Wolves, horses, lighting designers
by Alison Ritter
Lighting designers are gregarious animals. That said, on an individual basis they are motivated by praise and recognition from their peers and inspired by the generation destined to follow them – their professional legacy.
To meet their gregarious needs many become official members of dedicated (local) associations. Depending on how pro-active they are, associations can be helpful if they are seriously committed to their present-day members and, above all, are prepared to pave the way effectively for the generations to come. That’s a tough job and requires a considerable amount of preparatory research and an understanding for all levels of the career path, especially since Lighting Design is not (yet) officially recognized as a profession.
What do gregarious animals look for in life? Group feeling, sure. Mutual appreciation, if it applies. Sound leadership helps: structures and “rules” that are generally accepted as valid – to maintain a certain hierarchy and ensure responsibilities are fulfilled, and opportunities to develop, not only on an individual basis, but on behalf of the entire clan.
PLDC goes a long way to provide a group feeling within the lighting design community. The big plus is that this group feeling also embraces related specialists and their respective disciplines. Sharing knowledge and visions, which does not only happen at quality conferences, can support mutual appreciation. Sound leadership is not easy to ensure, and specific rules have to hold sway to be able to do justice to the overall group’s goals and qualities.
Talking of rules, are you aware of the ten commandments put together by the Native American Indians? Some of them really hit home for lighting designers. Yes, well … we don’t need to go any further down that esoteric track. But words or phrases such as responsibility, respect, wellbeing of mind and body – and “do what you know to be right” in particular (!) –are certainly an integral part of lighting design.
Lighting designers are gregarious in the sense of being social animals. OK, they do not live in herds or flocks. Although some companies are very large nowadays. However, they do tend to move in groups, or enjoy forming groups, when and where it makes sense. Lighting designers are not born as such, although some may claim to be! Today it is possible to align with the community at a relatively early age, and if you can already feel part of a movement or society when embarking on a career, this can indeed give you confidence and assurance. Both locally and globally.