Working Your Way Through the Fog
What do you do when you haven’t got direction, All this stuff in your head but inside your guts are all twisted because everyone else seems to have this direction and purpose and you just feel like everything is a bit foggy and you’re scared to take a step at all.
About a decade ago I made the transition from being a city office job to full time photography. It was my fourth redundancy and I could have found another job and ultimately remained unhappy ... Banking had lost it's draw. Instead I took the opportunity to run, pick up the cameras I had learnt to use to capture memories and make art. In a sense I stepped into the fog on that day and now I come to think of it I haven't stepped out. It was a confusing time with many clouds .. running a business, determining what to take photos of at the time it was portraits and events ... finding customers, building a brand, standing with the competition and so the fog goes on. I wasn't at any point and nor have I ever been lost in the fog. There are days, weeks, months where I may not be able to see my hand in front of my face on one day and on others I can see dimly through to the horizon. I'm in the fog but I have direction I am not wandering .. Looking for direction especially when it can't be found is difficult. There are meaningful clues in the fog, places where the light shines we can walk towards and ask questions .. What makes you sing .. what fills you with happiness ? If you are lucky enough to do what you want to do and have your own business. If you are privileged to do what you love then make sure to keep on loving it and not have it turn into a millstone. So many of us can set off on a path that excites us but turns stale ... I know what I love ... I love to build relationships with people which in turn helps them to have a photographic experience that makes them smile.
That's it 20 words that define me ... if that, through all of the fog of what do other people think of what I do. The practicalities of how to do it, that can follow if it doesn't make we want to get up in the morning then why bother ?
What are you good at ?
Now this is a bit harder and takes a certain level of humility ... it's not a question of what do I do better than anyone else. Don't bother to compare yourself to others.
What combination of things are you good at ?
Here's my list
Getting to know people
Creating photographic art of people
Keeping you at ease
Interpreting ideas, solving problems
Those four bullets encapsulate everything I strive for in event, portrait and boudoir photography.
What does the world need ?
Not on a global scale we can't meet that but the world you inhabit, live in and breath it's air. When I started did it need yet another event photographer ... probably not there were many around already.
A photographer that takes time to get to know you and create things specifically for you so that no two shoots are the same ... now that is something different. A photographer that will sit with you, hold your hand through some of the fear and shame well I haven't met another me in my community yet and a doubt I will.
For those of you, especially creatives who think you are alone in the fog. Let me assure you that you are not ... we are all in it together though it can be so dense we can't see, feel or find each other. Creative people live in uncertainty and the fog will never fully clear.
If you are moving in the right direction it doesn’t matter. It’s more important to keep moving, that you do not get stuck. If you wait for the fog to clear it never will.
Take steps, create stuff, feed your soul, make the mistakes, nurture an idea. Build the skills, harness the talent, stick to your values. Embrace the mystery. The fog may never fully lift but the lighthouses will shine their light on you to help you find your way.