wp_head() What Photography Takes From You « portraits without borders
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What Photography Takes From You

I thought long and hard about what the first blog post for PWB would be. Should it be a photography tip? Should it be an interview podcast? Should it be some inspiring words from a famous photographer or maybe a contest?

I decided to focus on a statement I heard a while back. I was watching one of my favorite photographers giving a three-day workshop online. It was the usual amazing words, and tips, and I was writing down every important statement (which is a lot). On the third day his wife came on the set to speak about his family life. He said (roughly), “Everyone talks about what photography gives them, but no one really talks about what it takes from you.” That statement hit me hard, and everything past those words was a blur. I had to reflect on my own life, and what photography has taken from me.

I knew coming in 12 years ago what photography was going to give me, an opportunity to create, a chance to see new places, romantic accolades from friends and strangers, but I never stopped to seriously consider what it was going to rob me of. One thing it took was time, time NOT spent with friends and family. Time from watching my children grow. Time NOT spent listing to my wife’s needs. Time NOT spent enjoying life around me. Time NOT spent on caring for my health.

Another thing it took was money. I knew this journey wasn’t going to be cheap, but I didn’t realize how much money it takes to be successful or attempting to be successful. I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve told myself, “do I really need this?” Do I really need this much car insurance? Do I really need this extra box of cereal? Do I really need this much gas in my tank? I sacrificed common sense to feed my stubborn obsession.

The most important thing photography took from me was my marriage. I had an amazing, giving, kind, and loving wife who needed me to be present. I wasn’t. I was too busy caring-on trying to find that elusive “perfect” light. I was too busy creating the next “favorite” image. I was too busy obsessed with the next best tool that would help me create better photographs. I know, it wasn’t the sole reason for our divorce, but my photography “distraction” was a big part of it.

So the next time you’re thinking of making photography a career think again. Think about your wife, kids, husband, dog, cat, friends, and how much time your taking away from THEM. Think about how much money you have saved in the bank now and how much money you’re going to have five years from now and imagine it all going to go to photography. Are you ready for that? I wasn’t.

I know what your asking, “is it worth it?” I know I don’t see me doing anything else in life. I know the excitement I feel after taking an image that I know I will share with the world. I know I get down on my knees and say “thank you thank you” every time someone trusts me enough to pay me to take photographs of them. I know how blessed I am to travel to other countries taking photographs. I know how my heart races when I’m around a team of talented people. I know a bad day shooting is always better than a good day doing almost anything else. I know how good I feel when I fight through my inner voice telling me, “Your not good enough.” So do I think it was worth it? I’ll let you know when I get over the pain of loosing my wife.

This post is dedicated to Stephanie, Zack Arias, & Meg Arias.