Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stagnation


I'd love to say that I've been completely inactive for the past 6 months because I'm working on some super-secret project.... but I can't.

I'd love to pretend that I'm the too-big-for-my-britches fancy-schmancy photographer that declares each project or job they've completed was a total success on facebook and other social media... but I can't.

I'd love to post 4 beautifully lit shots with a background story with this post... but I can't.

I haven't even been shooting much on my phone let alone anything proper.

I can't lie to myself and I can't lie to you: I haven't been shooting because I've been depressed... and I've been depressed because I haven't been shooting. I'm exceedingly aware of this detrimental reciprocity but I can't seem to pull out of it. It's certainly not due to a lack of trying; Plans and Shoots keep falling apart. Scheduling issues and not feeling well have been contributing to the issue as well. Grandparents have died, loved-ones are getting cancer, memories of disappointing old teachers...

So what's happening with me?
Did I define my niche' so well that the right client is as rare as triple rainbows?
Did I price myself so that I no longer lose money on each job only to discover that now no one can afford me?
Do I really suck at photography as much as the voice in my head says I do?
Did I decide to make work that's so random that it's not meant for general consumption?

It's quite the conundrum: On one hand, I'd love to be so busy with work that everyone books me for everything like I'm a brand-new photographer doing family sessions for $25 including a DVD of 1000 images... BUT... on the other hand I want my work to be paced properly and high-quality like the client just paid me $1000 for a single print on their wall. Does the price I place myself at matter as much as the work I make? Not at all, but watching social media lately it looks like everyone is suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder.

I'm beginning to see why photographers just shoot for themselves and declare to the world that they're Fine Art Photographers instead of trying to wrangle in clients that don't really "fit" their niche'... That sounds lovely right now: Paying subjects to sit down and be patient with me while I extract photos from idea precipitate, then sell huge, limited-edition prints of the work at the Artist's Market or consignment walls at the local pub to the correct client. Complete control over my process would be amazing.... Complete control over my life would be amazing.... but that's not what I have. That's not what any of us have. I have to make my time away from my family count for something and that means getting compensated in a way that's easy to calculate in US Dollars.

If you've made it this far through the post maybe you feel the same way about something in your own life. Most people keep these negative thoughts in their own head but I've been doing that for months and it hasn't been helping. I'd rather be complete honest about myself than pretend that I'm something that I'm not. "You shouldn't say that stuff because it's bad for your business!" Sure... Maybe... But if I'm lying to everyone about how awesome my life is isn't that just as bad?

Its time for a change. I'm off to schedule something awesome in hopes that it pans out.
What are you going to change in your own situation?

2 comments:

  1. Jeremy, If more artists, professionals of all types, and people in general thought like you, the world would be thriving. For me, you say it all when you say you want your work to be paced properly, because you are a guy in your right mind who knows quality work takes time and takes being in rhythm with all the many elements at play -- not rushing around madly through projects while pretending everything is great. You represent sanity amongst the incoherent economic madness too many people are complicit in. We blame corporations, but if more people had integrity and courage like you, we would all gradually be thriving, by using time wisely and actually enjoying what we create. You deserve all the time in the world to create and flourish.

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  2. Thank you for the positive vibes. There is great pressure in this industry to create work as quickly as possible without regard to actually creating anything... simply duplicating previous results. I know I'm probably not the only one that feels that pressure, but I do my best to not succumb to it (to my own detriment).

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