Life has changed a good deal after leaving college. Much of it for the better, but honestly, life has just gotten plain hard. Because guess what? I am passionate about a profession that makes it really hard to make a good living. Every morning I wake up wondering why I couldn't have been interested in engineering or being a doctor. What was I thinking?
My passion of photography has gotten the better of me time and time again. I love it too much, which makes me sick to my stomach to fail or mess something up. I even quit photography all together one time, which was an interesting few months in itself. Probably picked up a camera one time in a whole year. That's when I started the 365 Reloaded, it was my love letter to photography, my triumphant return to my passion. I was getting back to work.
When I taught my DSLR Workshop a few weeks ago, I had an awesome class of people who just wanted to learn. They had no experience, and just wanted to be able to use their cameras. This is the mindset that is needed to be a photographer: the desire to learn. There's a quote from an artist, I forget who at the moment, but it basically goes like this: I don't know anyone who can pick up a musical instrument and is suddenly a musician, and the same goes for photography. You don't just pick up a camera and that makes you a photographer. In that year I "quit", I still claimed the title "photographer" yet I did no work, I didn't practice, and I learned nothing new.
Photography is hard. Being a photographer is harder. I love what I do so much, and I have a desire to learn everything I can about the medium. That love doesn't come without a struggle, and a bitter hatred of being a photographer some days. Today, being a photographer is probably one of the most inconsistent career paths you can choose, and every day is scary. Not to say it's impossible, but you have to be all in, you need a love for the art.
Having a regular job sounds great some days; a consistent paycheck would be awesome. But honestly, I don't think I could stomach a job where I'd have to clock in a the same time in the same place every day. Maybe that's selfish of me, I still haven't decided.
I know failure is seconds away at all times, and that's why I can't have another tantrum and "quit" again. I may have learned a lot about myself in that time, but my photography fell behind. Picking up a camera and becoming a photographer comes with so much responsibility and work. From what I've found, it never stops. Say goodbye to weekends, and many nights. Really though, I wouldn't have it any other way.
If you're someone who believes being a photographer is just pressing a button, you have no idea. Just ask my wife.