The Shaved Head Over The Minolta
It's been two years.
It was not my first retirement. I stopped working in the past, more than a couple of times. A history of emotional dishevelment caused me to walk away from my work at least three times. Once, I stopped working for 18 months because I was no longer able to get behind the camera with the entire publishing world saying they didn't want to publish THE SWEATER BOOK. A (literal) message from God sent me back to work. The next time I retired because I did not know how to (reasonably) handle high maintenance clients and friends who demanded that I work for free--I found it easier to just quit working. This last time I quit working it was because I was just plain burnt out. THE SWEATER BOOK had been published and no one bought it; I couldn't seem to get people to hire me; and I was STILL doing photos for friends for free--and the high maintenance level was at an all time high. I heard the words spoken by the immortal Julie Andrews in the great American classic film VICTOR/VICTORIA: "I am very unhappy in the extreme and I don't have to be because I do have a choice..."
SO. I closed my business and I began rennovating our home, my psyche, my spirit, my body...all of it. These rennovations continue to this day...but during the last two years I learned so many lessons about life and about myself that I came out at the other end, a different person. I am not a Peaceful Warrior yet but I am, at least, on my way.
So I went back to work!!
I missed being behind the camera. I missed being a part of my 'true calling'. And I ran out of money. So I re-opened my business. But I discovered something interesting. While I was gone, headshots changed! The industry is mercurial, at best, but this was a big-ass change! Colour headshots are the deal now and people are being allowed to have photos that TRULY reflect their personalities! It is more portraiture than calling cards. Well. That thrilled me! A chance to start over, an opportunity grow as an artist--it felt like I was 18 again and the whole experience lay ahead, waiting to be discovered.
Every shoot I have had this summer, while retraining myself to be a photographer for THIS age, while retraining myself to be a better businessman and to handle the difficult clients, has been heavenly. Not one bad experience, so far. The new, artistic colour shots are thrilling to create and the new approach to shoots and personal relationships between friends/clients have been one joyous ride after another. I am, so, looking forward to each new day, every new client, all the upcoming chances to create new, great art and to offer service.
In PEACEFUL WARRIOR, Socrates says there is no greater calling than a life of service. I am so grateful for having learned that lesson. This is what I do. I offer a service. Whether I am a photographer, a friend, a host, a room mate...whatever it is that I do on this planet, I live a life of service.
No greater calling.
ps. yes, i shot every single picture seen in this piece. if you are in casting and would like the name of one of the actors, please drop me a line.