Ok ok ok….So I’m late to the blog game…but at least I made it here! As a photographer I have a feeling precious few of my posts will actually have words on them, and will instead rely on my images. That said, this first post will be completely devoid of images, and rather will deal with my current thoughts on photography…
Actually, it will deal more with my recent struggles with photography. I am in the midst of a crisis so to speak as to what kind of photographer I want to be. Documentary photography was where I initially started, and continued until last year where I started exploring the dreaded world of commercial and fashion photography. Truth is, I love all aspects of photography and the idea of labeling myself as this or that was disturbing to me. I’ve always believed that the only limits we have are those that we impose on ourselves.
While the fashion and commercial exploration has been an exercise in creativity and has been fun, it has taken me a bit away from my true passion, which is indeed the documentary work. The past several months I have struggled with this as all of us in the realm of documentary and/or photojournalism know that it pays less than nothing. As I enjoy things like food and shelter this was a concern to me and perhaps pushed me more towards commercial work…which pays obnoxiously high. Then I read a book, “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For” by Roy Spence (of GSD&M for my ad people). By the middle of the first chapter I knew I was doing things wrong. Roy espouses the idea that all great and successful businesses are founded on a purpose…and it is a purpose higher than money.
This woke me up and made me realize that everything I had ever done and succeeded at was based on purpose, not money. When I was a teenager my best friend and I started a company that peer educated teens about HIV/AIDS, STD’s, teen pregnancy, and other teen issues. When I started as a sports agent it wasn’t about money either, I simply didn’t want my (then) girlfriend to be treated poorly, and I felt that most agents at that time couldn’t care less about their clients best interests. The more successes I looked at in my life, the more I saw that they were all based on having some purpose I was passionate about…
So I looked at my photography and realized that quite clearly my best work is the Nathan project, and the work I am most passionate about is the documentary work I am just now starting. So I took Roy’s advice and wrote a purpose. My purpose as a photographer is “To photograph the best and worst our world has to offer with the belief that man will strive to achieve the best and take action to correct the worst.” As naive as it may sound, I honestly believe this.
So now I have a purpose! Trouble is there still isn’t a viable way of supporting this work at this time. The good news is, every moment in history that has seent his much turmoil (as is currently seen in the journalism industry) has been the most rife with opportunity. So I plan on spending the entirety of this summer looking at the broken business model photojournalists are forced to work within and see where it needs to be fixed, and whether or not it needs to be scrapped entirely for something new. I would encourage my fellow light chasers to let me know their thoughts…either here, via email, phone, smoke signal, whatever! I’m interested in paying my rent while I change the world, as I imagine many of you are!
That’s enough for post #1 I suppose. I sincerely hope some people check this out, and even more I hope that people exchange their thoughts with me. In the meantime, I am preparing to re-launch the website (http://www.wrrphoto.com). At the moment I just have some rough edits of the Nathan story up, but will be taking it down and putting new galleries up soon. Thoughts and comments are always appreciated!