I know it’s a little early for starting to think about the new year, but 2010 is shaping up to be a year full of lots of changes. While it is much too early to talk about some of the big changes that may happen, the possibility of change has been on my mind a lot. One of the things that is going to first and foremost on my mind is where to take the next steps in my photography career.
Since I made my first professional (read: paid) photograph in 2006, I’ve certainly come a long way. Each photograph I take shows improvement, albeit sometimes subtle improvement, and I expect that to happen for the rest of my career as well. I don’t think there will ever be a point where I will be able to say, yes, ok, NOW I’m the best photographer I can be. I am always looking for how to improve and change my photography, to be more creative, to be more careful, to be more, well, aware of the photographs that I’m making.
The problem I’m seeing these days is that with my current situation, I spend a great deal of wasted hours waiting for the next project. This is, in part, because I’m a staff photographer at a large financial firm. If I was a freelancer and not chained to a desk between shoots, I would likely be out in the world experimenting, testing, and learning. As it is, I fill these empty hours with internet research and non-photography projects as needed to round out my billable hours. This is clearly impeding my ability to improve my craft to a certain extent because every project that I do has to have value. I don’t get a lot of flexibility and time to experiment, to take chances, to try something new.
So here’s the question that I don’t have an answer for yet. How do I affect change? When I’m sitting at my cube in my windowless beige office, what can I do to improve my photography for the next shoot? Where is my next personal project going to come from if I’m constantly exhausted from office living and don’t feel like picking up a camera when I get home and night or even on the weekends?
In any case, it’s time for a change. Despite the downer tone here, I’m feeling very positive about the change. I just need to figure out how to do it.