What do you do when the path you’re on feels like a deep rut that is only getting deeper? Since returning early from my failed “North American” trip that resulted in nothing more than a tour of the Southwest and a short escape from what I’m beginning to think is my destined misery. All the positivity aside I can’t seem to find a stride anywhere but on the road. Upon returning back to Vancouver I optimistically sucked up the weight of the stacked odds and figured I’d work towards becoming a commercially viable photographer.
Since returning and after a short (yet too long) stint at my grandparents place I’m now renting a room from a friend and commuting 3.5 hours a day to a regular day job. One that I do appreciate having but on the flip side it manages to suck almost all my time and energy from my day. Add to that the perpetual catching up of my dismal finances while trying to live in/near one of the most expensive cities in North America has proven to be a return to the familiar repeated motion of my skull slamming against brick and mortar.
When I do pick up my camera I feel a sick sense of uselessness, uninspired melon collie. There is no adventure, there is no exploration. I’ve tried on numerous weekends to get out and “find something” interesting to shoot and so far I’ve failed miserably. I’ve been reading up on new techniques and how to utilize off camera speedlights etc, getting quite excited about trying some of the processes at times. That in mind I’ve started to look at commercial spaces to perhaps lease as shooting space. One I went and looked at excited me with it’s potential until I was abruptly kicked in the face back into the reality of my finances and lack of options. Every scenario I come up with to move forward seems like a big catch 22. Requiring money I don’t have and that would take years to save at this current day job. I’ve also taken a step back and realized that to get clients I should improve my portfolio. I’ve since posted ads and contacted friends about shooting concepts that I have in my head, free photos for them to use in exchange for their time. People just flake out and drop the ball. Seems I can’t even give myself away.
Over the past few years I’ve taken all the chances I can think of, fearing nothing and ignoring thoughts of the worst case scenario. I’ve gotten myself into more debt, given up my home and sold off my belongs all to travel and shoot on the most miniscule of budgets. I’ve tried for sponsorship, begged, borrowed and worn out a few welcomes all to try and keep traveling and more importantly, shooting. Sure, a few people took notice and followed along. Commenting on my posts and photos but having the guts to do something and taking nice photos that people “like” doesn’t pay the bills to keep one traveling.
So with that, here I sit, lunchtime at the new job, whining into a blog that has most likely lost any followers it once had because well, I’m not traveling am I? Instead, I’m trading life for a paycheck, a few perks and a nice new deep rut that I fail to envision a way out at this point which is what’s pissing me off the most. I’m quite capable of waiting and working hard towards something that will eventually produce the changes that I need. Although right now, I don’t even know what those changes are to be. I’ve simply flat-lined, and the defibrillator has a dead battery.
Just read you blog and I had to answer. Life unfortuntely is about paycheques. I am now 61 years old. After working for all my life since the age of 16 I am now retired from the career that gave me more than I ever expected. Some 33 years ago I woke up one morning to find that I was suddenly a single mother of two very small boys, 5 months and 2 years. I had asked their dad to leave after the second black eye. We did not see him again for 30 years. I found myself on welfare and remember laying in bed in the middle of the night and wondering how the hell did I get here. A year later I ended up working in the welfare office as a gopher that ended up with me being given the job as a Financial Assistance Worker. I was suddenly the person on the other side of the desk. I was damn good at my job as I knew first hand what my clients were experiencing.
I talked a woman out of taking her life one morning when she called as I was cooking pancakes for my children. I sat with one of my clients at the hospital while arrangements were being made to put him into rehab and convinced him he was doing the right thing.
I even went to the funeral home with another client whos daughter had just died of a drug overdose 200 miles away and we arranged to bring her body home. The momès heart was broken and so was mine. Wayne these things are not made up, they happened after one of the darkest moments of my life. I spent 30 some years helping people as I had been helped. But my cameras were never far away. They were my lifeline and I know what you mean when you said that you experienced melacollie. Not everytime will your lens fill up with the magic that we both know. It will come back. Make a life around your passion if you have too but never feel as if your mission has failed.
I am now a Location Scout with the BC Film Industry as well as branching out into Location Management. This happended because I have never layed my cameras down. I raised three children, wrote and published two books, and just kept on keeping on.
Rally My friend, make some money at your job, buy some new camera equipment when you can but do not ever lay those camers down.
There will always be open roads but sometimes it is not the road that brings us our happiness. Find it my friend.