June 9th, 2018 … Work vs Work … Living With some of the Inverse Square Law
…. no, sorry I disagree and it’s my class. Listen, the more you do for your self, the less acceptable images you’ll really love. The more you do for work, or business whatever, the less rejections you accept and the less satisfaction you get. The reason is, the photos represent money and other things. So you become more attuned to the client and perhaps less attuned to your own feelings about what your doing. This is natural and in no way lessens the intent of what you apply yourself to. The real question I have struggled with is, the difference between work and work. Meaning, work for myself for esthetic and joyful reasons and work for clients. I’m told by many pro shooters that they actually make no distinction between the 2. La dee da, good. For me there is a marked difference. Olivier calls it mindset. Maybe he’s right and I mean sometimes he’s right about things we do for Inspired Eye. Let’s not give him too many props cause he’s young and it will go to his head and I will never hear the end of it.
I tend to think it’s INTENT. I know I know, I’m always talking about intent. Maybe my intent on this is to get clarity on the intent of work and work. shooter flashback…. a safe one and approved by the VA. Decades ago I was doing weddings and events. I made out ok because it wasn’t my principle source of income, altho, it was nice to have extra money and know that it was extra. The thing is, that after about a year of doing this stuff, I started to feel a lack of love and JOY for photography. Really, I also felt a lack of joy for my life. Now that’s a common feeling for Vets and I damn sure don’t take it lightly and neither should the Gov’t. Luckilly I knew the difference between my dis satisfaction of life and from my photgraphy. It was PTSD before they invented it.
Be forwarned and enlightened…..in the USA there are about 22 Veteran suicides daily. These are the ones that succeeded and not the ones that didn’t. So now the number climbs to a number our politicians should be ashamed of. The disgrace is that they don’t feel ashamed.
….back to the wedding stuff. I was shooting 2 Leica’s, one with color and one with B&W. The stress of working an event with film is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, even a senator, well not all but some. I noticed rapidly over the course of time that I was WORKing and making money but my personal WORK was falling to the wayside. The crazy thing was, that I was doing basically the same things as my personal work. Darkroom work, the same cameras, my same eye and vision, so what was eating at me? I decided to simplify this in a way. I started to do B&W only and make the negatives in my darkroom and then contact sheets. I would give them all to the client. This was a relief because I wasn’t bogged down. I was getting around $1500.00 per event and that was in the early 80’s. Funny thing was that I was getting the same money and I started to just shoot the event and hand the client film. Wallah, done, finito.
I was anylizing the situation very closely. I mean the event stuff was financially satisfying. My personal work was satisfying to my heart and soul. I started to want to stop the event work because money damn sure ain’t everything. There was a lack of feeling of life in me doing that stuff. Look, I speak for me knowing others are covered in this but I ain’t naming names. I haven’t felt connected to anyone since I came home from Nam. I am detached with my heart and soul. I like to believe myself that I love my kids and family and friends etc. I can say it but mostly, inside, I don’t understand the feelings. Maybe they are normal but to me, it’s all messed up cause I’m destroyed emotionally and mentally.
Knowing this back in the day forced me to stop event work and all money shoots. Quickly I started to do my personal work and I started to feel alive again. Alive means that I started to feel value as a human being. Maybe not to others but to me and I knew that I am alone even around others. I know I will exit stage left and be alone. It’s ok, not afraid to die for real, living scares the shit out of me. So what does this all have to do with WORK vs WORK? I kinda feel that if your reading this, I don’t need to explain.
The beauty of life is in the intent of living. The beauty of living is in the assisting and helping of others. If we can be a beacon of light for others and to guide where and when we can, perhaps this is the key to a healthy life and a healthy mind. What does this have to do with photography? Well, if you get this then you understand, bless you. If you don’t really understand, then I will try to explain if you reach out. Others will help if need be.
So, the moral of this story, the moral of this song, is that one should never be where one does not belong. (Dylan) So I think Linda is right. Maybe I have made my personal work into work work. Maybe others have also. Maybe that’s good and maybe not. All I know is that there is something missing from my photography. Linda thinks it’s the acceptance of JOY. Maybe she’s right. I mean I need to listen to youth because they haven’t been shattered as us oldens.
If you go out to do anything at all and you have a focused intent, doesn’t matter if you accomplish what you set out to do or not. What matters is the realization of the JOY of doing.
I know I went off here but maybe I had too. Just remember my friends, go where you want and do what you want, just don’t forget to smell the flowers along the way and make sure you feel your heart beating.