A rare moment of stillness came this week as all of my projects came to a close, invoices were shipped out and I was not traveling anywhere. This is now the beginning of my seventh month as a professional photographer and I am still standing. Actually, I am doing much better than just standing, and I cannot help but feel grateful that so many people have seen and subsequently become intrigued where my photography might go.
It is this positive movement with success in tow that now brings me to my next challenge: now that I see that my work competitively stands up with the big city work of Toronto what do I want to achieve in the next year? For once in my life this question is difficult, because I really can sense something big right around the corner if I can just imagine what it is. I have always set goals for myself since grade twelve when my English teacher proposed it as a good way of achieving things; we were studying what became one of my favourite novels, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the final pages, Jay Gatsby creates a list of steps towards his self-improvement, and to prove that he is good enough for Daisy.
This year I set some pretty heavy goals and by implementing some brilliant strategies learned at David Allen’s GTD Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia, I have been able to become a much better, stronger man. I believe that I have become a person who cares about not only his friends, but about the world. In the last 365 days I began to sponsor a child in Mongolia and worked with my class to send two alpaca, three bunny rabbits, four guinea pigs, two hens, a rooster and a goat through World Vision Canada to those in need. It is just a small act, and I will not be sainted for it, but it is a step beyond saying that I would like to help. I decided to take my mom on the adventure of her lifetime while she was still able to enjoy the opportunity. How many times do we say to ourselves “Someday I will take my loved ones on a trip to show my appreciation for all they have done for me!”? Yet, we seldom do it, because it is easily put off. Our week in Paris together was epic, and is perhaps my greatest life accomplishment so far. However, I would not have been able to do this though without the success of my photography and the extra money that provided me with. Really, so much of our lives are tied together in inextricable, invisible ways that if we can make progress in one area, then the others can follow if we allow them to.
The photography is now at a point where I am able to learn new things quickly, and believe me I am learning at a lightning speed these days. So what is it going to be then, eh?
In the next 365 days, I want to start taking more portraits of people in and out of the studio. I have shied away from this area because I was not sure if I was good enough to have people happy with the work I did. Now I am much more confident of how to do this and I think it might be a lot of fun in the Fall to have friends come over for sessions where we explore together to take some really spectacular photos. Shooting tethered will really help, and after watching so many pros do this, I can see how having the model see their images immediately after capture will put them more at ease.
Tied in to that, I want to get some magazine work. I am not sure if I want to do fashion because I don’t have a stylist to work with yet, but I would love to get some more rockstar promotional work. My first shoot with Cadence Grace was a great experience where I learned what worked and what I struggled with technically. Now that Cadence will appear on CMT’s Karoake Star this season, one of those images might get some circulation soon.
Product photography has been so great to build up my confidence with getting the shot. I think that the current total of images taken for Paderno Cookware is at three hundred and twelve; the images just keep getting better and I never really tire of trying to make each item look like something unique.
Lifegoal is to get a photo printed in National Geographic. I know that this one is against the odds, but it is closer than ever before. I am hoping that Japan gives me the opportunity to take “that shot”. I realized last night that I do have to take my digital camera with me if I want to compete on that level. The medium format film is truly beautiful, but I also need to shoot the high resolutions that magazines demand.
Then there is the writing…I have loved being able to write for VinylFetish. It is so liberating to have an outlet for edgier ideas, and it is so important to not just see the good in the world, but to also challenge the negative into submission. I like to think that the work I do there is demanding people to reflect on the thin veneer of our society.
As always, you can write comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. For those friends who want a photo session…reflect on exactly what you want, clip some photos you like from magazines, and contact me about setting up a session.
Since this goes along with my mantra of taking photos because I want to, if you come up with something really intriguing or cool, then I am much more likely to find a way to make it happen. I would be into anything involving fashion, costume theme or edgy – think of the idea and bounce it to me. I can do the formal portrait for family and friends, too. Babies and dogs are only happening with their owners, and they are a little unpredictable for results, but what the hell. Think more Annie Leibovitz than Anne Geddes…I am not saying, I am just saying.