Becci Manson | Experienced Independent Retoucher

Becci Manson has an inspiring and unique story to tell. She went from being a shy, reserved girl who struggled to express her creativity to a becoming a world renowned Retoucher and founder of the All Hands Photo Rescue Japan Program. She has had the opportunity to share her story and expertise by having the honour of being a TED speaker. Starting from the bottom straight out of school, training at one of the first reprographics companies in London to have Photoshop, led her to a 20+ year career working within the Retouching, Photographic, Advertising and Reprographics industries for some of the biggest names in the world. From a retoucher to instructor, a freelancer, head of retouching in a very successful retouching house in New York City, and owner of The Post office, a bi-coastal post production company working on worldwide campaigns and international Magazines, to founding and running a photographic humanitarian project – hand cleaning and retouching family photographs destroyed after the 2011 Japanese earthquake and Tsunami. 


Becci-Manson-1My Definition Of Success | Success for me means happiness, feeling fulfilled, being loved, having time to do the things I love and helping people when I can. Having a career in a field I love helps, it does mean that when I’m working I am doing what I love, and a lot of the time, being paid for it. My definition of success has changed yes; I did realize that the paycheck wasn’t a mark of success; how I spend my time is more important. That time is more valuable than the pay checks.


I Am Driven By | Helping people, passion for my work, doing jobs I love, being creative, getting great feedback about work I’ve been involved in, having time to spend with the people I love and making my parents proud of me.


My Highlights | Looking back and seeing how far I’ve come. Being born and raised in a very small town/village in rural England to living and working in London, then moving and becoming successful in New York City and now moving on again and trying to do the same in Los Angeles. It’s a long way to come for a small town girl, alone with only a high school education. Also, obviously the project in Japan. Having watched these huge disasters unfold for years from the safe distance of a TV set on the other side of the world, I did always just really want to go there and help and make real difference to someone. I also just really wished that the talent I have could actually feasibly help in a situation like that, but I figured there was no way. So finding a way to go and volunteer after such a huge disaster and then also realizing that because of my talent, I could help in such a unique and important way and help others do the same, even if they couldn’t make the journey to be in japan themselves, was a huge moment. Being invited to do and then actually doing the TED talk was also a highlight and a moment I am very proud of. Not just because I had watched and admired the people giving the talks for so long, but also because I was so painfully shy and bullied when I was younger, to the point of almost failing part of my English GCSE exam because I just wouldn’t speak in class. To go from that to standing on that stage was huge for me.


Becci-Manson-3The Difference Between Good And Great | Failure, the determination to keep going afterwards, and using that failure as a valuable lesson.Patience, there are not many things in life that are instant; you need to have the patience to work at them and appreciate the journey sometimes.Knowing that you don’t know everything. If you always keep in mind that you can never know everything, you are more open to always keep learning and expanding and practicing.Also thinking beyond just yourself and what you are doing, and are maybe expected to do. Think about how to push the boundaries of what you are doing. Always do everything as if it is the most important job/project you have ever done. It may very well be.


A Key Talent |This one is a hard one! It’s possibly my stubbornness/determination, which thankfully overruled my impatience when I was younger. It meant I was determined, beyond a lot of my peers, to succeed at what I was doing. I was often told as a teenager that no one earns money as an Artist. And although I am definitely not a traditional type of artist, I do create and produce, or help produce images everyday and earn a living and been very successful at doing this. That stubbornness also meant that nothing was “good enough” for me. Knowing I can always do better and trying to do exactly that (when deadlines and schedules allow) has pushed me more than a lot of other factors sometimes. I’ve certainly had to take this stubbornness/determination and make sure that it didn’t become a negative problem over the years. There is a fine line between those 2 things. When I was younger the determination in me meant I would always get things done, done well and on time, the stubbornness often meant that maybe I didn’t always listen to people around me when I should have, when it could have helped. It also meant I didn’t always admit to mistakes or that there may have been better ways to get to the same place. As I’ve grown older and more experienced I have a much better relationship with my mistakes and I know that they are as valuable to me as all the things I did right, but only if I admit to them and learn from them. So now I learn twice as much twice as fast because of this.I am much less stubborn and much more determined now.What do you believe are the characteristics, actions, habits and behaviors that you both have and use, that have helped you achieve what you have been able to achieve?


Principles I Live By | Be kind, be patient, listen and learn. Most importantly, treat everyone and everything how you would like to be treated.


Critical Skills I Develop | I had to learn to slow down and listen more, I also had to realize that I didn’t know everything and that learning is a wonderful lifelong journey that keeps you young, inspired and creative.


Dealing With Doubt | When I have a moment of self-doubt and fear, which I do quite regularly, I look back at all the other same moments and look at how many times I was wrong. Its rarely, if ever, I look back and think, “I was right to doubt myself, I shouldn’t have tried!”. But there are a few times I look back and never know, times when I doubted myself so much that I just didn’t bother trying or gave up. The not knowing what would have happened in those times is so much harder to deal with than the very, very few occasions I tried, didn’t succeed and then wish I’d never bothered.Because those times I didn’t succeed, I still learnt things along the way that were invaluable in my journey.When I was first starting the project in Japan, I had to fly back to New York City for a week. While I was in New York, sitting in my apartment, surrounded by my everyday life, I kept having these thoughts in my head: What are you thinking? What are you doing? You can’t do this? It’s impossible! I kept trying to ignore them, but it was hard while I surrounded by all of my everyday comforts, distractions and daily life. As soon as I got back on a plane and back to Japan and arrived in the middle of an area that had been so completely devastated, all I could think was: How can I not do this? We have to do this! Removing myself from my comfort zone and getting back to the place that had inspired me, the place where the work was needed made me realize, I couldn’t not try.


The Meaning Of Life | I believe the meaning of life is different for everyone. We all have our own journeys to discover and we should never negate or criticize others for theirs.No two people are the same in this and the sooner we understand that and just try to understand each other’s meaning as well as our own, the sooner we’d stop unnecessary conflicts.


Becci-Manson-2The Best Advice I’ve Received | Something my Nan told me a long time ago; “if you think you can, you can and if you think you can’t, you are probably right.”

 

 

 


Advice On Building Wealth | That concentrating on those things is probably not the way to live your life and could possibly lead to unhappiness, bitterness, jealously and dissatisfaction. If you aim to do the things you love in life and concentrate on those, you are much more likely to gain the things in life that are important, sometimes wealth comes with that, but it will be less important and you will probably be more altruistic, which, again, will lead to more happiness.