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A life without photography

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by , 11-10-2008 at 12:58 PM (4788 Views)
Every so often, I go through a phase of wondering what my life would be like without photography. Without the giant sucking sound coming from my wallet that represents the hobby, what would I do with the money and the time freed up? I could take more vacations, go to more interesting places I haven't been to yet, I could get more work done around the house, heck, I could probably afford a bigger house!

I get this feeling periodically when I get frustrated with my progress or lack thereof in advancing my photographic career, and the lack of recognition I percieve. I wonder why am I wasting all this time and money on trying to do something which, rightly or wrongly, is un- or under-appreciated by anyone else but me.

Then I think about all those things I'd do without photography, and I realize that I can't imagine doing them without photography. I couldn't take a vacation without taking photos. I've gone too far down the rabbit-hole of large format to ever really be happy with pictures featuring sharply converging verticals or other perspective distortions. I've gone too far down the rabbit-hole of photography in general to ever be happy NOT documenting what I see when I travel, or even when I wander around the town I live in.

I also realize that a significant portion of my failure to accomplish something with my photography is my own fault- I need to get the discipline to get out there and promote myself and my work. So now I just need to take more photos and get them out in front of the public.


  1. jeroldharter's Avatar
    Ditto. Well said.
  2. colrehogan's Avatar
    I agree with your comments. Especially those regarding the need to promote myself. By the time I finished high school, I was so sick of selling things that I just can't seem to get the marketing of my work going.
  3. optique's Avatar
    I agree about going on vacation without a camera (of any kind). How pointless, and how boring to go somewhere that is not photogenic.
  4. jmal's Avatar
    Agreed that vacations without photography would be lacking. However, I think the rabbit hole of perfect, non-converging lines is more of a trap than a rabbit hole. Most of my favorite photos are those in which the photographer uses convergence to accentuate the subject matter of the photo. Perhaps that is something to explore in order to progress beyond the present plateau? I may be misconstruing your entire thrust, but it might help to just go out for a walk without the camera and/or thoughts of photography. Set it aside for a short bit and let your head breathe. I have a feeling that despite of your best efforts photography will creep into your thoughts and present you with new ideas to explore. I wish that I still lived in the DC area because the sheer amount and variety of things to photograph is amazing. I only realized this once I moved away. It is much more difficult to make an interesting photo in Kansas, excluding studio/interior shots. Just some thoughts...
    Updated 11-12-2008 at 10:56 AM by jmal
  5. TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
    What I mean by the rabbit hole effect of non-converging verticals is just that I can't imagine shooting with a camera that never lets me correct the verticals. I have shot a number of very interesting (to me) photos with converging verticals when I specifically wanted that look.

    What I was aiming for with this was just to express that feeling of frustration that I get periodically. When I make images, I'm generally happy with them myself; I just wonder sometimes why I'm doing it.
  6. Curt's Avatar
    Some people have social clubs, some have religion, some go bowling, I go photographing. When younger I'd go Scuba diving or flying but photography is less of a sucking sound than those. I limit it though hoping to have the money to travel but the garage door spring broke, the sewer got struck by tree roots and my truck has a differential problem, howling, and my Jeep just got a $840.00 clutch. So in order to travel I'll have to save all over, my money went for house repairs and auto failures. At least I kinda have my health.
  7. gerryyaum's Avatar
    Keep a stiff upper lip, do not let lack of success(or preceived lack of success) by others get you down. Keep on doing photography and working hard at it, that is it's own reward afterall!! You do photography for yourself first and for everyone/everthing else second!!

    I recently after 30 years making photos sold work to some collectors and got a meaningfull money paying gig(a first for me!!) so hard work does pay off. The thing thou is if you make photographs that make you happy that is all that REALLY matters.

    I look at it this way all the good things I am and have become is a direct result of my photography and without my photography I would be a totally different person.

    Just keep up the hard work and enjoying your photography and let the other stuff fall where it may!
  8. benjiboy's Avatar
    I cant and don't want to envisage a life without photography, it has been my passion since my dad gave me a Contax 11 in 1954 when I was thirteen, I am now almost seventy and it over the years both driven me mad and kept me sane, but without it it would only be existing not living.
    I have sold my work in the past, and done freelance work, but only out of financial necessity at the time, I tend to measure my success by how satisfied I feel with the the results , and how close they come to my original concept.
  9. boyooso's Avatar
    It is a LOVE / HATE sort of thing. keep the love, or try to.

  10. Andrew Moxom's Avatar
    I have always enjoyed photography, and it has been the hobby that has always been there for me even if I 'got into' other stuff... I always come back to it. For me, I was on a road to digital about 2 years ago. I had a Mamiya 6 and Canham LF set up gathering dust and had not been used for around 6 years in earnest anyway! So I thought, hmm.. flog it and get into digital. The reason I stopped using my gear was that I gotten into bow hunting, and rifle hunting of big game... Well, I found APUG and things really turned around... I shoot more picture now than anything else. My camera are used and even added to now with other systems... I actually shoot more film now, than I ever did! I never made it big in photography either. When I lived in the UK, I sold a few prints to friends and made gifts to family etc, but could never get a break. When I moved over here to the US, I took lots of photos, but again, no breaks.... So I took a hiatus as I acquainted myself with other endeavors and became Americanized in my outlook (and that was a good thing for me) Now with that behind me, I tried ot take my photography further. I got my own show.... Okay at a coffee shop.... and did not get one sale! Then this year I entered a shot for the MN state fair and get accepted... I am pleased as punch. That said, I still have an ever increasing number of prints that I have to find something to do with... So it's a case of keep on keeping on trying to make it happen. Stay hard working, and keep a balance of family, and work first, and then photography so that it remains enjoyable and not a chore, which it had become for me. I looked at the same reasons you did Flying Camera, trying to justify and make sense of it all. I am comfortable with what I am doing photgraphically now even if I do get into a rut with it now and again. It's what makes you evolve I find. Take the successes when they happen, and don't be too hard on yourself if they don't.



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