Some times in life we find ourselves at a cross roads, between passion and obligation, between love and survival. Choosing which path to follow is the hardest thing to do because sometimes the outcome of our choice isn’t as obvious as we would like it to be. Most choices are rarely made with our foresight into the entire outcome, yet when it feels so undetermined we waver and procrastinate instead of jumping in with both feet.
I have found myself at such cross roads before and for the most part I stayed the course. I came out with a degree in hand, no idea where or what I was going to do from there and the past few years in most part has been up and down struggles of finding myself in this world. I know my passion, I knew my passion then, I know what I would like to have as a career but perhaps not the exact idea of how to achieve it without a lot of trial and error.
Art. Art and creation have always driven me since I was a child. I abandoned that path around college, oh I still dabbled, I had my photography but I was studying something to fall back on, something that intrigued my intellectual mind but I had no truer passion for than the intellectual challenge presented in college. Research, academic writing it was something I was comfortable with from years of training and something I could do because it was a safe path even has the years progressed and the need to continue to higher education for a higher level degree became apparent.
Of course there be a cost to continue the academic career path, no real reward waited on the other side, jobs are scarce or temporary more so as the years progress and colleges struggle to gain and retain a student base. The rose colored glasses of academic degrees have been removed from society, I was a part of and have witnessed the shift, not soon enough to save my self the agony of a degree with no purpose but soon enough to realize the scam it presented and that sucked me and many I know in. Of course because there are no academic positions, nothing of intellectual challenge in the job force I have hopped around from various positions that like a puddle in the sun disappeared as economic shifts have occurred.
The one thing that stayed consistent was my passion and love of photography, of my need to grow and be a better photographer. Those who know me, know I want this as a profession; however, there are many days I wonder how to achieve it, talent is but one small aspect of photography. There is the business and client retention especially in an over saturated economy and in competition against smart phones. I am constantly told to niche because that will make it easier to run a business however it is not so easy as picking an area, I have tried and photographed about everything but its a process not a race for me, I want to be my best and produce my best so rushing into selecting my niche isn’t as mistake I want to make.
Yes, for the last decade I have photographed rodeo and equestrians, those have been the two strongest areas of photography for me. But mixing in were portraiture, commercial, weddings, and so much more, everything with their own challenges engaging my mind and ability to wield a camera. I have traveled and have traveled planned for my photography, the challenge of the road, smaller travel bags, and new locations enthralls me as much as getting the right combination of light, angles, and emotion in a portrait.
I feel at a cross roads now; however, as I consider the coming season and a conflict of my own desires. The play it safe and do what I have always done is at war with the find your place and start truly living your passions. This war leapt into focus last year around August, a deep unseated needed burning for change took hold of me, yet I have no idea how to execute that change, what to do, how to do it, what the outcome will be. I have many questions and concerns I worry if I did the right thing by not further pursuing the academic degree my advisors and professors urged me toward
I will be the first to say that in business I am learning what to do and who I am. I am researching, spending countless hours trying to perfect my craft both in artistic application and business need. I’d be the first to tell you I have no algorithm to let me know how to gain clients, or booking secrets.
So why this post you may be asking? Because like all photographers I am human, I am full of insecurities and struggles that aren’t made public. I recently was interviewed and the reasoning behind it intrigued me as the interviewer made the statement people see images and often wonder about the person behind them and how they got there. Of course this isn’t that particular story, but as a person who makes visual work for the world to see I want it known I am not perfect, I struggle with the same things everyone else does.
At the end of the day I too am just trying to be the best version of me, living a life I can be proud of.