Tony Bennett Has Butterflies and So Do I

My first thought when writing this post is, “Man I wish I had a photo to insert of Tony that I’ve taken.” #bucketlist The guy is a small hero for me. The guy is 92 and still at it. On the road, in the booth, working with new artists. What really speaks to me is how the guy has reinvented himself a few times over and keeps going. If you haven’t kept up on him, here’s a bit of history via Wikipedia. Check out the 90’s and beyond segment in the post focused on his new leaf.

So, in case you missed it I’m a clarinetist as well as a portrait photographer. And as such I’ve played and photographed a few of the cats who’ve toured and recorded with Tony. Time after time I ask, “What’s it like playing and working with Tony?” At the end of the day, they’re humbled. Stories galore, one of the big take aways, the guy has butterflies. He’s just a little nervous going on stage. About to lay it all out like he’s done thousands of times before, and still excited.

I, and probably you, can relate to the man. There’s nothing routine about each performance, each photo shoot. Everyone is a little different and I’m never quite sure what to expect. That’s when butterflies hit. For me, before every shoot, before hair and makeup, and my assistants arrive, I have that moment of that excited/nervous feeling. “I hope they like the images… I hope I can manage what curve balls come my way… I hope my equipment doesn’t fail.” After the 4-8 hours of prep and shooting and the whirlwind of amazing art, I can’t even remember having butterflies in the first place as I sit down in post photoshoot haze. In that moment what Tony teaches me, don’t judge the butterflies. They’re never going to go away, and if they do, we’ve got bigger problems. Be with the client and in the space of possibility.

Be the butterfly.