DMR and others;
Thanks for the kind comments. I did not make that post to gain kudos, but rather to point out that things are not all rosy behind the scenes no matter how nice things are here on-line. Nor are they all nice elsewhere.
It was also to point out that there are many routes to giving of one's life to photography. Stress is one of them.
Murray said it well above. The first photo that I posted here gave me great satisfaction, but it required a lot of hard work and concentration along with risk. The satisfaction was in seeing it published on the front page of several national newspapers, and the disappointment was in seeing the note "Official US Air Force Photo". So, one of my best shots was never listed under my name.
The saving grace was being given the negative as a gift by one of my commanding officers.
I feel that it's very few defining photographers who went "on the road"!
The only photographer I can think of (all though I'm sure there are more) is W. Eugene Smith. A lot of photographers gave their lives for photography for sure, but not by pumping themselves full of drugs, but simply because they were obsessed by the medium. You cannot be a great artist without being obsessed about the media you work in! Of course if you walk around thinking about photography all day long, it's going to have some personal consequenses. Again, I know of very few great artists, who also were noted for having a great personal life. As Faulkner once said, you gotta be ready to kill your own mother to get the book done. To some degree it's about choice. If you have the talent, are you willing to invest the time to explore it, let it unfold? It's a simple fact that what you do a lot you become good at, and if you do it even more you become better.
I also think it was Faulkner who once said when he was asked what makes a good writer: 99% talent 99% selfdisciplin and 99% hard work.
beyond debating whether dying for photography is worth it or not, i was interested in hearing stories from those who have made the material, emotional, and physiological sacrifices to "live photography" (so to speak -i'll probably get 2038420984 responses regarding this phrase) or making photography their sole life ambition -even just for a week, month or year. in other words, making photography their crack (but instead of hitting the pipe; hitting their shutter release) by discarding everything in their life for this addiction.
i didn't intend on this to be a debate on whether it is worth it or not as it is obvious 99% of the people will say they wouldn't die for photography. i'm looking for the 1% who would or at least have at some point in their life (even if it was for a short time) given themselves to photography to do as it will to their emotional, physical or financial state.
I think what you are asking for is not going to be put out there by the people that actually are living the way you describe. It is a conversation that is to be had among friends, the kind of friends that are supportive, not for the internet.
Originally Posted by patrickjames
Yup, they're out taking pictures, not faffing around on the internet.
What's my excuse? My wife's not well. It'll pass but we can't travel as much at the moment.
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If I think of a truly driven photographer, I do not think primarily of behavior such as that above but rather of someone like Annie Leibovitz, whose extreme single-mindedness has certainly paid dividends in career terms. There are indeed people who lock themselves away and practise various artistic disciplines in a highly obsessive way - these people are virtually certain to be completely indifferent to what anyone else thinks and, as someone else has already remarked, are unlikely to respond to a thread on APUG (or even look at APUG, or communicate with anyone). These people have a perfect right to do whatever they want - it is my personal belief, however, that extreme obsession does not lead to the highest possible artistic achievement, having a life is more important. but on the other hand in the field of hard news, for example, it takes vast dedication if not obsession to be a James Nachtwey.
Originally Posted by jordanstarr
Well, you know the Georges Brassens song? "Mourir pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente..."
He wrote about dying for ideas, which he was willing to do, but very slowly. That applies to art, too.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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In my case it was having a dream of paddling the coast of BC, and taking my 4x5 gear to photograph with. It may have stayed a dream but that and more was almost taken away when I was struck in the back by a log in a logging accident. Being strapped to a back board and flown off the mountain by helicopter introduced me to whole new worlds of pain, which I almost happily endured as being numb would have been far worse. It also introduced into my young mind the idea that everything can be taken away in a heartbeat, and made me cast my mind into the future where I didn't want to be an old man bitter of all he had planned, but had not done.
Originally Posted by jordanstarr
Luckily my wife signed on 100% to my dream, and we spent several years gathering paddling equipment and experience. In fact it was her, who after we both got laid off of our seasonal jobs suggested we leave on our trip in late October rather than in the spring, because what money we had was being wasted on things like rent and bills. Everything we had was put into storage, the last of our money was put towards film and food for the trip, and we pushed off the beach with a 25 knot freezing wind as well as family and friends at our backs.
Living a dream is a strange thing because it gains so much momentum that it creates a life of it's own, and literally drags you along in its wake. It's also easier before carreers, kids or mortgages. At least that's the way it was for us...I can't imagine how it would be for the Edward Weston's of this world where their dream carries them through their entire adult lives...
Last edited by MurrayMinchin; 06-18-2007 at 09:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Tidying up...
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
before i had the responsibilities of a family and i was on my own
Originally Posted by jordanstarr
i left a very good job for various reasons, and for a year with no income
lived as a "starving artist" in a industrial building with a few other folks.
i had a great time (until i totally ran out of money) "living on the edge" ...
and remnants of that can be seen in the photographs i make today ..
i used to shoot with reckless abandon and i still try to when i can ...
Last edited by jnanian; 06-18-2007 at 09:55 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I sort of value "activism" (which doesn't necessarily mean political) more than anything else to devote myself for the good cause, and I take my camera when I'm on the go. And in order to do that (and continue to do that), I can't secure myself too much with a steady job and/or a steady girl friend, etc.