Anniversary

This year marks 25 years that I have been passionately practicing photography. 25 years! Right now you’re probably thinking, “Really, and he’s not any better than this?!” On the wall in my home office is the first photo I made that was worthy of framing, a sunset over Lake Murray (no relation) in South Carolina. It’s actually not a bad photo. Good job, Mr. Murray. But, I digress. The first twelve years of picture making for me was a very on/of venture. Due to the limited vacation that comes with entering the corporate world and living in a place that was less than inspiring (save for two months of the year) weeks and often months would pass without the click of the shutter. My camera was very lonely then. Still, I thought about photography often. I subscribed to the major outdoor photography magazines of the day, gazed longingly at the beautiful photos wishing they were mine, and practiced when time allowed. Each spring as the wildflowers were blooming in the rolling ranch lands an hour outside of Houston I would mysteriously become ill with “bluebonnet fever”. After calling in sick to work (cough, cough) I would head out the door with camera in hand to spend the day in photographic bliss. I cut my teeth photographing the wildflowers those few years. I was not, however, a model corporate employee.

It wasn’t until my wife and I moved back to our home state of New York in 2007 that I began to make images in earnest. Two years prior I had quit my corporate job (I could maintain the charade for only so long) and began to work part-time as a consultant, an important step on my path to eventually becoming a full-time artist. It was also when I switched from film to digital (I was a late bloomer). My photos began to look better, a consequence of practice and digital technology. Still, after a few years I felt I was stagnating. Four years ago Guy Tal swept me off my feet and my photography changed forever. I haven’t looked back. 

I have now been a full-time photographer for almost three years, a culmination of a dream that began 25 years ago. And to think, it only took me 22 years! (Let that be a lesson for all you kids out there!). The past three years have seen many challenges, some expected, others not. Fortunately, I can say with all honesty that those challenges have been surpassed by the rewards. I am interested in seeing what the months and years ahead will bring. Will my photography continue to evolve as it has these last few years? Will the Dolphins ever win another Super Bowl? Will my cats grow up to become upstanding members of society? Time will tell.

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2 thoughts on “Anniversary”

  1. Happy artist anniversary! I am over here from Instagram (bonnie.martin.photos). I admire your courage to find your way home (both literally and figuratively).

    I, on the other hand, have remained in the corporate world and in a place that I sometimes don’t want to be (Indiana). My need for comfort and practicality (which is intense for me, I have come to realize) has always won out over risk, so here I am with a good job, by ALL objective measures, that I don’t like a lot, but it’s good most of the time; and here I am living in a place that, by most objective measures (maybe all?), is nice and easy and full of the things that people want in a place, but where I don’t feel completely at home even though I have lived in Indiana longer than I haven’t. But nowadays, I have become resigned to be happy with where I am.

    Perhaps that sounds depressing; like a wasted life, and there have been, honestly, many times when I have thought that, but I am almost 50 now, and I have so much to be grateful for and, I guess, maybe, the wisdom to know that I don’t have thick enough skin or the skills (or even the desire) it would have taken to have my own business as a photographer or artist, and, also, I know that, no job, no matter what, is without its politics and BS, so, yeah, I took the easy path, I guess, but the easy path truly works best for me; it’s a good fit for my temperament and personality.

    Now I have all the things that I can only describe as enough (truly): about 7 years ago, my husband and I purchased a house in Raquette Lake, NY (it’s not on the lake, but it’s a nice little ‘camp’) which gave me the connection I needed to a place that I love. (For now, we rent it out as a vacation rental, but we get there a couple times a year and plan to retire there; we are planning on an early retirement!). I have managed to sell some prints and products here and there on the internet, which gives me great satisfaction that someone, somewhere, liked a work I did enough to part with money for it. I have the means and foundation to be able to purchase new equipment or fix old equipment and learn/try new things (lately, I am dabbling in painting, but it’s fits and starts and I always come back to photography because it’s where I can be comfortable–as you likely can tell by my work on Instagram, I don’t step out of my comfort zone much ever. And I like it that way).

    I guess I say all that as a way to say with sincerity how much I love your work and admire the path you pursued. There may have been a time in my past when my admiration would have been tinged with envy. That is not true now.

    On Instagram, I immediately know an artwork is yours before seeing the profile name because you have developed something unique and special. Not only that, but your pursuit of meaning and understanding and connection is evident in your work alone (the words that often accompany your works help but aren’t needed to evoke what you are going for). So cheers, congratulations and best wishes for all that is to come.

    Sincerely,
    Bonnie

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    1. Bonnie, thank you so much for your thoughtful note, it may be the kindest I have ever received. I completely understand where you’re coming from, and I’m happy to hear that you’re at peace with your decisions and that you don’t regard your life as a “waste”. Kudos to you for knowing yourself well enough. The life of a full-time artist is indeed very challenging on many fronts and it does require a certain temperament. I often find myself somewhat wistful for the days of the steady paycheck. Freedom is wonderful, but it comes at great cost. I am not that far into this new life yet, and I am hopeful that it becomes easier with time. For now, however, it remains rather stressful.

      That’s so wonderful you have a camp in Raquette Lake, now I’m envious. 🙂 I love the central Adirondacks. I hope you’re able to move there as soon as is possible. Thank you again for the kind words, they mean a lot to me, and best wishes to you on your continuing artistic journey.

      Kindly,
      Chris

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