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….
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.
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.
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.