Continuing of my wrestling and photography analogy blogs. This time it’s on WWE’s rock star Shinsuke Nakamura. Shinsuke recently got called up from NXT to the main roster of SmackDown Live. He’s one of my favorite wrestlings on the roster, he has a unique personality, he takes his craft seriously, he knows what his character is, and he’s somewhat of a underdog. I was worried that his success in NXT wouldn’t carry over onto the main roster but the fans both loyal fan base and those that are new to “The King of Strong Style’ have really embraced his arrival. WWE and the creative team has done a good job thus far, by being somewhat careful with the way they book and build Nakamura but also push his limits and ease him into the spotlight (doing promos on Live TV, his English is decent at best but he makes it work). Here are some lessons Shinsuke Nakamura can teach us about photography.
Let your work do the talking
Nakamura’s is not known for his english for obvious reasons. He’s from Osaka, Japan, and have been wrestling in Japan for much of his career until WWE signed him early of last year. Generally in the US, if a wrestler doesn’t have mic skills or isn’t able to connect or interact with the audience their success rate is zero to none. Nakamura’s over the top personality and natural oozing charisma instantly connects with fans. He’s mastered the art of body language.
Gamble on Yourself
Shinsuke was at the top of New Japan Wrestling, making waves and headlines all around the world. However, he needed a new challenge and heading over to the US to NXT was a leap of faith. Traditionally, international wrestlers, especially ones that have an accent usually gets buried in WWE. By adding a stereotypical gimmick and end up on the consecutive losing ends each week. Despite all those pre-historic factors, the only way Shinsuke would know is if he took that chance. Showing that he has a lot of confidence and faith within himself to make it work in the WWE. Be bold!
Similar with your photography, take chances, try new techniques, travel somewhere you’ve never been before, somewhere that doesn’t speak your native tongue. Have faith in your own abilities.
Seek inspiration outside of your profession. Shinsuke idolizes Michael Jackson, on how he’s a perfectionist and treats everything from the singing, to the moonwalk, to the wardrobe, as an artform. Shinsuke is the same, from the drawn out charismatic entrance, The vibrant red leather jacket and pants. The long hair with one side shaven off. To the facial expressions, the smile, the stare, all the way down to his in ring ability.
By seeking other artists or other inspiration outside of photography it may open doors for you the next time you go out and shoot. Perhaps it may inspire you to create a body of work that evokes the same emotion as a musician or painter. It is always good to learn about other crafts and philosophies. If Steve Jobs inspires you because he is an innovative creator then find out how you can be an innovative street photographer. If Peyton Manning inspires you because of his relentless preparation and efforts then apply that same relentlessness in your street photography. Shoot the streets from dusk to dawn, research on your lunch breaks, weekends, wake up an hour early, do whatever it takes.
Don’t be the norm, don’t do the norm, don’t follow the herd of sheeps. Stay away, be different, you are unique! Regardless of what anyone says about you, you are special. People will always have an opinion of you and your photographs! If their feedback is not constructive then let their voices or words go through one ear and out the other. Be you and follow your heart. Lots of people love Nakamura’s personality, style, wardrobe, everything about him. He is very much different than anything we have seen in WWE…EVER! However, some people dislike him as well. They don’t understand him or why people are so enthused about him. They aren’t able to relate. He can’t speak English. He is annoying. He is predictable. So on and so forth.
Don’t worry about the facebook likes, amount of instagram followers, the stats, the competitions, or if Bruce Gilden said your photo is trash. If you like the photo, defend it, stand by it, don’t crumble due to others. If the photo speaks to your heart, your soul, and resonates with you, defend it.