It’s been several years since I was tossed out the door, just like a stack of week-old newspapers, by the ones who ran the world of print journalism. I felt the kick in the shins financially when the presses ceased to run and freelance budgets were cut in half, but I also recognized opportunity. All I had to do was be willing to shift my perspective in order to match the New Way of Doing Things rather than force the old ways onto a business model that wasn’t even a toddler. What’s the expression these days – Adapt or Die?
Ok, maybe it’s not that harsh, but before the armadas of newspapers sunk into the depths of economic oblivion, I was unwittingly preparing myself for the future by learning the thinking & design behind the web and also how to edit video. This was during the years of hand coding HTML and importing video clips from tape via capture card. At the time, I thought it was fun. I was also developing my vision as a still photographer hoping to reach a point of visual maturity (or something like that). Plus, there was the responsibility to my business, my profession and myself to at least keep even with the bar and to rise above it when possible.
I have heard many times, from many photographers, that we are all Storytellers. I agree and I surely consider myself one. But I actually hate labels. Really, I do. I believe they are one of the greatest threats to creativity which is the sole driver of our profession.
It’s been about 5 years since The Upheaval and I still ask myself What Am I? But I don’t expect an answer. Sometimes I may be producing, other times, directing. I can be found consulting and even teaching. Of course I am still shooting as much as I can and immersing myself in a cinema-type of mindset. When I finish my stories, I guess I’m an editor too, though I’ll stop right there, remember, I hate labels.
I have been transformed from a freelance/news photographer (and in hindsight one with a very limited future) into someone now partnered with a director and running a growing production company shooting documentary work, both still and video, for corporations and non-profits. My solo photography business is recovering too, but I know that’s not enough. I’ll continue to learn and keep myself relevant as the curve that’s driving our profession seems to have no end.
So, where are you gonna go?