I am like the countless thousands of passionate artistic people who loved creating imagery, loved getting the feedback for images that people enjoy, and it seems like that would always be a facet of my "self".
With the downturn of the photography market, pandemic, and now post pandemic recession, I am no longer as passionate about photography as I used to be. Before all this, I would always have a decent camera within reach, wherever I went. I was experimental when there weren't paying gigs, looking for images that would help get me in front of paying clients who loved the work I was producing. Now, I don't go many places due to residual pandemic fears and the need to "work from home" at my day job in cybersecurity. I may have a cellphone with me if I venture out, but I've not been to the great outdoors, Asia or Europe to take those wonderful travel photos I dreamt I'd be taking.
Once in awhile I break out my Leica Q2 and charge the forever depleted battery and then find myself trying to remember which buttons did what function (being a Canon guy for so long, it was not "by feel" like it was with my 5D MKIII or earlier models.) I feel a bit clumsy as I try to manually adjust ISO/shutter/aperture thru the menu...and then think "wow...am I no longer as good as I used to be??"
I believe you have to practice, have your finger on the shutter every single day or you lose the natural part of being a photographer, making the camera settings adjustment almost by muscle memory.
I fear if I don't get back to that state again, I may lose my passion for the work altogether. I never thought I'd be THAT person. I've always associated my love for that craft as being part of my persona....have I lost that? I hope not, but then again it seems tough to justify all the hardware and software...my Mac wants to be fed, but yet she hasn't been doing much retouching in the past 3 years.
I have done virtually zero portrait work in the past year, and I cannot imagine the stress level of being this photographer.
In an interview, Doug Mills, a Times photographer in the Washington bureau, reflects on a relentless four years.
I have had a pretty "low photography" few years with the closure of my last studio location, and then "Covid" lockdowns. While I was fortunate to have the day job to keep the bills paid, I was not in the mindset to "keep plugging away at photography". I no longer wished to buy gear, backgrounds or lighting. I no had the space to work on a variation of studio lighting/looks setup to test concepts, or bring aspiring actors and models to do portfolio work or "for art's sake".
I really wish I knew what would revive my photographic talents, to make me want to have that camera ready, to keep my love alive.
Has this happened to you? And where you successful with your revival?
Well my last post came at a time when I'd finally realized that my studio was failing financially. A year later I had closed my doors.
Here's a shot of the studio "grand opening a year later." I miss that space and the old charm. But I'm going to do artistic photography again I swear.
Having been a photographer hobbyist, freelancer, semi-professional and professional over the span of 40 years, I've come to confront a few realities. I began my business underfunded in terms of cash and productive time.
1. It is investment in marketing and sales that matter overwhelmingly in the business, and that must have a 3 year minimum to succeed; thus cash or credit reserve must be 3 years operating costs including outside sales and marketing. In the case of a small studio trying for the high end of the spectrum ($2000-$8000 sale) that means planning for a studio that costs $2500 per month to operate is $100k for 3 yrs, the staffing, sales/marketing, creatives, web marketing, PR, exhibition costs, etc. would be approximately $325k per year, so $975k for 3 years should have been my minimum investment.
2. While being completely solo has its advantages, solo whilst being full time employed elsewhere has huge disadvantages; you can't meet new prospects while you are presenting to a room full of IT people. Being engaged with a busy IT department doing big things keeps the living expenses paid at the expense of my most productive window of time on a daily basis (for me, 7-noon). Organizing and selling a portrait session after a 10 hour day of IT is tough. Really tough if you aren't a natural sales person. And then, there's the actual photography, the thing I love to do...also done after an often grueling day.
Despite the shortcomings of cash and time, I still took a stab at it again, and have lost it all.
What have I learned? People with money can make money, and the rest of us work for them. I just need one good lotto hit.