There’s More Than One Right Answer

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Using TEDx To Reach A Wider Audience

We asked Jones who, in addition to his photography, has spent a considerable portion of his professional life a speaker for corporate audiences, what drew him to the TED platform. “The reason I did TEDx is ultimately the same reason that I did the column [‘Basic Jones’ for Outdoor Photographer]. I wanted to make a statement about my philosophy in a way that would hang around for a long time on the ‘net and that folks wouldn’t have to pay money to see.

“I believe that celebrating what’s right with the world is a philosophy that can bring people together,” he continues. “If I can put something out in the world that is inclusive and healing, I’d like to do that.”

Jones notes that photography is now so accessible and a part of everyone’s daily life through smartphones and social media that it’s become much more of a common language. “Everybody has an iPhone or some kind of a mobile phone—and images resonate easily with people. So, what ‘lens’ do you have on your eyes? Do you have a lens of celebration, or do you have a lens that says the world sucks?

“The feedback I get from photographers in the classes I teach is that photography fills them with joy. That’s why they do it,” Jones says. “The actual act of getting out there and connecting with the natural world makes them happy. It’s not just the image on the card—it’s the whole act of seeing, connecting and photographing.”

The Importance Of Being Present

A key component of “seeing” is being present in the moment. “To me, the seeing, the connecting, is actually more important than the photograph,” says Jones. “Sometimes I tell people that the photograph is just the ‘residue’ of the experience. You’re out there having a five-sensory, three-dimensional experience. And if you miss that because you don’t know your gear that well or you’re competing with the photographer next to you, then you really miss the whole deal.”

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