What we needed more of is Role Models, not mentors (in weddings and everywhere else). It’s not that there is no value to traditional mentorship, it’s just that there is more in role models.
Role models are the people who can model behavior for others to emulate. They inspire. They also scale (just like there is no limit to how many people Madela can be a model to). Mentors on the other hand are based on scarcity.
Role models in photography are not different than in any other kind of business of theme of life: They set high standards. They pursue passions. They continuously learn and grow, and by doing so, inspire others. They show up with a mission to change the lives of their community for the better and to give the world their own, unique version of better.
There are role models in the wedding business business. I can think of several: people who show up with a bold new idea, like those who have shown us film can be brought back to life (at least one comes to mind). People who have made it their life’s quest to celebrate the intimacy and gentleness of womanhood (at least one such photographer comes to mind, and what makes her a role model is how many followed after her), or photographers who challenge the boundaries of what wedding photography should (or better, could) be.
These role models, surely, must have been mentors to some, but what is more important is that they have been role models to many.
I have role models who are photographers, and role models who are not. They thought me more than any traditional mentor could ever do. I have never met most of my Role Models (many of them are long dead) and they never gave me free advice. They never sat down with me like a fatherly or motherly figure. Instead, they simply existed, influencing me generously in ways that transcend the scope of traditional mentorship.
What we need is for you to become a role model. A solidary light in a world polluted by neon extravaganza.