“If I’m still doing this in ten years.” I said in a deadpan serious voice. ” Feel free to shot me.”
I felt old ten years ago when I said that, often tired and occasionally exhausted by the work. Long hours of driving around the country, setting up and tearing down the Studio, eating way too much junk food and drinking way too many sodas. Over the past few years I’ve lost a few of the pounds I put on, taken to sleeping more and staying up watching soft porn on CineMax less, but time takes it’s toll.
I always wanted to be a Travel Writer, in the general sense that I like to travel and like to write. I’ve never seriously done any travel writing as it takes a certain knack to do it right. You have to gather facts and figures, you have to take photos that make the place look cool and fun, and you have go somewhere really interesting once in a while. You also have to actually write them.
It’s been ten years since I did any serious traveling. In those glory days of yesteryear The Wife and I went up and down the East Coast, went to California and Arizona and spend some time in places like Omaha and Milwaukee. We found that you could hit most of the touristy stuff any place has to offer in a couple of days-if you rode a GrayLine Tour bus and weren’t too picky about what you wanted to see.
Over the past few years I’ve often thought of going back to that job where I traveled around the country. There are places I would like to revisit now that I have a better camera and a better understanding of how to use it. There are still many places I have never spend much time in and a few states that I have never been to.
All of that is well and good.
But the work. Sometimes I find the work to be as mind numbingly dull and repetitious as possible. Now that I’ve surrendered and gone to the dark side of Shoot-N-Show, I find that selling is sucking my soul dry. People are stupid and I want to slap them. Now I understand why The Wife was so pissed off all the time when she was a Passer. It’s work that pisses you off. I get paid straight commission and the shoot coordinator wants to pack the schedules with people ‘they want in the book.’
The problem is not with the Subjects, it’s with how the Company sells the Program. Get a FREE Directory and FREE 8×10! Hey, it works for the most part, but the places that really want the free crap, really want nothing but the free crap. This can be pretty depressing stuff.
I’m going to do some serious thinking over the next few weeks. The thing that I’ve missed has been traveling to new and interesting places. The Old Company was year after year of the same old same old with only the occasional trip to someplace I wanted to visit. So I have to see if the long hours on the road are as much fun as I remember. For the most part, those twelve hour drives were never any fun.
One of the fringe benefits of being an Assembly Line Portrait Photographer has always been the ability to bang out the occasional blog post, short story, or novel. Or read the occasional blog post, short story, or novel. This tends to stimulate the mind, keep the creative juices flowing, and make the time go by in a blur of odd ideas and standard portrait poses. So the major drag of Shoot-N-Show is that I no longer have all that lovely free time on my hands to contemplate reality. Of course, being busy is better than sitting around and doing nothing after hour after hour. If I were making a couple of grand a day I wouldn’t mind so much, but so far that hasn’t happened.
I really love writing, blogging, and general all around bitching and moaning. Being alone and being busy most of the time means that I have no one to talk to and no time to write or read. I’ve also found that my recent addiction to Pinterest has left my mind completely occupied with such nonsense as the Trinity Knot, a Grumpy Cat, and a vast world of HDR photos. Pinterest is a lot of fun, but I am in no way using it to make money or successfully promote my blogs and affiliates. It would be nice if I could quit my day job and just Pin stuff for a living. But that ain’t happening either.
For now I will just keep doing what I am doing. Taking pretty good portraits, selling them to people who don’t need too much arm twisting, and finding the spare moment here and there to do a bit of reading, writing, and contemplation. I’ll be taking more HDR photos and hitting a few of the sights and hopefully all will be well.
I’ve never wanted to be a long haul trucker or a bus driver and just tick off the states as I roll through them. Being an Assembly Line Portrait Photographer lets me grab a few mornings and the occasional day off to see some of the sites and eat some of the local food. Of course, that can lead to long days as well. I’ll see how it goes.
So, hold off on the shooting for a little while.