Renewed Focus | A New Year

I spent New Year’s Eve photographing the wedding of a wonderful couple, people whom I admire tremendously.  I am no stranger to working on December 31st of course, having done so countless times in the past as a paramedic and as a musician, but this time it felt different to me.  At the end of the night I was exhausted from shooting for ten hours but I left the wedding feeling inspired, both by their love for each other and by the opportunities that they now share together.

And now, as I settle into 2019, I find myself reflecting on the last year and giving careful thought to where I want to take my work this year.  It is clear to me that 2018 was the most successful year I have had:  I worked with wonderful clients, taught amazing students, delivered photography presentations for a wide variety of clients and traveled the world.  I am so thankful for these opportunities that paid the bills, kept the lights on, put presents under the tree and allowed me to spend another year working on this crazy thing called photography.

On reflection, however, I don’t feel like I always pursued my long term artistic and business goals with intention in 2018.  While I always approach every job, every workshop, every presentation and every client with the utmost sense of professionalism, I can’t escape the feeling that much of the year happened despite my efforts, rather than because of them.  When I look back, it feels a bit like 2018 was a fast moving river that just carried me downstream from January to December.

Running a full time business is a lot of work, especially when you are balancing it with caring for a family and all of the day to day tasks that occupy our time.  Being a photographer can look glamorous from the outside, but the reality is very different:  There are websites to update, files to shoot / edit / process / backup / deliver, social media sites to run, book keeping to do, taxes to pay, insurance to renew, personal education to complete, etc.  It is very easy to feel busy when you are running from one small task to the next, but busy does not always mean productive.  If you aren’t moving the big rocks, if you aren’t completing the projects that move the ball further down the field, then you’re really just treading water and maintaining the status quo.

Do you ever feel this way?  Like the seemingly endless day to day tasks of working and living consume you to the point where you don’t get the really important things done?

I have huge photography related projects that I want to accomplish in 2019.  Projects that will help people, projects that my students will benefit from, projects that will be of value to my clients, and projects that will bring me artistic joy.  My goal in 2019 is to attack these projects with intention, with purpose, and to no longer allow “busy work” to interfere with the completion of these goals.  Yes, the day to day tasks of running the business will still need to get done, but I will no longer allow them to be a barrier.

Do you have a photography related goal that you’ve been putting off?  If so, I encourage you to make 2019 the year that it gets done.  Hell, I’ll even help if I can, but let’s make this the year that we do the things that have been sitting relentlessly in the back of our minds.  And, to all of the clients and students who I am going to be working with this year:  We are going to have an amazing time, make wonderful photographs, and approach photography with a renewed sense of purpose and wonder.

I’m pretty damned excited.

Cheers,

Ian

Twenty More | The Streets of Vancouver – Part Two

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Andy Warhol

I love this quote.  Don’t spend all of your time consuming when you could be out there creating instead.  Don’t crowd source your self esteem by worrying about what others think of your work.  Just get out there and be an artist, doing the work that you love.

Here are another twenty images from the streets of Vancouver, taken at various times over the last six months.

Cheers,

Ian

I’ve lost my voice | The streets of Vancouver

“Most artists have experienced the creative block.  We get stuck in our work.  We beat our head against the wall: nothing.  Sometimes, it is just because we are trying something at the wrong time.”

– Lukas Foss

I can’t make the words come out.  I start a new post, write paragraph after paragraph, then delete it all and start over.  I have stared endlessly at this damn flashing cursor, trying to tease an idea out of my head that I want to share with you, but it just won’t take shape.  Not yet, anyway.  

Does this ever happen to you?

What is interesting, however, is how otherwise productive this week has been:  I have created new photographs, played a lot of guitar, delivered another photography presentation to a wonderful group of people and invested time in my book.  For some reason though, the words just won’t come out for the post that I have been trying to write.

Creative slumps happen to everybody of course, they are an inevitable and inescapable part of the process.  Sometimes I feel like the key is to buckle down and push through them, while other times I find success by changing my focus for a bit and working on something else.  Such is the case this week I think, so I have been working on a few other projects instead.

While doing so, I ended up in a Lightroom folder called “Vancouver Street Photography – Unpublished” and was surprised to find it full of images that have never been shared (other than the odd Instagram post).  Some were taken while teaching workshops, some during days of dedicated shooting, some in between meetings and appointments and others at completely random times.  It was interesting to look at these images from the streets of Vancouver, taken between trips to Toronto, Amsterdam, Seattle and Paris this past summer, and see a body of work that I had completely forgotten about.  

So, while I wait for my muse to return, I’d like to share some of these images with you over the next few posts.  I hope you like them.

Cheers,

Ian