In my job hunting, some advice offered in figuring out what line(s) of work one should try to get into was “What would you do if money didn’t matter? That’s what you should do.” I have a problem with this so-called advice. Nevermind the fact that one’s answer to that question is most likely going to be something that is not a viable career anyway. I’ve spent a lot of years
doing trying to do just that and I’ve got squat to show for it and that is exactly how I came to be in the pickle I am now in.
Nobody ever told me trying to make a career of photography blows. I grew up in the final days of film and was often scolded for wasting said film on “pointless” pictures, but those pictures (none of which survived to still be in my posession today) meant something to me, they may have been of “stupid” subjects but there was something about them that was interesting to me and worth saving.
Then came technology and digital cameras, and fast-forward a bit and nearly anybody can now get their hands on a great camera and even the most photography-ignorant people can manage decent shots. And if they can’t, they can fake it with photo editing software and apps. It makes it that much harder for someone who genuinely loves the art to make any money from it. And it was already a near impoosible feat anyway.
Another factor that comes into play is that… oh hell, I will just say it. People are stupid. I realize art is totally subjective, what one finds interesting another finds dull etc. But seriously. People. Are. Stupid. Over the years while I have worked hard to try to improve my photography and have never gotten anywhere for my efforts, I have seen other people get thousands of “likes” and awesome comments and support etc for images that completely lack composure, creativity, a single ounce of actual photographic knowledge or skill… examples (and sorry but I am NOT linking the ridiculous things): a potato, a ketchup packet on a city sidewalk that had been stepped on and squished open, a completely blurred to the point NOTHING is visible but blurriness “portrait”, and landscape images so blown-out you see hardly anything but blindingly bright white. Again, I know art is subjective, and like I said before, when I was a kid I “wasted” film on “stupid” pictures. But by the time one is a teen, and certainly by the time you’re an adult, if you really want to call yourself a photographer you should learn how to properly use a camera and compose your shots. Running around taking snapshots with no rhyme, reason, or effort whatsoever, with your expensive DSLR on full freaking auto rather than manual or at least a semi-manual setting, is NOT being a photographer. Enjoying the basic act of photography, sure. But you’re not coming up with anything a five year old couldn’t do. Actual photography takes skill in lighting and composure, and posing if you work with models, as well as knowlege of what the different settings do and how to adjust and utilize them to make the very best photographs you possibly can. It’s not as simple as “Oh look that is neat looking! *snap*” without putting some thought into it first.
Not that there is anything wrong with snapshots. There are always going to be situations where you want to just knock out a few snaps and then just enjoy the moment as it happens. But if you are going to call yourself a photographer, if you’re going to take the time to create a portfolio, you need to actually know cameras and photography, you need to really think before releasing the shutter, you will probably even put some effort into your quick snapshots. And your DSLR will NEVER be set to full automatic.
So, what would I do if money didn’t matter? That is EASY. I would get myself a shiny new camera and some snazzy new lenses to go with it, hop in the car and just drive. No specific route, no set destination… I would just go wherever the hands of fate led me, stopping to take pictures of whatever catches my attention along the way.
Sadly, money DOES matter so this is just a dream that is not likely to ever become reality for me.
What would YOU do, if money didn’t matter?
Until next time. xoxo