would you give your life to photography?
it seems almost all great artists, revolutionaries, teachers, etc. all have one thing in common -that they give the vast vast majority of their life, thought and energy for their cause whether it is an imense lack of sleep, experimenting with drugs to alter perceptions of the mind, or put themselves in dangerous circumstances.
i'm wonder if there is anyone in this forum who have dedicated their life to photography in one of these ways (having a job as a photographer or building your own darkroom doesn't really count in this case, unless the following includes you -not wedding photographers or sports event photographers; that kind of stuff). i'm talking about the people who will stand toes-over-the-edge of a 36 story building without safety gear on a windy day for the shot aiming straight down, by sneaking into a building by jimmying the door to the roof -that type of stuff. it would include photographers who take benzedrine to stay up all night to develop photos (similar to kerouac's approach to prose/spontaneous beat writing) or cannot look at anything in the physical world without wondering how they can capture it on film.
if there are any of you out there and would care to share your story, i'd love to hear it. this isn't a contest to see how badass you are or anything like that -so exaggerations can be left at the door. i'm not trying to do this to compare my experiences or self to others. i'm just interested to see how many of you out there are willing to give your life to push film photography to a new level or die trying.
Last edited by jordanstarr; 06-16-2007 at 10:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.
it is also not to alienate or draw the spotlight on certain people who have consciously decided to dedicate their life or well-being to photography. i would just be interested to hear how far some people take photography and what a day-in-the-life of them would consist of -just out of pure interest.
I don't think "all great artists" did this, but you do have a point. I think just like in mountaineering it's all about "acceptable risk", and it's up to each person to decide where the lines get drawn and those lines also shift through time, as they have for me.
I used to disappear into the north coast mountains of BC for 3 or 4 days at a time by myself and not tell anyone where I was going or for how long. Then I met my wife and that all changed.
A couple years go by, then my wife and I took off one early October day to paddled the length of BC's coast for 6 months (before GPS and sattelite phones) and soon fell into a rythym of life where doing it was totally normal. It didn't seem dangerous at all, as long as we didn't impose our desire to continue traveling over what Nature was offering.
Now we have a 5 year old daughter, and there's no way we would attempt such a trip in the winter with one so young.
Balance is what it's all about now. My dad, being a product of his time and the culture of the workforce of his day, spent months away from home at a time as a chemical engineer as he went around the world doing research. Today, his eyes well up with tears knowing all those important developmental steps along the path of life he missed with his kids. We all know he was just doing what he had to do to not let us endure the childhood he had during the Depression. He made those choices to further his career, provide us with a good life, and it now pains him.
However, I choose to be there for all my daughter's steps even though it may hinder any grand photography career or chance of fame and glory that I may have thought possible in my youth, and even though it means I make $5.00 less an hour than the starting wage at the local smelter, I'm a happy man
Balance is the key...or somebody or something suffers in the end.
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
Well, I'm not sure how far I'd go... I have snuck around on some roofs at nighttimes and done stupid stuff. Then again, as a teenager, that's in my blood!
Who needs benzedrine (pauses to worship Kerouac and Ginsberg at my shrine) when you've got coffeehouses that are open late at night!
I do admire those that go all-out for a shot, it's an inside joke within my group of friends at school (one of whom is a d****** photographer) that I'll either die on our trip out west by falling into a canyon, or early by cancer.
sorry...i didn't mean "all", but almost all of them anyway.
the factor of a kid or a loved one would certainly bring the level of "acceptable risk" under question. it is a very good point. i enjoyed your story very much by the way murray -very inspirational and zen-ish. i would be interested to see the photos you got while in seclusion.
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I wrote my response to your post because I see people of phenominal wealth held in the highest regard...despite how their kids may have grown up not knowing their parents but knowing their nannies better. Kids left on the sidelines while mommy or daddy disregard them to further their artistic career would be no better off. We were lucky in that my Mom was always there for us...you touched a nerve I guess
Here's some scans from back in the mists of time when our scanner was working;
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
"Giving your life to photography" is not the same thing as "risking your life" for photography.
Being willing to risk death just is not the same thing as being willing to die.
I mean we all consciously risk death every time we go hiking, and we accept that risk as part of the experience. But that doesn't mean we're willing to die for that experience.
Having kids just means that you're more conscious of the risk, and more cognizant of the implications of your death. But that doesn't mean you were willing to die before. It just meant you were willing to incur risk.
I'll take much bigger risks with a camera in my hands (or on a tripod) than I will without one. Well, not so much 'risks', but I'll still go much closer to a cliff edge with one than without.
The other thing about people who take their photography seriously is that they waste a lot less time and money on things that others think important, such as clothes, cars, etc. Their priorities are different. 'Take what you want, and pay for it, saieth the Lord'.
Last edited by Roger Hicks; 06-17-2007 at 07:29 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Well said Roger and I agree
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
In college, my school's outing club's (unofficial) motto was in fact "bring 'em back alive." But that didn't stop us from going out on trips--we took risks, but we tried not to take stupid risks.
Originally Posted by DrPablo
Risk can come in a lot of different forms--financial, social, political, mental, physical. Being willing to take a risk or make a sacrifice doesn't necessarily guarantee that you'll end up with anything interesting in your art (or your life), but playing it safe all the time pretty much guarantees that you won't.