I sometimes feel like my priorities have changed. Which I am sure they have, but lately I really feel like I need to make even more changes to what I am doing with my work. There are many reasons behind this, but the biggest one is that I am just changing as a person.
One thing I have always believed in is that when you stop learning, or stop trying to expand your knowledge base you stop all progress in your life. I really feel the need to expand right now. I really have to push myself to do more and to be more. This isn’t just a choice I am making, it is a need I feel inside of me.
Other types of artists probably feel this way too. I’m sure people from many other walks of life feel this as well. I can’t imagine a pro athlete does not feel this way! How else would you achieve success at that level?
Now many will say “But Jim, you’re not a pro football player” which is true, but I have been a working photographer, self employed free lance photographer for most of my adult life! This is no easy task to take on! Work in the photography world is hard to come by and to stay working full time takes a huge effort, persistence and more hustle and self motivation than most other jobs I’ve taken on in the past.
I’ve worked for a few other people over the years when I needed a break from full time photography work or when I have wanted to change directions, but none of those jobs were full time nor were they ever a permanent solution. Part of being free lance is you take work when you can get it and you can also take time off and come right back to it when you’re ready.
This is what I like about where I am at with my work right now. I am coming out of a semi-long break and now really trying to figure out where I am really going with it. I love having fun with what I do. Life is about enjoyment and I have a really hard time taking it (or anything) seriously.
For those who don’t know, my wife opened up a coffee house recently and I have been helping her by doing construction, learning how to be a barista and much more. I really dig the place, it has this killer artist vibe and honestly it is one of the reasons I am currently inspired to push myself to do bigger and better things. I have also met some very cool people in the process. There have also been some real whack jobs who have come in!
An older woman came in the other day, luckily not during my shift, but she started calling the photography on the walls “porn” and calling the models who posed for the photos “whores”. Now most people would be pissed off at her, but I honestly feel bad for this older woman. She has lived her entire life probably hating herself. According to her women are supposed to be and act a certain way. Now as a feminist (yes I actually am) I say women can be whatever they want to be. Society needs to stop labeling what women can or can’t do and stop judging them. If they want to be in front of a camera, behind a camera or have nothing to do with even being around a camera that is their own choice!
I am no stranger to my work being misunderstood. I have guys ask me all the time “how do you get these girls to get naked for you?” First, they don’t “get naked for me” they pose nude for the concept. Big difference! Of course then some of these guys assume all these models want to do more than just pose, I assure you, they don’t! These are professionals and should be treated as such.
It is all of these different and outside opinions which make me want to make a change. These experiences and different perspectives begin to shape my own opinions. Some make me want to keep doing what I am doing and push the envelope even more than I have in the past while others make me want to find something else to do entirely. Of course I know that will not happen anytime in the future, I’m way to addicted to this little photography thing I have going on.
I guess I’m just taking it all in and seeing where it leads me or where it inspires my work to go. Either way I’m sure whatever I shoot next it still won’t make church ladies happy nor will it stop guys from wanting to think what they want to think about the models I photograph. Either way I can just be me. Right or wrong, this is the only true way I can honestly contribute to this world.