I could have started and ended this blog right there, but I think I'll expand a little bit to give you some context.
When I started down this road a few years ago, the plan wasn't that I would make a career out of it. I started doing photography for no other reason than I loved doing photography. So I put my phone into pro-mode and started snapping. Just like everyone else, I sucked pretty hard! It didn't matter though because I loved what I was doing. It didn't have to be good enough to share, good enough to print, or good enough to sell.
It wasn't about other people. It was about capturing moments in time, that were uniquely mine forever, even if they were a little blurry, out of focus, or badly lit, and eventually just though the act of doing what I loved, eventually they got less blurry, better focused, and well lit. I was slowly turning into a bona-fide time ... theif.
Before long I had a few people offering me actual m*&^$%*ing American currency to capture moments for them. I wasn't a photographer, I was a bartender/restaurant consultant that just happened to like taking pictures. I thought I wasn't good enough to take money from anyone (I was correct about this, don't charge anyone for a service that isn't worth paying for).
About a year later I DID start taking taking their money though, just here and there. Just to help pay for better equipment and better shooting opportunities, not to make any real profit. Certainly not to make a living out of. Eventually more and more work started coming in. Until after about two more years I had to look to the barrel of a question I never thought I would have to answer.
"At thirty five years old is it time to start a brand new career?"
I was consistently having to turn down jobs doing what I loved to do, for a lower paying job doing what I kinda liked. The place I was working at full time was turning into a corporate nightmare. I had been promoted to working longer weeks for a negligible difference in pay. I found myself looking at the clock waiting for the end of the day so I could do what I really wanted to do. That's when I made the choice to do something horrifying. I quit, I put in my two weeks, worked it honorably, and walked out the door. Panic tight in my chest, only a part time bar gig to fill in the gaps now. It's all on me, if I fail there's no big "they" to blame. Landlords tend not to take "exposure" that everyone wants to pay with for rent. But you will get "exposure" to the elements if you can't get it paid. (dad jokes are my other passion)
I couldn't have been happier. The fear is necessary. It tells you that you're making a change, that you're on your way out of your comfort zone.
And here's why, after ten years in the Army, time spent at a number of memorial services for personal friends. Many of whom were young men. I came to grow a respect for the fragility of life. Knowing how fragile life can be gives you a certain freedom. A clarity to the "uncomfortable truth".
None of us are here forever, do you want to spend that limited time working for a boss you hate? Behind a desk selling cells on a spreadsheet to another guy behind an identical desk? Or do you want to spend the time you're here doing what you love regardless of the kind of car it puts in your garage, the type of marble on your counter-tops, or the brand of shirt on your back.
I've been in the hospital rooms of a few that thought they were going to die, a couple were right. I can tell you not a single one of them said "Man i'm glad I took out a lease on that slightly bigger car" or "man I'm so stoked about that dope cubicle I spent a quarter of my life in" not even "Thank god I slept in so often, I'd hate to die sleepy" People talk about three things. Family, Friends, and what it is they have done with their lives that they loved doing.
Spend your time doing what you love, even if it's just a hobby, even if it STAYS just a hobby and you never make a cent doing it. No matter if you're 17, or if you're 70. It's never too late to value your time here. If you can make a living doing it... great! If you fall on your ass... great! You will always know that you tried, and that you did what you wanted to do. That's more important than any fucking counter-top I've ever seen.
while you're here feel free to look around, buy some one of a kind art, or commission some more. That rent ain't gonna pay itself, and I like having a room for the kids ;)
-Christopher J Krause