Copyright 2014 Leon Cato Photography
I believe and this keeps me going. I am frustrated with my current photography existence as I have wedged myself into that Mordoor-like Land of Shooting to Eat – while relentlessly neglecting the creation of my own art. The promised land of ‘only shoot what you love and we’ll pay you loads” is there in the distance. Not sure how distant – but I know its there. I suspect there are many others caught up in this exact situation as I speak. As a matter of fact I know this to be true.
But I know I will not get to the promised land if things don’t change, which leads me to this realisation/reminder. Career development and personal work are absolutely critical. Critical. I was reminded of this over the last week as I managed to squeeze in a bit of time to watch other photographers talk, demonstrate and teach. No, I didn’t go to some cool conference, I watched this on my iPhone on the way home from shooting what I call “paid work’. Also, these videos played in the background on my PC as I edited said “paid work” photographs. So here is my problem.
1) Not investing in career development. Even accessing information via my iPhone is not enough of a part of my routine. I may not be able to justify spending $1,000 on attending a conference but my internet and 4G data plans are paid up – so why am I not using them more? Not to mention, I am not taking advantage of my various trade publication subscriptions, free and low cost training opportunities, museum visits, etc, etc.
2) Shooting – MY work. While doing my bi-monthly data back-up exercise today, I stumbled upon some of my older work. Man I used to shoot a lot of personal work! I was pretty ruthless about getting in portraits for my own development and plain enjoyment. Although I do get the occasional portrait for me once in a while, this has slowed down tremendously. Bad times.
So what’s happened? When I decided to go full time with photography I operated in survival mode for several years. Even though now I am actually making a living income with my camera, I am still locked in that survival mode and grabbing as much money as possible. Time for my work will come later. Also, making money and actually affording to do things like buy yourself an occasional beer or two starts to feel pretty good. Especially after feeling the pangs of the starving artist.
But the real truth is that that running around shooting like a maniac to get paid will only give you a new version of the day job you left. For this reason my goal is to fit the personal work and career development into my schedule. Its the only way. Unless this journey will have never reached its potential.