybody can do, it doesn't set you apart. So yeah, one light. It can even be, it can be a flashlight if it had to be. Well, it's good that you say that because there may be some people out there thinking, well, I need to buy this most expensive camera. I need to buy these particular lights and they're trying to tell someone like tell their mom, mom, I really need this. No john says all you need is a flashlight in your hand phone and you can make good pitch as an example that you don't need to go out and do this to at least start. It took me until a few years ago before I really updated my equipment because you know, I'm just having a hard time. The lights I was using, um, We're from the 90s so they weren't reliable. They were failing on me a lot. It was very frustrating. Uh huh. I would be in the middle of a shoot, maybe a big shoot outside fashion shoot and you gotta push the button and it wouldn't work. And I'm telling you I used to take my gear and throw it. I get So it was one day in here in the studio that that happened and I threw my flesh and I thought this is crazy. I have to like I was starting to do better but I wasn't out of the woods yet. But I thought to myself, I'm 50 this year. I at least deserve equipment that's gonna work. And I just I just got to do this. So I went and I got approved for release so you could lease equipment and have to buy it because I couldn't I couldn't get alone. I was in bad shape But I got approved for at least and I updated some of the new fancy flashes, but it took me that's like 30 years into it before I did that. And now I've pretty much, I think there's one more big purchase, I probably spent about 40 grand in the last few years, but I was getting a long before that I was winning awards with the old lights, just that now it's a little more reliable. Do you have a tip for people thinking of yourself who started as a paper boy? You also worked in fashion or you're selling some pictures of horses and stuff like that? But also you consider changing your career. So do you have a tip for people who are getting into work or thinking about changing their career? Well, you know, uh my walk is going to be different. Ii God has gotten me out of a lot of jams and he's done that for me. But the one thing I had brian that I always had is a good work ethic. Wasn't afraid of, her work, wasn't afraid of long hours rolling up my sleeves. And uh I haven't had an attitude that you know like trying to do the job right the first time. So I wasn't somebody that found anything in and he's even as I've gotten older, like I'm less likely to take a shortcut ever. Um so I had a good worth work ethic and I knew that you just don't, there's no sense of entitlement with me. Like I had to work hard and I expect, I still expect to, it seems almost a cape Bretton thing, but you might have come across a few young teenagers who don't share that same. I don't find these days no different generation. And we all grew up a little difference, right? But I grew up in, do you do you have An overall goal for your studio or that in particular or something else? Is there something that you like? You keep mentioning 50? I don't think you're that old, but you might have yourself on a timeline and thinking I would like to accomplish this before I finish working. That's a great question. And you know what, I don't have an answer. My goal was when I came back from the retreat was to fix it. So that was my...

...short, I couldn't see beyond that because like I was in the red, like I said, I had seven credit cards maxed out all the time and always had to, you know, avoid those dreaded, you know, cause you look down your phone, you'd see Canada Revenue Agency, it was never going to be a good call, even though I was making payments, they always wanted more. It was very, very stressful. So when I came back from a retreat, my goal was to get out of that. Um outside of a lottery ticket, I didn't think it was possible Now four years later it's done. So it's like, I have to get a new goal. I didn't think this was ever going to happen. So now I have to have to change my approach. So yeah, I do. I am starting to think of uh of new goals, things I can do. Maybe we could go back to teaching. I mean, you can teach in a platform with podcasts now, you could you could have creative life as us photographers on there. I mean, there's other actors, I don't have to get on a plane every week and and do that. But at some point I can't keep working crazy hours, I'm working because you're just gonna burn up or you might want to, you know, have a life that I haven't had in a while. I do love my work though. It's been very rewarding. So brian, I need a new goal. You brought that question to the forefront, something I got to answer For sure. Yeah, I mean, but like I said, you have another 25 of working years in you, if you so choose right? So you have a while and many short term goals that might get you to a bigger one. Yeah, yeah. I don't have a big one. It's the, it's the next short term one. It's like, it's this year to, uh, to continue on the road him on and maybe try to work a little bit less, just a little bit. Is there anything people may not understand about you and that if they understood this, they would have a better appreciation of what you're trying to do. But also maybe not understanding photography in particular. Because I could imagine you wouldn't want to say anything bad about clients, but it's not always easy, right? I can imagine if I went to a photographer and I got pictures and, you know, I might I don't like this, I don't like what you did, and then you get lots of things that might not be as pleasurable. So, do you have something people may not understand about you or the industry that if they understood this, they would have a better appreciation of your work. A great question. So, it's like almost there's two questions to unpack there. I think if people understood, and I kind of think, do people do get it that I'm very much I have a servant's heart, and if somebody is not pleased with something, I'm gonna go really out of my except you're never going to please everybody. There's things I'm gonna make mistakes. Um There's a there's one this week that somebody wasn't pleased with a photograph. So you know, I'm on to that person every day, I'm going to see it through. I don't take it as personal as I used to before when I was younger, I certainly take it personal and maybe have hurt feelings or or even be defensive. But you know what now, it's I'm not as big a deal as I used to think I was. It must be a little heartbreaking to to have a servant's heart. I mean, we're fallen creature who are not perfect and we do take it a little bit closer to heart than we would like. So if we're a servant and we're trying to serve and someone doesn't like it kinda besides the defensive part, it's a little heartbreaking. Like I'm really trying. I want this to be the best work that I've ever done for you and if you don't like it, that hurts. Yeah, I've gotten over. There's always a way to fix something. I haven't had anybody walk away at least that I'm aware of angry or upset. Most of the time. I've heard I really appreciate you getting right on this for me. If something is a problem, like you got to get on that right away, it's not something you can avoid. Uh you want to do whatever you can, you want to show them that hey, I'm going to do whatever it can to fix this for you. And I don't know, I find most people very appreciative and and very responsive to it. I don't think they can tell, you know, they can tell that I'm then I care. Well you're making them look beautiful too. I mean they are beautiful anyway, but you're, you're helping them. Like how can they complain? That looks pretty good. You know, especially if they look better, it's not that much negative feedback. But I mean like you say, you're never going to, you're not going to hit a home run every time you go to bathroom. I only have a couple more questions for you, john is there any, you mentioned some ups and downs, some bumps along the way. Is there any particular adversity that you had faced that either hinders you in your work but motivate you as well to keep going. It might even pull you back sometimes, but...

...just something that you can use to encourage others in their work. Um Yeah, when it does get dark and you do get down, you know what? The sun rises the next day? I don't ever, I don't ever worry like I used to, I think Covid kind of fixed that to mine because when Covid happened, I thought maybe this will be it. Maybe this will be the end. Uh, I still wasn't really out of the woods and I didn't know what was going to happen. So I really, really learned to live no, I just live a day at a time when you can just deal with what you have for the day and you can handle anything. It was all the worry I used to carry about what's going to happen with this or what's going to happen with that. When it looked like it was going to go down the tubes and it took the worry away. It actually freed me up and it changed my, my own book. So, you know, I know the sun's gonna rise tomorrow, Whatever you're dealing with today is not going to be as bad tomorrow, Sometimes a night's sleep fix fixes things. So I became very uh it helped me to live a day at a time, which is really what we should be doing. Anyway. Sometimes a nap helps you know what? Sometimes asleep a little, there's a little five minute nap and then things seem a little bit different. It holds us back from reacting right? Whatever the situation is, if you're feeling a little gloomy, your your mindset is the way it is in this particular situation, just that one little step in a different direction just changes it. It doesn't make everything roses and rainbows and all of those other things, but it does change it. It just gives you this reprieve of feeling that particular feeling at that moment. Yeah. And you know, like really, like I said, how much you talk about faith on your podcast, but I can't say enough for that. It was really, it's really that last hour of my night when I, when I go to have a quiet time with God, you know, I say some prayers for other people and intercede and do some other things that I may read some scripture, but I really try to take that quiet. And at the end of the quiet I go through my day and do kind of a uh an inventory like a nightly examine where have I gone wrong today? Where have I gone? Right, what can I do about it tomorrow? It's really reshuffles the deck for you so that you ready to play again the next day. I never go to bed with that. That dark feeling. Yeah, I don't talk about faith a lot only because I allow my guests to do it. So you're mentioning it. So I'm a christian and I believe everything is a wonderful gift of grace and, and I, you know, without that and forgiveness, we're doomed, right? And a lot of people who may do things to us, that's usually where our troubles come from or we're making mistakes are making the wrong. So forgiving, you know, putting our faith in christ is that is that, that's the only way that I know of that is, uh, that works. Do you have any you go ahead. I was just gonna say and he says, love your enemies when somebody, he does something, remember a few years ago, somebody was really upset with me. It was very hard on me. And uh, I could have reacted negatively could have carried it. But you know what? I just made a decision. I prayed for that person sometimes multiple times a day, whether it felt like it or not. And to be honest, I didn't feel like in the beginning as I'm not doing that. You know, God was able to open my eyes a little bit seal this person reacted this way because that person is a hurt person and they misunderstood something you did. There's nothing you can do about that. But it kind of these things up and yeah, I wasn't, I didn't have to carry it and I even understand it, you know, so I've never really been someone to carry a lot of resentments. Yeah. I, I attacked them right away. Like I said, it's just start praying for the enemy. It's always in a way that Adage of people who hold resentment towards other people and those people aren't even thinking about them. No, be like they've done me all the ***. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Yeah. And you know it when you do that to another good thing happens is uh, you know, as I'm getting older, I really hope that continues to happen for me. You know, I I understand my own fallen nature. You know, I'm not perfect. I don't have a lot of my own issues that, uh, but if you, when I was always focused on other people's, you know, wrong or blaming other people for what was happening to me, I couldn't see myself in because you're deflecting everything, you know? But when you,...

...when you pray for that other person, Lord gets in your heart and he starts to say, hey, you know, I was, there's a t shirt I want to get and it's just simply says most things are my fault because most things that went wrong in my life in some way, shape or form or my fault, either by the way I reacted to them or I often did something to create the situation in the first place. So it took a lot of the power of negative things away and put it back on me, john is there anything else that we haven't touched upon that you'd like to add any other words of wisdom? I think it's been a great conversation. But is there anything else you'd like to add? You know, if you stay at the table long enough, the chips come back to you because I went to the Trustees four or five times in the last decades, You know, thinking about going bankrupt and uh, given up. And it was always that one little voice in my head, you know, like I always say to them, let me try one more year and they were always saying you should do this now, you know, you can start back up in business again. But you know, I felt kind of a moral responsibility for the mess I created and I always said just let me try 11 more time. So, I mean if you stick with something long enough uh and that goes through with marriages or whatever, you know, and there's something you've got to get out if I get that. But I learned a lot about myself through this, I wouldn't have changed it, I probably would have been, you know, when I was on the speaking circuit and living the rock star, uh life, it was, there's a lot of self indulgence and maybe if that continued, I would have been a cocky little S. O. B. But but it humbled me old and uh I would rather be who I am now from that south, I think it was Henry Winkler, you know who he is, the fonds, Yes, I'm happy days, I don't know how old you are, but anyway, I remember chachi, I call, I call, oh my all kids chachi okay, right, Yeah, so the funds was a stern and he was a big TV star in the 70s, Henry Winkler, fast forward only a few years ago, he wins his second Emmy Since the first one I think was in 1973 or four. The second one is in 2017 or 18, I think it was 18 for a role, he has in a show called Barry and when he got up to give his speech uh he was just kind of making light of it, you know how many years and then he was being interviewed afterwards and he said that if you stay at the table long enough, the chips come back to you and I grabbed on and I related to that because I felt the same way, you know, like, you know, I stayed in the game long enough and uh now the trips are back, it could be gone again. Who else? Certainly, Yeah, if you're not in the game, you're certainly not going to win, you're not in the game, you can't, you don't have a chance. How can people reach you? How can they get in contact with you for work? For getting some of that? Uh photography for themselves? Other than calling our number nine oh 2794 triple a toe. Most people tend to reach out through social media. So we're on instagram as Ratchford Studios um facebook is Ratchford Studios. They seem to be the two main platforms that I find that people are getting in touch with me and building a new website. So it will be ready for photographic dot com, but I'm in the middle of building a new one. So it will be What again? Sorry? Ratchford photographic dot com. Perfect. one final question, sir. Sure. Why do you work? Why do I work? I think were created to work. Um I get a lot of joy all this aside from, you know, we have to work but it gives us a sense of purpose and a sense of well being the times, the brief times in my life that I didn't work. I felt like a bomb and I think inside of us all, I mean there's gonna be things you maybe you get sick and you can't work, but when we can't be productive as people and especially I don't want to sound like I'm you know it's different for men and women but when women have kids there are families a lot of their time is devoted their but when men can't produce and provide I think it's very hard on us. It's crippling. It's crippling. Yeah it is. Yeah. So I don't know I think that's why I work john Radford owner and operator of Radford photographic studio. Thank you for your time sir and I appreciate the work that you do. Well thank you brian appreciate the work that you do is great talking to you. Thank you very much. Keep up the good work. Thank you for listening to this episode of why we work with brian Wien be sure to subscribe, follow and share with others.

So they too can be encouraged in their work. I hope that you have yourself a productive be a joyful day in your work.

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