I can't remember the last time I took my camera out for an adventure on my own. Lately, it's been just business.
There's a song by Marina and the Diamonds that says, "If you are not very careful,
your possessions will possess you." In my particular case, it wasn't my possessions that possessed me, but my business that consumed me.
"How do I book more clients?"
"I have to stop shooting for free."
"I have to be more professional, more stern and serious about this business."
"Let me just check my website one more time."
"Ugh. Why am I failing at this?
It was permeating my life. I was obsessed and I lost sleep because of it. When I wasn't thinking about it, I was talking about it (to my girlfriend, to whom I have already apologized). I felt like Cady Heron when she could "hear people getting bored at her" everytime she talked about Regina George in Mean Girls. But just like her, it didn't stop me from talking about my business, and hoping that someone would bring it up so that I could talk about it more. It was terrible, and painful even for me. I just couldn't come to terms that I had developed an acute condition of self-righteousness.
You know how they say pride comes before the fall? I remember a few weeks ago when my friends and I went ice skating. I had gone around the rink a couple of times before my girlfriend, Savannah arrived. I was tired of seeing the other couples skate around while they struggled to stay on both feet. So when Savannah finally stepped into the rink, I grabbed her hand and said, "C'mon, let's show these people how it's really done." You can already expect what happened next. Just as we start to pick up some momentum, my feet start to fail, and like lightning strikes the ground, my face struck that beautiful, glistening ice, and I pulled poor Savannah down with me. At least the ice numbed the pain. I was so embarrassed because I was trying so hard to be perfect and show off. I literally fell after my pride.
It was similar with my photography business, except that I was blindly causing myself to fall, charging outrageous prices and acquiring horrible marketing and social skills. Yes, I have clients, but you're not seeing my name in magazines. My focus was entirely on money. I'd completely forgotten why I pursued a career in photography in the first place. I had lost my passion and that fire that burned so bright was only but hot embers that lingered on a cold beach shore.
But this weekend, that flame rekindled. I picked up my camera. I walked outside. I photographed what I found inspiring. I can't believe I've never taken pictures on a foggy day before. I found time to reflect on what I've been doing, and how wrong I've been doing it. And if there are any aspiring photographers out there who are reading this, don't lose your passion for photography. Don't get caught up in the money, and how many clients you have to book. Focus on doing what you love, and why you love it. And don't be afraid to express yourself. There are so many photographers in the world. What makes you stand out from the rest of them? Clients will hire you because of who you are, not just because of your pictures.
A close friend of mine shared a video with me: a speech by Jasmin Star, a talented and amazing photographer who is so humble and true to what she does. Watching this helped me re-evaluate the way I do my business. You can watch it here.