The Tax Man Cometh

It must be tax time when I need to stay awake until 1am stapling receipts together in categories such as “Restaurant Research”, “Travel Costs for Portfolio”, and “Groceries for Professional Shoots”. Despite the fact that I am meticulous about my receipts and that I have a superb accountant, I always fear that one day the CRA will knock on my door to tell me that I was doing everything wrong.

The biggest challenge as a professional photographer is to make an argument that you are indeed a professional photographer and not a gear hog who collects cameras to take pictures on vacation. I spend a lot of my time ensuring that my work gets out there, that I am always out there building a portfolio of published work, and that I make money. An artist can only write-off expenses for about two years before problems occur, if he has not invoiced a fair amount of work.

On other news, I just received word that I will be in New York for four days (July 12-15th) on an intense Differentiation workshop. While the jargon abounds, I am really interested in learning how to apply the theory to develop my teaching. I have spent a lot of time this year working on how I teach and relate to students and colleagues, and in my twelfth year of education I might be striking a better balance between what I know and what I teach to students.

New York is not my favourite city, but it should be. Like Chicago, another city low on my list that will be revisited this summer, it has stellar food, heavy music, stunning architecture and represents American idealism. This time I am going to crash at the hotel, Night. I thought about going back to the Chelsea Hotel, but given the whole fear of bedbugs in N.Y.C., I decided to go with something less…artistic. If I have any time at all to shoot and eat, then I would love to get back to Katz’s Deli and Babbo for dinner. Batali’s food kills me, even though both V. and I thought he was idiotic in the” Gwenyth Paltrow drives with Mario through Spain in a Mercedes” show.

Finally, I should be posting some new photos of my latest upgrades to my 2009 Ducati Monster 696. I ordered a carbon tank piece, some Rizoma fuel pieces, an adapter for the Rizoma lights I bought last year but was too afraid to install, and bar ends. I like to put a few hundred dollars on keeping the bike looking and riding clean each year, and my photos of that process receive a big chunk of hits each day on the blog. The blog has been attracting about 100 readers a day, which is so cool; keeps me writing, exploring and thinking despite being in a room with crumpled receipts.

Tonight’s photos were taken the last time I was in New York; those four days were the low point of my life. I would call that rock-bottom, and that is a paradigm I will never revisit. The difference that three hours, three days or three years can make is extraordinary, and perhaps that hope for change is the reason why I push so hard while I can. I left these photographs with their dust and scratches.


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