What It's All About
Clouds over Chambers Lake
I find it fitting that the opening blog post to my new website is one inspired with images from a camping trip from nearly a year ago.
See, there was a time in my life in which photography was everything! I went to one of the best (and most expensive) photo schools around. I got myself a fancy job at a newspaper as the chief photographer and creative director. It was a slow day if I only shot, edited and produced 3 photo shoots before developing ads and compiling the paper for pre-press. I was never without a camera. And for a time this suited me.
But life is full of surprises...and kids. And kids of course require a lot of time.
A career in photojournalism demands way more time than most salaried positions. Full time means ALL the time. It also pays a whole heck of a lot less. You have to sleep with police scanners, chase sunrise and sunset and be prepared to work well into the night to meet deadlines. Keep thousands of dollars worth of equipment in good operating order.
All of this required more than what my job afforded. So for many years I gave my all to force fit my craft into some kind of freelance career in addition to my "jobs" that allowed the freedom to be with my kids.
I would call this a recipe for disaster, but that‘s a bit melodramatic. More like a slow spiral into self regret and financial hardship. I found myself poorly resourced to really do any of the things I wanted to do...both in career and in life. You’ve heard the phrase, “burning the candle at both ends.” This was more like burning wax crumbs and hoping to stay warm in a cold winter. Granted these were perilous times for the economy at large, but I was moving in one direction and the destination didn’t exactly represent vacation.
Years of working for way too little just so I could say I was working was wearing on my spirit. The heavy camera bodies and expensive lenses strapped to my shoulders began to look and feel more like chains then tickets to freedom. I discovered my work being stolen and used over seas without recompense. People began to expect me to work for free and be thankful for the “opportunity.”
As you might imagine my interest in image craft began to wane. I took a job in sales and turned out to be pretty good at it, so for several years my cameras collected dust. Equipment that needed repair sat in disrepair. Thousands of images waiting on a hard drive to be tended to; a far cry from the beginning of my career.
One weekend I found myself on a short camping trip with my family and some friends. This is one big deal as I habitually proclaimed my love for the natural world all the while finding reasons I was, "too busy" to enjoy it.
On that trip I remembered what I loved most about photography in the first place...it was a "respectable" excuse to BE IN THE MOMENT. A bonafide, legitimate and defensible rationality to wander and roam. This was an "aha" moment. I had suddenly come back to myself!
So as I return to what was once my life focus, now with a bit of that thing we call "wisdom", I have to laugh a little when I realize there is no deadline looming...that a year late is exactly on time.
And that's what life is about I suppose. Things happen when they will. So often the stress we experience in life is of our own making. In this next chapter I hereby take an oath to be more like my dog, Mr. Wilson. I proclaim from this day forward I will let photography be a companion, a guide, a best friend and an adventure. To meet each moment as if it were a new horizon to be sniffed out and relished. So here's a reminder to myself and to you...enjoy the ride!
Mr. Wilson on the Water