The thing is with writing a blog is that you always have the nagging suspicion in the back of your mind that you are repeating yourself. Even more so with a photography blog. Even now, as I type, I have a suspicion that I may have blogged this image before; I don’t think I have, yet the thought is there niggling away at the back of my brain. I suppose it’s because this is quite an old image – from Easter of this year – and therefore I cannot be sure that it’s new to you. Of course I could go back and check but in this case I’m going to rely on my own memory; besides if it is a duplicate I am sure that someone will point it out to me; the blogging community is very helpful in that regard ;-).
I have touched before, in this blog, on the subject of the importance of revisiting old images that you may have passed over before in favour of something else. This is another such case, which may account for my sense of deja vu. But I thought the picture sort of illustrated what I wanted to talk about which is what do you do as a photographer when you suddenly start getting a bit of attention, no matter how small… When I started writing this blog and trying to catalogue my exciting new hobby I only ever saw it as a distraction; something I had to do so that I could look back and see how far I had come. The initial aim as stated was to get better and perhaps at some point of epiphany several years down the track to sell some images. At no point in this journey had I ever contemplated doing this for a living or even doing this to a level at which that idea did not sound anything but ridiculous. I admit, at the start I was buoyed by some initial success. I had an image on a greeting card (which I incidentally have several hundred copies of… still… if only I’d had the foresight to take them to the recent WestFest exhibition) and I won a small local photographic competition and made the local paper. These events early in the journey (NOT in the Tony Blair sense) did serve to drive me forward but also served to make me a bit cocky and to think that I was better than I obviously was. Which is why, when things then took a downturn, I lamented my many and subsequent failures with a wailing and gnashing of teeth that was undignified and actually a bit arsey.
But then, like the swan in the picture above [note: I am not comparing myself to a swan that would be just stupid and besides I haven’t got the neck for it] I started to make a few ripples which led to a bit of paid work, two weddings, an exhibition and some sales. Of course I still have (and need) the day job but I am reaching a point where people are telling me I also need an ‘on-line presence’ for the photography beyond this blog and beyond Flickr; a point at which I am taking the odd photograph for payment and need to think about setting up a small business and thinking about VAT and tax and shit. This, to me seems like the craziest of all ideas. But at the same time its exhilarating and wild and fun. And I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen next.
I find myself having conversations with people about my ‘work’; there is a still developing idea that involves a non-professional (but brilliant) florist & a non-professional (but brilliant) amateur invitation maker and organiser to provide an unfussy, unhassled wedding service to people that just want to enjoy their big day. I have a photograph on the welcome page of this month’s Cheshire Life magazine which came about from a direct contact from them; and tomorrow I am talking to someone about exhibiting some pictures in a space in my home city of Chester.
Along the way I have had the support of loads of old friends and made lots of new ones; I have used social media where I can (and to be honest this may be where the ripples have emanated from – see previous post here). But I have reached a point where I feel that I need to think long and hard about what I want to do next photography wise. Believe me when I say that I am not a pushy person (you may think otherwise as I sit here shouting ME ME ME!). I find it very difficult – make that almost impossible – to sell myself or to see myself and my pictures as a saleable commodity. I am not good on the phone unless I have met the person I am talking to beforehand. I overcompensate by being loud and sarcastic. In a nutshell, I would give everything to make a living from photography. Yet I also know that the moment it became a living is the moment it would lose a bit of its magic.
I know I am punching above my weight and I thank you all for the encouragement and its going to be interesting to see where this rollercoaster takes me next. In the meantime, the photography is going to remain in the box labelled ‘hobby’; there are a gazillion better photographers than me out there but I’m doing OK thanks to the support and encouragement that I receive via comments to the blog and via twitter. Let’s see how things progress?