On a Friday…
Broadway, New York.
Quick tangent: So, whenever I’m talking to people, if they ask me if I do this full-time and I say, “Yeah”, they usually remark on how cool that is and how they wished they could be doing something [like] it. I don’t really know if people want to wish that they could be doing something like it.
Freelance is a crazy scary business to be in, and I’m not saying this because I’m either crazy or scared. As I was explaining to someone earlier this week, being a photographer is a little bit better and fraction worse than being an artist; if you’re lucky, the pay is a little more consistent, though unless you’re a Mario Testino, the chances of commissioning something insane for a shoot seem to be lower than scoring big off a painting or sculpture, if all odds and variables remained the same. (No, I don’t consider a wedding commission to be an insane amount of money; but I would put it in the ‘good’ category.)
I shot this picture while I was out on the hunt for something else entirely that I had (have) been commissioned to shoot—something else that has proven to be highly difficult but not impossible to capture. This past week I was commissioned to go out and shoot three different things on the street by different clients, while chasing down an invoice from someone else and working to finalise contracts for two other people. I had Lord Ashbury for two full years before I started doing it full-time, so for two full years I worked 40 hours a week and put in about 20 hours a week on the blog, and that didn’t include all the hours I syphoned while at my full time job to do it. So now there’s no 40-hour job, but there is 40 hours of Lord Ashbury in addition to the 20 hours of general shooting that I do for photos that will never be seen on Lord Ashbury, and then all of the admin stuff (proofing for clients, chasing invoices, looking for more opportunities) that need to be done so I don’t… you know, go homeless. And there are rarely any days off, no such thing as weekends. So technically, I still work way, way more than I would if I just had a 40 hour job with a regular-interval paycheck.
But to be fair, there are the small perks; like for instance, if I’ve been editing for a couple of hours on any given day, I can just stop and play a couple of matches of FIFA, or take a nap, and when I’m home there’s nobody to block my access to Facebook, so I don’t have to pretend that I’m not Facebooking with my phone under my desk. Because that’s just stupid. But one thing that kind of does suck, is the sun. The idea of being out in it all day long is nice, especially in the summer… but boy, does it know how to slowly beat you down without you even noticing it. When you need an image to eat, it can beat down morale, too. In a way, the sun is that bullshit manager you have that never has anything nice to say; only this one makes me sweat physically and not psychologically. I love my job, but photographers like me spend more hours dealing with the same sorts of stresses that you do. When people say they wish they could be doing something like it, I should start replying with something like, “OK, just volunteer more hours at your office and don’t take the pay, then you’ll be doing something like it.” With what I do, the images are beautiful, I hope. The work is rough, and the possibilities are scary. But I’m OK with scary.
Anyway, this was all really just a roundabout way of me contemplating the most effective way of completing this insanely difficult job I’ve been commissioned to do. Getting introspective for me is more productive than stress. My client is real nice, and it’s of course my wish to do the best job possible. I just want to be able to do the job, if you know what I mean. Gotta catch those fireflies.
As always, TGIF!