(Professional) photographers are like hookers: at first we started doing it because we liked it and it felt good, then we kept doing it but only for our friends, and NOW we're still doing it but are charging money for doing it! -Dean Collins
Does any of that sound familiar? It does to me. Except I think Sir Collins left-out the part where we did it/do it only for ourselves and with ourselves.
Hmm... Maybe I shouldn't go there. I might have to rename this post, "Photobaters."
But as a PhotoHooker (and, it seems to me, I'm becoming more and more of one) one of the things I miss is that I seem to shoot less and less for myself and only for myself-- For that 125th of a second of self-induced gratification that feels good only to me. (And doesn't have to feel good to anyone else.)
Yeah. I miss being a Photobater.
I don't know why I shoot less and less for myself. It's not that I have an arrogant attitude about it: You know, where I'm full enough of myself to say, "I get paid to do this. I don't do this for free. Not even for me." Heck. I've shot plenty for free. And, if truth be known, I still do. Yep, I'm still willing to shoot for free. But free isn't really for free. Mostly, it has strings. Personal and private strings. There usually has to be something in it for me. Something other than personal gratification. It might be as simple as being willing to shoot some stuff I haven't shot before only if I can see that, by doing so, I might open up new avenues that will, eventually, bring about new, income-producing opportunities. Of course, that's not really doing it for free. That's shooting seemingly for free but with an agenda. Shooting for free--totally for free--is doing it for the sake of doing it and nothing more.
Somehow, all that doesn't sound very artist-like... or, at least, very photographer-like in the truest sense of being a photographer.
Do hookers enjoy sex less because they're only having sex for the sake of being paid to do it? Do paid photographers enjoy photography less because they're only photographing stuff for the sake of being paid? I don't know. I feel that way sometimes.
But then, why do I spend so much time thinking and talking and reading and learning about photography? Why is it such a big part of my life? Not merely from an occupational perspective, but from an everything perspective. Why does so much of my personal life seem to hinge on things related to photography? Why are so many of my relationships photography-related? At least, in some way.
Photography consumes so much of my life and so much of my time that one would think I'd be even more motivated to go out there and shoot pictures for no other reason than that picture is there and it needs to be captured!
Someone, someone who is close to me, is that way: I don't believe she loves photography more than I do. But she seems more "genuine" and "unconditional" in her love of photography than I am. It is a quality, amongst others, that I admire and love and, I'll admit, I envy about her. She will point a camera and shoot with the least provocation or motivation. She also shoots for pay--yeah, she's a photohooker too--but shooting for pay (or for future pay or career advancement) certainly isn't a requirement when it comes to photo-capturing the world around her.
It is so obvious, to me at least, that there doesn't need to be anything special in it for her other than the joy of pressing a camera to her eye and clicking away. It seems this incredible photographer needs no more reason to shoot beyond her intense love of the craft, as well as the personal and creative satisfaction she experiences while while capturing all that attracts her eye and creatively stirs her curiosity.
There was a time in my life when I was that way. When I was like her when it came to shooting pictures. It's hard to remember now. Fortunately, for me, we're with each other a lot. I'm hoping some of her pure and simple love for photography will rub off on me, re-igniting what I once felt: The burning desire, at least occasionally, to shoot for no other reason than there's a camera in my hands and something in front of me that screams to be photographed.
Today's gratuitous eye-candy is Devin. I shot that image of Devin last year. I'm scheduled to be in Sin City for a few days this week to shoot more of Devin. Hmmm... Vegas in August: Should be about a hundred-and-twenty degrees in the shade while I'm there. Can't wait.