Gradually, Then Suddenly

There’s a famous Hemingway quote from The Sun Also Rises pertaining to financial failure.

“How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

At different points in my life’s journey, I have seen this happen before my eyes to a few artists that I knew and admired.

Every situation was unique. But more often than not, the artist was completely oblivious to the immediate existential threat. This seem obvious to everyone except the artist. The sad thing that I observed was that failure was not a foregone conclusion.

I’ve been asked a few times what’s the most important creative tool that I have at my disposal. The person asking is usually expecting me to talk about a sweet lens or high-tech tool.

They’re usually shocked when I tell them the real answer. My most important creative tool is financial security. Not worrying about paying the rent, servicing a loan or getting through a slow period allows me to focus all of my cognitive resources on creating rather than surviving.

I’m not sure how someone came to lose the sole of their shoe in the 50th Street subway station, but I suspect that it happened gradually then suddenly.

I also think it was part of a slow rolling catastrophe that may have been preventable.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2300 completed sessions in all 50 US states.