I’m working on a little article with Howard Schatz. Howard is the kind of guy who speaks in real gems. Unfortunately, I can’t always find a way to fit them all in to every story. Thankfully I have this blog, where I can share these gems with you. We were discussing how much studying and research Howard puts in to his photography in order to push himself and to continue moving forward with every shoot. "It’s very important," he told me, "for a photographer, an artist, anyone in creative life, to have a vast databank. In terms of photography, a vast visual databank. So that when someone looks through the camera they can recognize ‘I’ve seen this before, I’m not going to do this the same way he did it. I’m going to try to find another way of seeing it.’ So I study, hard; I’m a scholar of my work, of my field. I read everything, I look at every magazine, I look at books, I look online… I don’t want to repeat. I want to find a new way of seeing. And it’s very hard. The more you do it, the harder it gets, the fewer choices you have, the harder you have to work. That’s why I also say when you hear simple, simple, simple… Well simple has been done thousands of times. Simple is not necessarily going to be so unique or original or magnificent. It could be nice. Generally, what I do is very complicated. There are dozens and dozens of ingredients that come to make an image right. And it has to do with the passionate striving to surprise myself." So the next time you look through the lens, try to recognize whether you’ve seen this same scenario before—in your own work or the works of others. Then push yourself to go farther. For more inspiration, take a look at Howard’s web site, then visit your local bookstore to get your hands on his newest book, At the Fights, the culmination of many years spent photographing boxers in the ring and in the studio.