Look what happens.
When I photograph kids the pictures reflect several things. First, the time I have. There is no substitute for time and access. The more time, typically, the better the images. Second, the images will reflect who the images were made for. Stock? The wall? The parents? The grandparents? Me? All will produce different images.
So, most of the time, I shoot images for others, and then images for me. The images for me might not ever see the light of day, but for me, they are the most important.
These images satisfy an inner need to explore and continue to try to push around the mud in my brain. The mud, from time to get, begins to dry out, sometimes due to doing too much “commercial” work, or work that perhaps might not satisfy the drive to explore. The mud begins to dry out, to get stiff, and if you are not careful, completely dries out and you are left with only memories of your “true” path.
When I worked in Los Angeles, years ago, for a major photography company, I can’t tell you how many successful, miserable photographers I met. I would enter the studio, see big shoots in production, get to know the photographers, then make repeat visits when I had something that might help them in their pursuit. A LOT of photographers were shooting all the time, but no longer enjoyed the process, and had lost track of their original vision. After getting to know them, they would sneak over to a side drawer, take a look around, then pull out a small portfolio of “personal” work.
“This is what I REALLY want to do,” they would say, then reveal, typically, a fantastic body of work.
This is what I’m yapping about. I always found this sad, but it doesn’t have to be. I think all that is needed is just a taste of the old way, the original vision and they could be right back on track. Some of them did, and are today working almost entirely in their new/original vision.
I think if you let this die, this desire, your career will begin to decline. You might work but the real goal will slip away.
There is something odd about us photogs. This inner desire is strong and you have to continue to feed it, regardless of what the industry, the magazines, or ever-popular seminars tell you.
You have to do what you need to do. Find the balance. It is, for me, a constant struggle, and one that will challenge everything you have been taught.
So, I thought I would include a few “me” pictures from a recent shoot.