Ever since I left Seoul I have been thinking more and more about myself and my photography. I saw John Steele’s great post about his turning point with photography and it really gave me a lot to think about. I have gone over what I do and and how I do it more than at any other point in my photographic life. Was there a turning point for me? Are my best photos behind me?
These past few months have worn me out. A year ago, I had what I called the perfect job for a photographer. I worked at a university with some amazing photographers and I had the time to get out and take some photos whenever I wanted. However, just a few months ago the same person who hired me basically laughed me out of his office when I went to check my schedule for this term. So I that got me thinking a lot about if I am at a crossroads in life right now.
The biggest choice that I think that anyone has with life and with photography is do you continue down the road that you have always gone but ultimately leads nowhere or do you keep changing paths until you find one that suits you or that is profitable? For the longest time, I chose the comfortable path. For 5 years I worked at the same school, took the same photos of the same places. It was really comfortable knowing that nothing would change. I knew where to go and what to do.
Sadly, nothing lasts forever and doing the same thing wasn’t doing it for me. That is the same way that I feel about my photography. For years, I had a recipe for HDR photos that I thought were really good. I would set up, shoot and not really even have to think about the settings. Maybe a bit about the composition but more or less I just knew that I was going to get something out of the shoot. For most, that is great.
For me, I started wanting more. I started seeing other people pop up and make some serious waves and yet no matter how many of my photos I posted, they only made ripples. It was really starting to get to me. I was got so annoyed when I saw people getting getting great shots with a ton of comments. I knew that this wasn’t healthy and the whole thing was meaningless but it still burned me inside.
My Turning Point
The biggest thing that I realized was that I had to change myself in order to change the outcome of my efforts. I have been doing the same things over and over again. Taking the same photos over and over again. So I started learning new techniques. I started depending on HDR less and less and actually using the camera and the myriad of photo techniques to get the desired look that I wanted.
It is the same in life. I got lazy and I realized that the people that I look up to are the ones are pushing themselves everyday. Sure, they may seem relaxed but they are also hitting the gym, studying, maintain schedules and just being positive. I have grown into a complainer while the people that I was complaining about were out there putting in some serious effort to get their name out. It’s easier to gripe about how crappy things are than to change them. It is a lot harder to see how great things are and that with a little effort each day I can do something better.
So for now I am focussing on being that person and that photographer that I want to be. This means learning and studying each day and even meditating. I always thought that meditation was for hippies or something to only do when you are really stressed but it is helping to give me a clearer idea of what I want. I have even done this while waiting for a right light out shooting. Just taking a few minutes to clear my head and focus on the scene in front of me really helped make a better photo.
So in the end, I just want to say that hopefully there will be a new path for me in the coming days. I have a new blog style with a clearer focus on the photos and I am really happy with it. Thank you all for the great support and I hope this post wasn’t too sappy. I hope that it gave you something to think about on some level.