Good for nothing: How photography changed my life

I could see the disappointment in my dad's face. It was the umpteenth time he tried to motivate me to do something with my life. Heh, I don't blame him, I also felt like and was a “bon a rien”, a good for nothing. Drinking was probably the only thing I used to look towards to, besides beating my latest game that is.

I was the kind of student you would hate to have, the one always nagging the teacher for no reason. I felt bad for my dad, wholeheartedly buying books that I never read, buying educational software I never used. Fast forward a few years, me and my partner Don, we are single handedly creating an up and coming photography website that every one loves. So….What happened? How can one go from being a couch potato with no will for their own life to having so much energy and passion?

The answer is simple: I realized I was good for nothing in many aspects, but good for some things.

 I wasn't good at school, at sports and other activities, they never interested me, hence I became a couch potato. But when I found the Visual domain, I didn't need my dad to tell me what to do, I did it myself. My wife tells me that I am absolutely not handy at all. I always agree and ask her, so what? Who says you gotta be good at everything? For many, the urge would be to re mediate, my urge is to have laser focus on what I'm already good at and try to be even better.

I see humans as cells in the body, cells are all the same until they become specific. One cell cannoot do what another does and that's the point. Let's say I have to fix the sink and I can't, I'll have to call the plumber. That's what he's good at, that's what I am not good at. When his daughter is getting married, he will call me because photography is what he is not good at, and that's what I am good at. We are all good at some things, if we are all good at everything…we wouldn't need each other would we? In the end, it's not that I was REALLY good for nothing, it's just that I didn't find what I was good at yet. Once you find that thing you are good at, it's like you feel you belong and everything feels right.

I found the thing I am good at in Photography. But you reading this, maybe photography is not your vocation, just something you enjoy. That's ok. I think the most important thing each and everyone of us can do, it's to find what we are good for, what we are called for and pursue it. But the good thing about photography is that it can be your side vocation. You can be a photographer plus something else. Photographer + Doctor, Photographer + Office worker, etc. Once you find your vocation….everything else seems to be so clear.

I think that there's two answers to the question “What am I on this earth for?”, the first is a theological answer, the second is an occupational answer. My occupational answer is I'm here on earth to be a Photographer. I've never been so sure than this, and finding what I am good for has changed my life. There's no right or wrong answer to knowing what you are good for, everyone has his or her place, his or her vocation that makes the whole world function. You ate this morning because someone made it their vocation to grow food, you drove because someone made it their vocation to create cars, etc. We all have our place, we are very small cogwheels making things go round.

I might not be able to create a cure for cancer or fly someone to the moon, but all that I know is, when these guys need meaningful images of their families, they will call me, or someone like me. The world is big, huge, zillions and zillions of people, I'm just grateful filling my small part. We all here for something. I've found my place in the world, just like a cell in my body. Have you found yours?

Be yourself, stay focused and keep on shooting.

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2 thoughts on “Good for nothing: How photography changed my life”

  1. It is a nice, inspirational article. However. There are very few amateur plumbers. There are no amauteur office workers and there can be no amateur doctors. But anyone with a camera is a photographer and willing to ‘work’ cheaper than you, or the plumber, office worker or doctor in their chosen professions. They may not be as good as you are, but sometimes (more and more often) cheap is what the customer wants. In today’s world it is damned difficult to make a decent living as a photographer. Not impossible. But difficult enough that it is reasonable for parents to discourage it. Better learn to be a plumber or office worker first and then see if photography can earn a living. That way you can always do some plumbing or temp office work on the side when needed.

    1. Thanks IIkka!
      True, true. I think it’s a matter of educating your market. Went to clients who intended to “save sum monay!” by getting a “pro camera”, but they learned the hard way to leave it to people who know what they are doing. Plus some learned the hard way that you get what you pay for.

      I personally think that digital is still young, everybody wants a piece of it, everyone thinks they can make it, but eventually things will die down and obtain a sort of baseline.

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