THIS is more important than photography itself

I consider photography my life, I'm a photographer, always was and always will be. But as much as I love it, there's something that I believe IS more important than photography

 

Since photography is my career, I devote a lot of time to it, from reading, marketing, producing and everything in between. It takes a lot of my time. There's nothing like the feeling of making a nice image, printing it, selling it. Or getting paid for a job. I absolutely love photography and I am extremely grateful for what I do.

 

But photography is not the most important thing. From time to time I like to think about my death bed. Not the happiest of thoughts I agree, but if that's what is needed to know what the most important things in life are, then let it be! I picture myself on a hospital bed and thinking about what I'm going to want near me….

 

I won't ask to see my money nor my bank account………..

I won't want to see my images, no matter how proud I was of them once upon a day……..

I won't want to see my awards or the magazines I was published in….

 

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I will want to see the people I love.

 

And that is why I believe that relationships are more important than photography, and I am talking as a highly passionate photographer. I like learning about other photographers, and from time to time, there's a few things I pick up. Take fan favorite Daido Moriama, he was pretty candid that he let his family deteriorate because of photography.

 

A hospice nurse once took a survey of the top regrets of the dying, the first one was “I worked too much”, then “I wish I staid in touch with friends and family”. I always keep these regrets close to my heart so that they don't become mine. I didn't know that but back then my wife seriously considered leaving me when my photography career was launching. It's something only guys can relate to when I will say that I believed that I was working FOR my family, I had my son back then too. Almost lost my family for photography.

 

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I think photographers, pro or not must have multiple bottom lines. Pros might be in danger of too much time invested in “Putting yourself out there” and amateurs might be in danger of letting their hobby take a hold on their life. Multiple bottom lines helps us balance our life, because we are rarely just one role in life. We are fathers, but also brothers, sons, teachers, etc. and life itself I believe is a balancing act. A balance between our calling, our family, etc.

 

And sometimes balancing will mean to put certain things in front of others. Sometimes the choice is going to be between going to a restaurant with the kids or a full hour of shooting all alone in the streets. Personally, my priority is my family. And I am fully aware of how much images I could be making if I didn't chose to be more present with them. I probably won't be all the photographer I could be in this life, and I'm ok with that, family first. It's my choice.

 

 

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I know it's not something that's sexy to think about, but just like health insurance, the unsexiest things are usually the things that MUST be thought about. I just don't want anyone to have any regrets if I can help it, so think about your own life, and see what should be more important than your photography. I don't want to sound preachy, if I do, apologies…. it's because I am preaching first and foremost to myself. Be yourself, stay focused and keep on shooting.

 

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14 thoughts on “THIS is more important than photography itself”

  1. Christian Pattyn

    Good philosophy, relates to Buddha (life is all about balance) et Lao-zu (respect of social and religious principles and mores)

  2. You are so right! We get all wrapped up in something that is (we think) more important than anything else, and forget those around us who actually make life what it is. I know . . .been then, done that, and do not want to do it again. Your thoughts are right on.

  3. While this is entirely correct, it also works the other way.

    I have just left a very active and engaging career – not in photography .

    So for me retirement means that I can give more time to photography and also spend more time with my family. But as with many active people “retirement” has it scares side. Knowing that I had photography to fall back upon and to invest in gave me the strength to make that step and say – “enough!” My creative side and my family are very much related so it is a win win .

    But I absolutely get and respect what you say .

    Steve

  4. Yes Oliver, you are right! It is somehow the Price for the freedom we pretend to take. How often, as a professional musician I was away, when my friends had a Meeting – i came after a concert or after a rehearsal near midnight – and at the Party everything was said – or everybody was drunk. As a arts-worker we live like a lonely wulf or as a Clown. Therefore my “sad Feelings” are These: I believe that on 10’000 People one Clown is needed. It must not be, that every Clown is unhappy, but we have to be concious that we take the duty – or we look for a easier Job.
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  5. I think when one’s life is consumed by ones indulgence into a world full of different profiles we tend to lose our own, Yes i lost some ne close to my Heart, and yes it is a reality that we only live, until our calling comes. But in between these times we tend to forget our families not by choice but our consummation of living to support them, but yet we lose the feeling of love somewhere…we need that back, to tell our wives children i love you or we will regret it one day..

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