Monday, August 22, 2011


Ernie in the Challenge Stradale. iPhone4 & Camera+.

"Choice. The problem is choice." - Neo

It was the foundation of The Matrix movies. That humans must choose their reality in order to "survive".

It's also the foundation of real life.

This past week, I had a chance to partake in a "bucket list" event. Drive Pacific Coast Highway, down the Californian coast, in a Ferrari with my car enthusiast friends. What made it even better was that one of my friends was purchasing his first Ferrari, something that he'd wanted to do since he was a child. Sharing this event with these individuals was an opportunity that I would not miss. Even though I had a major client to shoot for a day later, I chose to go on this journey.

One of our friends did not make this journey. I think he wanted to go, but the weight of the world was on this individual and the realities of life were bearing down on him like none other. He elected not to go.

On the drive up to Monterey (from Los Angeles), I marveled at the starry night sky and thought how lucky I was to be able to be a part of this journey. How the paths of 4 individuals crossed so many years ago and brought us to this point so many years later. I was honored to be there sitting in the back of a Prius to pick up my friend's Ferrari. Even more important was the fact that I had the freedom to make such a choice.

Had I been working in the corporate world. I don't know that I could make this choice.

And like our friend who elected not to go, I would have probably regretted it to some level many years later.

As Neo said so eloquently, "The problem is choice."

Because the safe answer is "No".

"No" never puts you in harms way. "No" is safe. "No" is status quo. "No" is resistance to change. "No" would have meant me sitting at home the day before a big shoot, just retouching and making sure I was not 350 miles away from the studio.

But "No" doesn't get you anywhere... nowhere new at least.

When I chose to become a photographer, it was the first of many "Yes's" It was empowering and liberating. Taking control of my life on a level that wouldn't be possible in the corporate world. "Yes" got me to become an entrepreneur. "Yes" got me to teach workshops in Las Vegas and Calumet. "Yes" got me onto this trip to drive a Ferrari down PCH.

And yes, these choices are exactly what I live for on this journey. To know that it's my life and I'm getting paid to do something that I love. The client shoot went spectacularly and reaffirms why I do what I do.

The fear of jumping ship and becoming a photographer is purely the anticipation of the unknowns. It's like the clicking of a roller coaster taking you to the top of the tracks. But once you get to the top of the tracks and take that first drop, the rest is pure exhilaration.


  1. Hello Charles, Paul here (been a while since my last comment).

    I must say that I know exactly what You mean because lately I had to choose between a full time corporate job and starving to death :/ And actually now I know what I want to do in my life. I want to get back to photography, dictate my own rules and work hard for my own businnes, instead of busting my arse for somebody else.

    Still - at least I know it's not too late. I remember when You told me that You started Your businees at the age of 28 (as I remember correct) and this is what makes me believe in myself everyday on.


  2. hey charles i'm in a spot that makes me think twice about diving into photography. I've tried it already and had sold all my equipment but i've recently went back into it not too long ago. Purchased an entry level pentax and started shooting away and fell in love with it again, I don't know what to do. I love photography, i graduated from ucla in arts but i'm going back to school for engineering and i feel like there's no point in getting another degree. What got you into photography?

  3. Hey Yosep! Glad to hear you're back in the game. I'm sure you'll do great! What got me into photography?

    Here's my first post I think:

    Here's another take several years later ;)