It never ceases to amaze me how work comes in floods versus dribbles. For the past few months I have been focusing my attention towards the art and craft of photography. It has been a quiet time, wherein I have been able to exponentially make gains in my knowledge of what it is I am trying to do exactly in this whole game. I have built up two solid series on Japan and Paris from my travel there, and then it has been a lot of “what ifs”. That was until last week…
In the space of a few days I have had a tonne of work come my way, and all of it is really interesting to me on different levels. Paderno’s new catalogue season is bringing back in the bread an’ butter of my business, but it has also brought the challenge of shooting two showcase images that will be blown up to 48″x48″ for trade shows. I am not sure if the Canon 1DmkIII will handle that size, so I am considering renting a Phase One back for my Mamiya 645afd camera for that job. At $250 for a day, it is a business consideration that might lead me in all kinds of directions. I might realize that it is idiotic to rent, that I was idiotic to not rent, that I really need/want one of these $20,000 systems or that I need to explore my options. Really, I bought the 645afd in the Spring just in case this type of work came in so that I could rent a back when necessary. In May it really looked like I was heading towards the “big time” and had to be ready for anything; I definitely needed to buy a $20,000 back. This was not so far-fetched given the amount of unrelenting success I had, but when things cooled down I was able to refocus my business with the reality of the post-crash economy so that it survived intact. When it became quiet, I studied and developed my vision of what I wanted to achieve.
Now I have posters, a book cover, video editing, catalogue work and a lot of family portrait inquiries on the go. What are my next steps? I am psyched about the book cover and have spent a lot of sleep time envisioning that project. The family portraits is interesting, but I need to make it both affordable for clients and profitable for the time I need to give to a shoot. I also have to figure out what those clients actually want. In the most recent case, it is an old friend who wants his family done for posterity: some full family, individuals and a child. I am cool with that as it will be nice to have them visit the studio, meet Mingus, take some photos and have some duck confit hors d’oeuvres and wine after the shoot.
On another front…I had my first “borrowing” of an image from this blog. I did my regular self-Google, and found that one of my images had been posted without permission on a website. It was a weird moment for me. I was flattered, yet bothered that I was not asked for permission. The site was Len Henry’s Mentors. Now Len should know better than to do this, because he is a fashion producer, but he at least credited back to my site and it is exposure for a photo that I was not positioned to make money from right now. Perhaps I am cool with it because I approve of the message of his site, but at the same time, my photography is not for grabs as free content. So the dilemma was whether to watermark all of my blog images or leave them for now. At the moment I would rather post things here cleanly so that those tuning in can see what I am up to clearly, but if I get too much taking without permission, then I may change things. A year ago I would have killed for anyone to use my image anywhere, but now I do have to be aware of where my photography is used if only to protect what I am connected with.
V. is coming home from her travels through Thailand, Cambodia and Saigon on Sunday. If we are lucky, then maybe she will let me post some of her work on an upcoming blog. I cannot wait to see what she captured on tour. I am also probably going to purchase a second Hasselblad lens (a 150mm Sonnar cfi) and a ProShade for the studio this weekend. I finally figured out the last problem with the Hasselblad lenses in the studio: since I shoot so much high-key the white light is reflecting back into the lens because I do not use a hood on that lens. I am still putting money into my lenses because they are like paintbrushes, and the Hasselblads will work on both of my systems now. They cost more and are only manual focus, but the build is killer and the adaptability makes up for the cost differential. Mamiya and Canon produce stellar lenses, but they just don’t capture my imagination in the same way.
Enough about the camera stuff…what about this thing called life? Well, it has been a foundational time for me. I have been learning what is important and what is really not. Surely, that is a never-ending process, but I can state with confidence that nothing is more important than chasing your dreams. Yes, we are in a state of fear and panic in our tumultuous economic times, but we still need a spine to stand up for ourselves and to seek the light. It is too easy to let fools pressure us into believing that we are wrong. It is too easy to let the narrow-minded convince us that our dreams have no merit. It is too easy to lose sight of how little time we have on this wondrous planet to share ourselves with others and to grow larger each day. While it is a struggle, I am so thankful for the opportunities that have crossed my path. I would never say that I have been given things, but rather that I have taken them and made them into something my own. My challenge this week is to keep my head about me when the center does not seem to want to hold. Your challenge should be to sit and appreciate one moment a day with someone you love.