My Bourbon County, Kentucky mom would say I’m “rattlebrained.”
One foot in up to my knees in a “day job,” and the other ankle-deep in shooting. And all of this in the prime of midlife. Whatever the hell that is.
“Shooting what, exactly?” It’s a question that makes me go silent, pretty fast. Two weekends ago, while building my book with lovely horse shots, another photographer at the event asked me, “You’ve been here pretty much all day, haven’t you? What are you going to do with all those shots?”
After quickly responding, “The best one or two will go on my portfolio site,” I was greeted with the hard question:
“What else do you shoot?”
Take for example, my current photography “to-do list:”
- Sort, categorize, and update metadata for all narrative shots
- Retouch the latest equestrian hunter / jumper show photos
- Create an “equestrian portfolio” and promo plan for equestrian portraits
- Sort the nearly 500 video clips I’ve shot for the “Quickball” video into scene buckets
- Develop an “iphonevacay” portfolio project for my Behance Network profile
- Narrow the list of Oregon companies to target for my pacific northwest promotion
Unlike the exclusively equine shooter who inquired of me outside the show ring, I have so many interests; so many tempting things to allow my lens to wander into, and I’m loathe to steer or guide it too firmly at this point. Photography is tantamount to freedom, itself for me. I do it in the hopes of leaping out of the world of office politics, and other forms of forced structure.
And that list’s just the current stuff. Notice how there isn’t anything on there to actually shoot?
It’s not for a lack of ideas or plans. I just realize that I kinda need to get those things done before considering other items to add.
And what a wonderful problem to have.
Neighborhood boys playing baseball. The strength of horses leaping. The endlessly fascinating stories carved into faces that blend seamlessly with their stories. And my own societal observations that develop into images in my head, often dark ones, that I ironically seek to build out in light in front of me.
What was the title of that wonderful Calvin and Hobbes collection? The Days are Just Packed. Shooting horses and riders makes me want to learn to be at ease with and ride the big beasts. Editing seemingly endless clips of shouting boys with bats and balls transports me back to golden days of strikeout glories and sweat-obscured swings of my own.
I want to capture cycling events. Motorcycling and motorcycle owners. (There is a pattern here; people who ride things—and the things they ride—are interesting to me. More of that “freedom” thing, I suppose.) I was recently discussing sending out proposals to a number of institutions with ideas for sponsored, long-term shoots that blended journalism, PR, and narrative portraiture.
I was never this creative or motivated in 25 years of advertising.
And then, this past Tuesday (October 12th), I received an exciting note from one of the editors at the Behance Network informing me that one of my projects, People, was selected as a notable on their site, photographyserved.com.
Apparently, being a bit rattlebrained isn’t such a bad thing, as long as you’re happy being that way. And the more I shoot, the more in love I am with shooting.
It isn’t, “if you build it, they will come.” For me, it’s more like, “if you really want to build it, and you experience joy in the work, others will want to be joyful with you.”
::: click :::
Here’s to shared joy.