How do you keep up with it?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by 36cm2, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    I'm inundated. Between work, family and ever-increasing admininistrative BS, how do you cope, find the time, find the mind, and realize your goals in film photography. Just keeping up with the digipoop doculife photo cycle is so hard (and mind you i think it's important as a new parent). So how do i fill my walls with my soul without losing my mind? Someone here has certainly done this before. Please help.

    Leo
     
  2. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I think this is generally on the rise for *everyone*. The higher ups are cranking the screws down on the working-class... work, work, work!

    Best bet: chuck your television.

    Go out on the weekends, turn off the phone, and shoot. Find a shooting partner. Force the time where you can.
     
  3. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    "An artist gets to work when the pain of not working gets too great."

    My three boys turn 15 at the end of the month, it has been a heck of a ride so far! I was a stay-at-home-dad and used up a bit of SX-70 until the little buggers learned to crawl and I could no longer pose them...it became like sweeping ants...you can get them in a pile, but they don't stay that way for long! I started to take them out into the redwoods with me as soon as they could walk (actually even before that in a triplet stroller.) I would take the 8x10 and some lunch for us and we'd hike until I saw something to photograph. I'd get out the lunch and take a photo before they finished eating. Otherwise they'd wander off, fall in the creek or something while I had my head under the darkcloth.

    As they got older, I could make more images as they explored around the redwoods -- and I started to put them into my images (they had to hold still for 30 seconds to a couple minutes!)

    I work halftime, but my job is taking care of the darkroom at a university and checking out equipment to the students. So even if I am not making photos, work is rewarding photographically.

    You just have to do what you gotta do. Which might be one of the reasons my wife divorced me...

    Vaughn
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I try to ignore the administrative stuff and only work the hours I was hired to work.

    Does that include 'testing' it?


    Steve.
     
  5. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Set aside time. Even if you got the most crushing schedule, you can put aside 15 minutes for yourself for making photographs every day, do developing of some film in an hour when wife and kid(s) are doing something else. Printing you have to prepare in beforehand as much as possible, with only a few negatives, one sort of paper and wellknown chemicals. Limit the variables, start off - one half-assed print on the wall is better than nothing - go from there. Or consider alt process, do more things in daylight.
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I'm not suggesting anyone here is guilty of this, but generally, I get annoyed by the people who tell me they don't have time to do something when I know that they spend their evenings sitting in front of their televisions.


    Steve.
     
  7. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I agree with you, Steve. You have to actively choose what to do with your life.
     
  8. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    I take a camera everywhere I can - and often don't use it, but I always have one where I might like to make a picture... Also, I try to take my annual leave in interesting places I'd like to photograph, and jump on any print exchange I can to self motivate. Every year I do a hand-printed calendar as my christmas present - and that alone keeps me in the darkroom for a fortnight of evenings - and the finished project forms a nice sort of annual self-review. Oh, and a blog is a great self motivator - it demands content...

    Marc!
     
  9. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Family and work do take quiet a bit of time.

    I'm mostly weaned from the TV. Not much good to watch has helped that, as did being without satellite/cable for a couple years in times past. I don't go out and party or get drunk.

    I also keep a camera in my car and sometimes it's worth five minutes during/before/after work to use it. Keep a camera at home ready too. It's part of being prepared.

    I have a dedicated darkroom and can keep things ready to go (almost) in there. I process film one night, chop and scan some negatives another night, make wet prints another night or rainy weekend day.

    I've got plenty of nice prints, but don't fill the walls with prints. I put a few family or local scenes up on the walls. Lots of stuff I shoot doesn't have a good reason to go on the wall; it's a home not an art gallery.
     
  10. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Are you the only photog in the family? My wife loves to shoot so I bought her an outstanding digi and prime and that leaves time for me to only be analog. Any chance of buying her her own camera, so you can fill in with analog B roll and drift into your own artistic pursuits without worrying if you get the shot of "Billy's" first steps?

    Work life balance is hard, do your best, be present, and get rid o that TV
     
  11. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Nice to know it doesn't get any easier! I've not been working since finishing university in August and spent much of the last 6 months studying photography. I know that once I do find work, that this, more than making photographs will be the most difficult thing to find time for. Studying and thinking photography, I find, uses up much more of my mental resources (and time) than simply going out making images or printing, even with real artistic intent - which for me, is the realisation of all that thinking and studying. If simply taking photographs and printing is your main concern, rather than any artistic goals that require really 'thinking photography' (both pre and post-shoot), then finding a few hours to... relieve yourself, as it were, I find is never the problem. The dilemma occurs when attempting to fulfil goals within your hobby, rather than simply enjoying the process. I think my goals just happen to be massively aspirational, because of my age and my dedication to this as a potential life - which may or may not come to fruition. I think artistic goals are determined and restricted by your lifestyle, whatever it might be. My problem is focus, which is a result of how much free time I have to procrastinate. If my life was clear cut and organised around work and a family, perhaps I'd be more focused with an allocated spot for photography - my time to shine. All I can really say is, with all the free time in the world, it's still a headache.
     
  12. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Dearest 36cm2: you see, when you hold a BS in Accounting and have passed the formidable CPA Exam, the world comes beckoning at your doorstep, offering its fulsome largess in the form of the "free time" to do what you wish to do. You see, I am very important and am entitled to rise above the mere hoi polloi. You see, dearest 36cm2, when you have achieved what I have achieved, you rate, and create, and suffer no ill fate. It is not a mere matter of having the time, but, instead, having the world provide you with its offerings, so impressed are they.

    And dearest 36cm2, perhaps you ought to thank your lucky stars that the business world has not shunned you. Your 'taxed toleration' for the "administrative trivia" that you must suffer causes this queer to think that perhaps you are not seeing (or seeking) life as you should. Perhaps more creativity, with the time you have, would dissuade you from focusing upon your dire 'loss'. Remember, you actually get a paycheck at the end of the week and get to buy that extra roll of film. At the end of your hectic day find 20 minutes to photograph something that will provide you with potential for future creativity. Yes, 36cm2, armed with extension tubes, even your exploration of a mere speck of dust can provide an interesting dimension, apart from the more mundane. Oftentimes, we fail to see what is already there.

    Try being persistently unemployed in order to discover just what rancor frustration is capable of fomenting. No unemployment, no welfare, no freebies, no 'entitlements due to my sorry lot in life, just hearing the anger of the 'culturally deprived' who dislike their so-called dire situation (who happen to receive a handsome paycheck at the end of the work week).

    NOTA BENE 36cm2: I hate you not, but I wanted to apprise you of your need to correct your skewed perception. Besides, oftentimes, creativity comes directly from frustration. - David Lyga.
     
  13. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    +1. Well said David.
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi leo

    its a juggle ...
    just enjoy things as they come your way ..
    you will find things to photograph that you might not have realized were there all along ..
    most of my photographs taken from the car window started as i rode shotgun to pickup/drop off
    our kids at pre school. after 6 or 7 years and a thousand + exposures,
    i got good enuf / kept at it that the images became a body of work i have been thinking of publishing ( ...one of these days ... )
    and it all started while i was staring out the window wishing i had time to make some photographs in the midst of the tedium of life with small kids ...

    be present, be observant, and enjoy the little things cause they are what life's actually about ...

    good luck !
    john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2012
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    +1,000
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    That's my response too.

    A great question that I use when asked to do extra work is "ok, so what do you want me not to do so this new task can get done?"
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    If I'm asked to stay on late, I usually ask "what's in it for me?". I don't see why the company's shareholders should benefit from my free time.


    Steve.
     
  19. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Well, the very first thing I'd say is don't ever think of family as an intrusion in your time. If you haven't done so lately, fall down on your knees and give thanks that you have them!

    Business, now that's another thing :whistling: Since taking on a managerial role, I've had all manner of bizarre things to deal with. Yesterday I lost an employee to lung cancer and a student had an emergency appendectomy, and that capped off a week in which I had to deal with some $1M+ financial and personnel issues of the usual make-or-break variety. That's a bit atypical but... yeah, the day job(s) can be a lot to handle. All of my predecessors had major health issues after a year or so. For whatever reason I am doing fine, probably because I proceed with the faith that I was chosen to manage this stuff because I am the sort of person who can do it without wigging out. Which means that it's just a matter of calling timeout and finding my strategy... and putting one foot in front of the other.

    So for me, photography is a form of mental oasis- a place to go when I want to set things aside and clear my head... while kind of chipping away at those other things subliminally, in the background. And I suspect that the reason why I can deal with the above-mentioned issues is that I have that place to go and collect my thoughts. For me, it is very beneficial just to dip into APUG a few times a day during a break, engage in some banter, think about something other than whatever stress just arrived in my inbox... and just let the earth rotate without me for a few minutes. And when I have time, the most relaxing thing I can imagine is to set up a still life or whatever, or just jump in the car and chase some warm light through the hills, with a bunch of loaded cameras in the back seat. Quite therapeutic.

    I suppose that what all successful multi-taskers have in common is their own mental oasis, whether in the form of photography, writing, music, sport etc. I've known quite a few people who did lose sanity over relatively minor things, and all I can say is when the stakes are really high, you need a very clear head. You cannot get bogged down in the situation. What's so great about photography is that it's all about finding the right perspective. Photography really trains you to keep "the big picture" in mind.
     
  20. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    +1,. Like any good North American, I compartmentalize my life: from Monday to Friday, I work (generally 12 hour days), hit the gym for an hour, and sleep, with little time for anything beyond reading my newspapers. I could complain about the long hours but I am still climbing the ladder. The weekends, however, are mine, and mine alone. The cell is put on mute and the volume on the land-line is turned off; I only check each periodically in case of emergency/expected calls from family or friends (work be damned!) I allocate one day for errands/household chores/pleasure reading/messing about (usually Saturday) and the second for photography-related activities (weather will sometimes change the order of things). What I do not waste time doing is parking my a** in front of a television set...EVER! Life is too short - and there are way too many more interesting things to see, do and shoot - to sit around being passively entertained into a stupor.
     
  21. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Whether the goals are photography, or anything else... I'm spending quite a bit of time lately trying to pare the goals down to soemthing closer to reasonable. That is becoming the only way to stay sane. At work they once said we have to "do more with less". That time is long gone. We did that, then had to "do the same with less". Nobody wants to admit that even THAT time has passed and the only sensible thing is to admit that we might have to "do less with less". There is only so much time and energy that we have.

    So getting more direct... my focus has been on my family, followed by keeping my job and doing the best I can at it. Photography only happens when there is free time from both of those, which is infrequent.
     
  22. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    If it's important to you, you'll find the time. It may help if you break down your photo endeavors into blocks of time. While I stay out of the darkroom unless I have a 3-4 hour window, I've found many things I can accomplish with smaller blocks of time:
    If I have 10 minutes, I'll do some print spotting.
    If I have 20 minutes, I can shoot some still life stuff. (when time is rare, I leave the camera setup, and ready to go, in a corner.)
    If I have 30 minutes, I'll do some hand-coloring, or matting/mounting.
    If I have an hour, I can shoot a roll at a favorite spot of mine, which is a 5 minute drive from my house.

    It's all about balance, and utilizing the limited time you have. Sometimes I have less than 10 minutes, and I'll find myself looking into APUG's Gallery, finding inspiration and motivation.
     
  23. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    I realized my previous post may have been hasty. I have been in your shoes with the job eating ever more chunks of my time. I was on the systems side of things then and have since reverted back to the applications side of IT (it took a change of employers to make this happen). I find I'm much happier doing applications type stuff than systems type stuff. There's a little bit of system administration in my current job but it is minimal as the system generally runs itself day-to-day, which frees us IT types up to do the constant system enhancements that need done.

    I also try to only work the hours I was hired to work. When something extra comes up, I ask "What would you like pushed down on the priority list so I can get this done?" When they say they want it all, then I decide for them which items get pushed down on the list. Occasionally working a big chunk of overtime is one thing, but it is not okay in my book to constantly ask your employees to work overtime without compensating them for it in some fashion. (I don't get paid for overtime, can you tell?)

    This is a big help. Although occasionally I get a really great idea for how to solve something at work during my free time, and then I'm scurrying around to get it recorded in some fashion to try the next day at work. As for the family time, well, my philosophy is be glad you have them, and spend time with them while they're here. You're gonna miss them when they're no longer here (and I don't mean dead necessarily, family does sometimes move away). Think of the memories you can record on film and work that sort of thing into your photography. I shot a whole roll of slide film on nothing but my son's birthday party.

    My problem right now is that everything is gray and brown outside. The most colorful thing out there right now is the blue tarp that we set the swimming pool up on in the summer for the kids. Not a lot of color, so I'm thinking my next roll of film will be the B&W I have sitting in the fridge.

    ME Super, aka The Slide Curmudgeon
     
  24. clayne

    clayne Member

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    The worst part of all this is how the people who are working non-compartmentalized jobs are almost locked up into it. It's a two way street and on one hand you benefit by higher pay, but on the other you get screwed by time and commitments.

    To truly be free of this time crunch you've either got to be rich or somehow find the perfect job that allows you to combine both without risk of the job killing what you originally enjoyed.

    By far, eliminate all sources of passive entertainment like television, etc. I do still listen to certain shows on the radio because I actually learn something from them. TV, no.

    And that's how the screws are tightened...

    It's funny, you don't generally see middle/upper management working during this time either..
     
  25. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Set priorities. Must do, like to do, do if have the time, optional, etc.
     
  26. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    I do something called Analog Sundays. No cell phone, no screens. The only time I do any digital is if I'm being paid. I might post here once in a while but otherwise, no digital.