HOW SHOOTING WHAT I WANTED WITH MY GOOD FRIENDS SAVED THE PHOTOGRAPHIC CAREER I JUST STARTED.
I guess you could say I've been a "Professional Photographer" for something like almost 2 years, since thats when I started doing it full time for a job. The strange part about that is that it took probably 7-8 months for me to actually start producing images that one might consider to be "Professional," and by using the term Professional I mean well thought out well crafted images.
I moved out to St. Louis for this photographic job and it's been quite a journey both literally and figuratively. Leaving my hometown was something I absolutely did not ant to do, and the main reason for that is that when I was making the decision to move to another city and separate from my family there was 1 major obstacle holding me back, and that was the fact that my father was in his final journeys after battling cancer for the last five years. After I received the phone call with an extended job offer I hung up the phone immediately and went straight to my dad to ask him what I should do. He didn't even think twice before telling me to pack my shit and head to St. Louis. thats what any supportive parent would say, right? Naturally there was no way in hell I was going to leave with the thought lingering in my head that one day I would wake up and receive a phone call from my mother stating that the inevitable had happened.
THATS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.
November 11, 2013 is a day that I will never forget as long as I live (at least until I go senile or blind since I have it written on my body, haha) Not only is it Veteran's Day, it was the day that my father would take his final breaths and be released into the unknown. Somewhere around 7:30 in the morning I received the phone call I had been dreading for the few months since I left home. When I looked at the phone on the way to work I knew exactly why my mother was calling me so early. "OH SHIT." Would be the last words I spoke before I was hit with the news.
THE REASON IM TELLING YOU ALL OF THIS
is because ever since the day I lost my father things haven't been the same. My motivation levels have decreased drastically, my desire to interact with humans has decreased, my interests in a lot of things have decreased, etc. The main thing has been effected is my job, and my ability to work steadily. However what I have noticed is a ridiculously strong work ethic blossom. I know that may sound contradictory to the statements I just said above, but that way I see things is this:
1. Losing a parent really sucks.
2. Idle minds think about shit.
3. I don't want to think about shit and be upset.
4. Keeping busy will keep my mind occupied
5. Keeping busy will increase skill and craft.
6. Keeping busy turns you into a hermit.
7. Hermits get a lot of shit done in small amounts of time.
So naturally, I did my best to stay busy as hell for the last year and a half, but in that time I've been so focused on working working working that I fell into this weird "robotic" mind set where I would just be a zombie basically and sometimes I would forget days or even weeks at a time. This pretty much happened up until a few days ago.
I had a pretty busy weekend coming up, and I was excited a shit for it! Import Face-off was going to be happening, people were coming in town, there was a cars and coffee, and a few other awesome things. I had been looking forward to this particular weekend for awhile now, and when the rain came in heavily and cancelled Import Face-off I was pretty bummed, but at the same time I wanted to do something in the rain that involved some cars and a camera. My buddy sent out a huge group text that threw some ideas around and before I knew it we were all meeting up and talking about a bunch of stuff before we finally went out and did something.
THIS IS THE PART THAT SAVED MY BRAND NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC CAREER
After exchanging a shitload of different ideas back and fourth off of some awesome people, we eventually decided that we would go down to the road and try to do something a little different. I knew that I really wanted to get a rolling shot of a car in the pouring rain with enough standing water on the roads to create the misted effect. I also knew that I wanted to capture the rain and have it be apart of the image. I jumped in the back of my buddies wagon, tethered to another buddy in the front seat so he could check focus and exposure, and we were off.
While we were shooting I was facing a number of obstacles. I was loosely sitting in the back of a car doing something like 40-50mph, my camera was wrapped in a plastic bag and I really couldn't see shit through the viewfinder, the spray from the car I was in was getting all over the lens, my particular camera has terrible autofocus, I was soaking wet, it was kind of cold, etc.
But none of that mattered. I was working with a team of awesome people doing something I had envisioned. When I wasn't busy wiping the front of my lens I was smiling from ear to ear, laughing, enjoying everything. It was absolutely perfect.
THIS WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE.
AND. Because of this experience, because of the awesome people who were working together to execute a vision of MINE, because I was able to actually bring something from my head into real life, I remembered why I wanted to become a photographer in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE being apart of a team and working together for a common goal. I think its fucking great. But this was the first time I had a bunch of other people who were excited and hyped to create a vision of MINE, and I couldn't be happier.
What I've come to realize is that I've been following this very broad outline of how photographers are supposed to do things, and I've worked so hard to try and fit the mold and workflow. There have been a lot of successes for me personally in this chase, but I think when I was so wrapped up in molding myself into something that I consider to be actually worth something I lost the passion I have for doing the other non "work" photography related things to keep myself happy and excited. Thanks to this idea, that was brought back to life.
Even though these images aren't the greatest things known to man, and there was no payment, or client, the payoff for these images has been gigantic in the sense that they have relit the spark in me to get out and create more of the shit I think about everyday.
Stay tuned people, I have a feeling there's going to be a lot more of these visions coming to life in the future.
CHEERZ TO AWESOME FRIENDS, MY DAD, AND BEING HAPPY AS SHIT.