24 Nov 2013

Passion vs work

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you ~ Oprah Winfrey

Over the past few years I've been working on understanding myself and the way I live my life. I've learned a lot about myself and my passions and one important discovery I've made is that photography and any kind of art must stay only as a hobby for me. I'm unable to split things into work images and fun things just for me. It all ends up as work.

  • Then the way I think about art or photography changes 
  •  My subjects change 
  • How I approach a subject changes 
  • The way I feel about the work changes and it sucks the fun right out of it for me. 
  • I also hate self promoting stuff and managing sales, it all starts to feel like that's all that it's about and the art disappears into the distant background. 
I guess I'm trying to say that art for me has to be fun for my creative juices to flow. The stupid thing is that I knew this when I left school but it was pushed into the dark recesses of my mind and ignored. I never took art into higher study and I never attempted to turn it into a career because I knew it would become a chore and the fun would disappear. I could have taken my tech drawing classes to a higher level though. Drawing house plans and kitchen designs felt different from the art side of things. More controlled and detailed and it had to be accurate unlike art that is so much better when it is looser and flows and has your feelings and emotions in it. Maybe that's what separates it for me. Work is controlled and has constraints put on it from other people and art is free flowing and as soon as I add someone else's wants into an image or start to add a budget, promotion or any other business side effects it kills the free flow.

I wonder why it can take years of banging your head against the wall to finally learn something that you already knew from long ago? I ran my thoughts on this past my mother who is also trying to sell photographic images and she agreed with me. She told me that she hasn't taken any family photos this year at all when in the past she would have taken loads. Purely because her mind is now focused on photography as a business and the fun side has now gone. Perhaps it's a genetic thing with us?

Human nature says that when we do something there has to be something in it for us to want to continue it. A payoff if you like. When I take photos for fun I generally take more images of my family and friends and the beautiful places we have visited together. The images serve as reminders of great days and the payoff is high for me. The same happens when I paint or draw something for myself while I'm out somewhere or even at home. The art transports me back to that time and place, all the sights, sounds and smells come with it. However, when I take photos for work I'm concentrating more on technique, camera settings, best angles etc and when I look at those images those are the memories I have of that place. Memories of rushing to catch the light in the early morning, finding a great angle and then shooting and moving on before the light changes. It's a different process altogether from strolling around a lake with family on a beautiful day, laughing and enjoying everyone's company and capturing the magic moments freely as they arise.

I've had days in the past where I've gone on a family trip and when I've gotten home and looked back through the photos I've realized that I haven't taken any photos of my family while we were out. In fact some days I've realized that I've spent my day miles behind everyone else shooting things while everyone else has had fun without me! Where was the payoff on those days? The money earned from those images certainly wasn't worth the loss of interaction with my family. Perhaps part of the problem is that I don't like to take people pictures for work so if my mind is in work mode I don't shoot people including my family on a day out. Don't get me wrong, I do like to take pics of my family but I don't want to sell them so they are definitely not work.

So I was wondering how do you balance your passion vs your work? How do you switch off the work mode when you're with family or do you somehow manage to balance the two? I'd love to hear your ideas on this.

Enjoy life and travel light :)

No comments:

Post a Comment