Friday, March 19, 2010

Where are we going? Who's driving this thing?

Originally I considered writing a separate message documenting the internal conflict I feel for not being able to tell you where I am going. I have never really known where I was going and although my path is much clearer now, I must concede that the end goal is shrouded in uncertainty... and that makes me leary.

Life is funny like that. I am in the middle of a very interesting story yet I have no clue how it will end. For someone who is technical, analytical, and introspective it behooves me to draw a flowchart for what is happening on this journey. Yet I can't. If I were to plot a chart for where I have been, where I am going, and where I might end up, I know only one thing is certain... that I would be dead wrong. LOL!

The problem with predicting the future is that you only know where you have been. Therefore every estimate for where you might be relies on the assumptions of the past. Without the variables that have not yet occurred you can not plot with accuracy a plausible outcome. So you wind up with two choices: Do what the major corporations of the world do and plot several outcomes at variable intervals (up to 100 years) and replot these timelines every few years. Or fly fatefully and faithfully headfirst into the unknown and embrace everything that will be.

As a photographer, or simply as a human being, it's hard to accept that which we can not control. We are at the top of the food chain. There are no viable threats to our survival outside of the ones that we create for ourselves. As a species, even mother nature can't slow down our population growth. We are almost gods. So it troubles us that we can not completely control our lives and see into the future.

I once defined excitement as the anticipation of the (outcomes) unknown. After all, I have never been excited about something for which I would know the resolution. But much like my relationship with surfing, I am always excited to see how this story will unfold.

In January a few things happened that snowballed very quickly. I opened myself up to the "outside world" and began networking and talking to people that were in this industry. That opened a lot of doors and doors begot doors. Suddenly I find myself at the inflection point of a brave new world. I am working with several individuals that have clout and I'm excited to see where this is going to go. If the past is any indication of things to come... hopefully, things can only get better from here.

As a creative however, I think it's a fine balance between control and randomness. I call it randomness because that which we can not control seems random. It's dynamic. It's alive. It's surprising. Most of all it's addictive. More and more often I am pulled towards the unknown and even trying to create situations where "things" can happen. Inspiration can come at any time and if you keep your channels open you can be filled with inspiration which will hopefully lead to new creations. I think the next 3 months will be a departure from the old (as much as someone like me can depart from the old) and a huge step into "liquid" (that's a pun on the surf documentary Step Into Liquid). Liquid being flowing and dynamic and never still, I am hoping to separate myself from that which is static and old.

I feel like I have spent enough time learning the fundamentals. Yet for one who will read instruction manuals from start to finish, I can't wait to leap off the old platform and try my hand at new things. For example, when I first started learning about lighting, I never finished all of Strobist 102. I leapt off somewhere in the middle of 102 and started experimenting myself. Of course now and then I feel the need to go back and learn some of the things I missed but for the most part I think I made the right decision to learn by doing. By "doing" I think you give yourself the opportunity to ask the right questions which is always (as I have reiterated) more important than having the right answers.

Is photography/retouching my end game? I don't know. Do I have a marketable skill now? I hope so. People are still surprised when I tell them that I've been doing this since April (11 months and counting since I joined ModelMayhem). Hell, the timestamp on my self-portrait (reference How It All Began post) was only 1 year ago. But a year is a long time. How many full years does one get in life? If you live a full one maybe 70 of these. But not everyone is that fortunate. It's been one hell of a ride though!

I have plans. I will likely not disclose them here for fear that I'm looking too far ahead. Rome was not built in a day and neither will my career (or anyone's career for that matter). When you look at the wildly successful, even they are the results of a sequence of fortunate events that happened one step at a time. In the next 10 days I will think about all that's occurred in the last 3 months. I haven't had much time to think lately. I feel like I've acted in many instances out of necessity but not by design, meaning that I haven't put enough thought into planning for the things that occurred and that they kind of all just happened... like diarrhea; it all just "came out".

I am looking at several shoots worth of retouching:

-Tiffany Blake's pictures which are top-priority since she has an agency interview next Thursday for which she needs at least 2 pictures
-Beauty retouches on the lookbook shoot (which came out to be a big success and means I'm published!)
-Mackenzie's shoot where we romped around in downtown LA after an afternoon in the studio. I believe around 400+ pictures from that shoot and 3 locations in LA1
-Sharylyn's impromptu shoot which was set up a day in advance where we went to a park in The Valley (again outdoor)

These were the 4 shoots that I did in 5 days. These occurred Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday. I have yet to finish up on Kensy and Lucy's shoot. I would like to revisit at least one of Brett's old shoot, one more of Melissa, hell I'd like to look through all the shoots in the past 3 months and do at least 1 more picture for each but I don't know if that's going to happen.

I will however definitely work on the website as soon as I get back to Taiwan.

Stay tuned. There's more to come...

1 comment:

  1. Thank You for sharing Your reflections.