My photography business is the definition of who I am.
Ever since I started my working life I have always worked to live.
I literally could not possibly imagine doing a job I didn't love. Don't get me wrong I have always worked hard and have an extremely strong work ethic, but my work has always been either something I loved or allowed me to live how I want to live.
My first job out of school was in bakery, I didn't enjoy it and jumped very quickly at the opportunity to go and work as a flumeguard at the local Haven holiday park, yes you heard that right I stood at the top of a water slide telling people when to go and the best bit was the lifeguard I fancied made me a special jacket out of the lifeguard jackets that said flume guard. That job was the best job for my 16yr old self. It was easy, fun and eventually I did become a lifeguard and went back to Haven a number of times over the years.
My CV is the most eclectic thing.
My mid 20s I believed that was a bad thing. I have been everything from nightclub glass collector to chef in high end ski chalets. I have been a nanny, a dog walker, I even did a 5 day stint in an office job it really wasn't what I wanted. All of my jobs have allowed me to live the life I wanted to lead at the time and if it didn't I changed it. Whether it was living in London or being able to go snowboarding everyday. The money didn't matter, the job didn't matter as long as my time outside of whatever job I was doing was exactly what I wanted to be doing.
And then I discovered photography.
My first real flirtation with the camera was in Portugal. I have always been creative everything from drawing to painting and writing. That alongside my adventurous streak and the ability to find beauty in most things picking up a camera seemed a natural transition. I was most certainly no Henry Cartier-Bresson but the ability to craft a moment in time and immortalise it was a quick obsession for me. I was in Portugal with my tail between my legs after a particularly turbulent time in Austria which involved me loosing my passport and learning some hard life lessons all of which made me stronger from my failures and led me to 8 days travelling across Europe with my dog and life belongings. It was a tough time but out of all tough times you discover something new about yourself. This time it was photography.
It was still 3yrs prior to me doing any form of paid work but it was something I did. It was now a part of me.
Learning how to make a passion into a business is hard work.
Once I had decided to become professional more life lessons followed. When you decide to become a professional photographer you are under a false glamour that just because a few people comment on your photos saying how good they are that the whole thing will be easy. Thats not true. You have to extend yourself further, website design, SEO, blogging, negotiating, accounting, tax lessons (they suck) album design, the list is endless. In fact my first couple of years I developed an entire new skill set. The work was hard and at times you want to just give up.
But you don't give up on a calling.
Giving up is easy. Failing repeatedly until you finally start to see results is hard but when you have a passion, a calling for something the knock backs get easier. They start to define you. And you keep going. Why? Because you can't not do this, this crazy thing everyone told you wasn't possible calls to you every single day. The late nights editing are made worth it when you see what your work means to someone. That the images you created are someones memories.
I was watching a documentary last week about the American Indians in the north west of America about how they have sustained themselves and their culture for 10s of thousands of years (I also have a deep thirst for knowledge and anthropology) and they were showing these beautiful old black and white images of the people of these tribes. There was no credit to the photographer but I was just thinking about how important those photos were to the story of these people. That imagine if they hadn't been taken? The magnitude of the photograph is what I do this for. What I do is freeze time, I allow people to revisit a moment over and over in a beautiful way.
Its all part of the journey
I made lots of mistakes, had a lot of mishaps but they all led here. To me doing something that I love, that makes my heart sing every single day. My business isn't just how I make money. My business is me. Its the definition of who I am. Its made up of my adventures, my failures, my passion. The foundation is my story and the knowledge I have gained along the way. So when people book me for their wedding, to photograph their horse, to do business headshots they are getting a piece of my soul and history.
Working with me isn't just a business transaction, my clients become a part of my story while I tell theirs through my images.