These last few days have been pretty busy and I’ll be on the road for the next couple days, so I’ve been struggling to shoot and write as much as I’d like. That actually seems to be the case quite often for me, and these “post every day” challenges just highlight the struggle more than usual.
I usually ascribe this struggle to the fact that I’m not a professional photographer. I’ve consciously made the choice to prioritize certain things above photography in my life, and that means that I won’t always have time to dedicate to my art. Sometimes I daydream about what life would be like as a professional. I imagine being able to fully dedicate myself to making images and training my eye and learning new techniques and all kinds of wonderful things…
Of course, this daydream is not a reflection of what life would be like as a professional photographer. In all likelihood, I’d feel more limited creatively than I currently do, since I’d be shooting for clients who have a predetermined aesthetic in mind or I’d be worrying about what type of image is trendy and would sell so that I could pay my bills.
The more I think about it, though, the more realize that the things we think dictate our lives are actually just starting points. For example, here’s how I’ve been thinking about the amateur/professional tradeoff:
As an amateur photographer, I don’t have as much time to dedicate to my art, but when I do have time I’m not restricted at all. If I was a professional photographer, I’d have much more time to work on photography, but my creativity would be restricted.
These are mostly true statements. They’re accurate of the starting point for the two life states. This method of thinking is useful because it allows us to relatively easily compare two very complex situations. But using the starting point shortcut is dangerous because it strips away nuances that may be extremely powerful. In this example, I’m using my current life state as a basis for sketching out the situation of an amateur photographer and I’m using what I’ve read from professional photographers as a basis for sketching out the situation of pros. But there are all sorts of nuances that aren’t encompassed here. Surely I could find ways to create more time for photography without sacrificing the other things that are important to me. And surely there are professional photographers who are creatively fulfilled. There are ways to improve upon the starting point stereotypes, and if we always take this shortcut approach of considering our options we’ll never find them. Our quick comparison will turn into limiting beliefs that will, over time, make us feel crippled by catch–22 situations.
Well, that blog post took a turn in a direction I wasn’t expecting… I’m sorry if this sort of post doesn’t interest you (in which case, feel free to just enjoy the image and move on!), but since I’m not a professional I don’t have to worry about tarnishing my brand by posting rambling nonsense periodically. Although, maybe I could find a way to post rambling nonsense periodically even if I was a professional… 🙂