Most of you know me as the perky, happy-go-lucky, eternally inspired asian kid on youtube that never sleeps. I post about the crazy places I get to visit, the ridiculously talented people I have the honour to collaborate with and the epic ideas I have running amok in my mind.
And that is real, but beneath each visit I make, each collaboration that is carefully pieced together and each video that I present to you guys are hours and hours of hard work, not just in time but in emotion… and most of the time, the payoff is small and almost intangible.
Earlier this month, I received this message from a fan I found quite interesting and is one of the reasons I thought of writing this post.
While I can’t answer for Joe McNally, there are a couple reasons why I try not to talk about the negative things that happen.
The first is that we are professionals, and the internet is… well, the internet. There is not a single client out there that wants to read how you completely botched a job, or how you’re emotionally strained, or that you’re been running on 12 minutes of sleep this entire week.
The second is that it’s just not fun to hear someone mope about how miserable they are. Think about that annoying friend of yours that posts a status update every 3 hours on how they’re bored, uninspired, wish they could be anywhere but where they are… you know who they are.
Finally, it is because I have chosen to be that inspiring ever-happy person. That is the persona I sell to you guys, because I am trying to sell you a dream. When you’re looking for inspiration, you want to hear the glorious, the awesome, the “it’s possible”.
But every so often, I think that Dan is right, and it’s good to talk about the hardships and challenges one goes through as a creative.
If I had to graph it out, this is what my life kinda looks like:
These highs and lows normally can last months on end (and if I were to be perfectly honest the lows are a more consistent factor than the highs) but through it all I continuously create and share the positives, the epic, the amazing.
It’s hard to be a creative, especially one such as myself who has decided to completely break from the mould. I have no existing market to tap into, I have no clear revenue stream, I refuse to let photography become a job and I have set myself up as somewhat of an icon of inspiration to many aspiring photographers out there. This means I can’t fail! On top of that, I give myself intangible deadlines (such as coming out with a blog post and video once a week) that add onto the workload. Add onto that expectations, requests, clients… and you’ve got a pretty massive workload on your shoulders that can completely beat you down.
But truly, the hardest part about it all… is to work so hard and have people pass a judgement on you without even taking the time to know who you are. For example: http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=z1Yz2UV-yPA
I think The Oatmeal summed it up best in his “Making Things for the Web” comic. Here’s a piece of it:
Despite all the complexities and challenges that comes from taking the decision to pursue my passion there is a sense of purpose that cannot be felt any other way. There are those odd moments when you look back at yourself in the mirror and feel down to the core: This was what I was meant to do. There is no other way to feel that but by truly pursuing something you love.
Once you find it, I believe that you should never give it up no matter what happens. Follow your heart and you can’t go wrong. Don’t believe me? Check out this second opinion from Renee Robyn Photography.
Anyways! With all that being said, I will actually be going to VEGAS to participate in the [FRAMED] Awards as well as hope for the chance to speak at WPPI for 10 minutes about the REASON we all do photography. Dates are set for the 11th to the 17th or so at the moment right before my Workshop and Conference in London.
- Leave me a note on Facebook or send me an email if you’re attending WPPI and want to hang out!
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I will be giving a CRAZY 2.5 day workshop in London, UK on the 22/23/24th of March… Check it out HERE