“…when are you going full-time with photography?”
I have heard that question so many times over the last few years. Sometimes people assume I already am full-time and it makes for good conversation. No doubt the topic also comes up because I work full time and photography is a “side project” which takes up 40+ hours a week and keeps me up until 2-3am each night. That’s all changing…
I’m going full time as a photographer as of June 25th. One response I’ve heard a few times now is, “it’s about time.” This has been a significant and difficult journey over the past 3 years, and I’m choosing to see it as a beginning. Sure, it is the end of a 15 year employment relationship at a company I dearly love, which encompasses my entire adult life… but I leave with nothing but gratitude and loyalty.
Why now? Thanks to the amount of work I had, 2009 was the hardest year of my life. Here are a few reasons why:
- Some days I would see my little boy for 20-60 minutes total, or not at all. The time I saw my wife was distracted, to say the least. Editing on the couch and watching TV is not quality time.
- I lost approximately 1100 hours of sleep last year, going to bed at 2-4am and at work by 8am. Not healthy.
- I couldn’t offer either job 100% and that isn’t acceptable to me. It made my completion times for photo jobs and weddings longer than I would like to see. I had no time to expand or grow.
I’m no martyr… I know I’m not alone, I just wanted to explain myself.
It was time. I needed to wrestle over the decision for a few months, evaluating all the factors with friends who know me well, and photographer friends who know me and the industry. In fact, in a large way, I have Benj Haisch and Mike Smith to thank for helping me with this – not to mention Zack, Ken, and a host of friends who have great experience.
This is who I am… or, this is who I am supposed to be right now. I’ve heard it said that who we are is God’s gift to us, who we become is our gift to Him. I don’t know if any of that is true, but I like the sentiment of it, and I like the forward, aspirational feeling it gives me. I wanted to share a number of the images that made the last few years so meaningful to me. The first image is of the founder of the company I have been at for half my life, and he passed away this year. Spending a good deal of time with him over the years, I had the honor of being with him for many of his last days. After his passing, I spent countless hours pouring over pictures, details, and documents from his 80+ years on Earth. I was tasked with the mission of creating a slideshow/video that reflected who he was as a person. As I held his hand at his bedside that last week, I couldn’t help but think about the risks he took to start his own publishing house at the age of 50, leaving another prominent publishing house, started by his dear friend. Risk. Payoff. Legacy. I have Bob to thank for making this decision, as well.
It’s about time? Nah… it’s about timing.