Miller Mobley
Southern Made

2021 POV: Miller Mobley on Creativity, Motivation, and Moving Forward

Content by Allie Binford

New Year’s resolutions have never been an item on my to-do list. Every year I’ve had some excuse to avoid being truly introspective about the year that had passed, or preparing for a fresh start in the new one. 

But in light of this exhausting year, the prospect of starting new in 2021 is pretty exciting. 

Though I am still not one for resolutions, I have been taking time to reflect on the wise words of Miller Mobley, an Alabama-born photographer who has captured the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Bourdain, Michelle Obama, Oprah, and many more.

We interviewed Mobley as a part of our #BigVirtualHolidayParty to entertain our “guests” and get his insights on the creative process. But while this party was just for us, his insights were too good not share. Here are a few of my favorite takeaways.

1. Leave room for the unexpected. When planning a shoot, project, or meeting, there is only so much you can plan for. The best moments on set always come when inspiration strikes you, and that can come from anywhere. 

Big: What is your process like for setting up the perfect shot?

Mobley: Planning is extremely important, but it is also important to throw the plan aside for a minute when you’re creating. Plans don’t really sound creative. Creativity comes from within and you can be struck by it immediately… We’ve got to leave [room for] those moments of spark — the unexpected.

2. Success isn’t always sexy. A successful career doesn’t come from a series of milestones or accomplishments; it comes from perfecting the minute details that add up over time.

Big: No one just makes it overnight. Looking back at your work, you have seen tremendous growth over the past 10 years. What are some of the moments that have been milestones and launching pads for your career? 

Mobley: There are “exclamation points” in my career, but what defines me is the consistency through everything. Showing up, day in day out. Embrace the boring, observing and improving the small details. It’s not sexy to hear, but if you can embrace the whole process of becoming better…it opens you up to receiving.

3. Stay curious. There would be no creativity without curiosity. Listening, learning, and following every lead are the only way to discover something new.

Big: You’ve done work that inspires us all to be better at our own work each day. You could easily wake up in the morning and say “Well, I’ve made it.” But what keeps you going for more and keeps you trying to be better? 

Mobley: It would be such a boring life to just arrive somewhere. I try to keep a student mentality — always learning, always staying curious — because I find that people that let the journey keep them going until they are no longer with us are the most interesting. The people who evolve…they were born to create, to always push forward. That is what I want to be. 

As we push forward into 2021, I hope this new year finds you healthy, inspired, and wide open for whatever is to come.

Want to Talk?

Niki Lim Roden

Director of Business Development