Monday, February 20, 2012


I believe in maniacs. I believe in type As. I believe that you’ve got to love your work so much that it is all you want to do. I believe you must betray your mistress for your work, you betray your wife for your work; I believe that she must betray you for her work. I believe that work is the one thing in the world that never betrays you, that lasts. If I were going to be a politician, if I were going to be a scientist, I would do it every day. I wouldn’t wait for Monday. I don’t believe in weekends.
If you’re headed for a life that’s only involved with making money and that you hope for satisfaction somewhere else, you’re headed for a lot of trouble. And whatever replaces vodka when you’re 45 is what you’re going to be doing.
Richard Avedon - 1988
We're all a little crazy. Some more than others. Most of the time you can see crazy just by talking to someone. Occasionally people hide it well although they're truly crazy underneath the shell of normality. You can usually infer crazy just by observing one's actions. For example the investment bankers are all crazy. They seem normal but they're completely nuts. The people with doctorate degrees are all nutty too but in a totally different way. Theirs is an insane ability to focus on an extremely narrow field while forsaking all else. The people who run endurance races are all crazy too. I mean who subjects himself/herself to 17 hours of torture (in the case of the Ironman Triathlon)?

Crazy people do.

And yet these people believe that they're totally normal. They thrive in the eye of their own madness, like the eye of a hurricane. They believe normal people are crazy. Crazy for leading unfulfilled lives. Crazy for settling. Crazy for being ordinary. And so these people have obviously put some thought into their own actions. In fact, they are so rational in their delusions that they can probably convince you that they're sane. That as a result of their personality flaws combined with environmental variables (e.g. divorced parents, poor upbringing, got beat up as kids, etc.) this the the only logical outcome.

That this is their destiny.

Thus, they are amazing in their tragically flawed and yet tragically beautiful ways.

I say this while knowing with utter confidence that I am one of these crazy people. I've always known this about myself. Throughout my entire life these character traits have shaped me into who I am. Mine in particular are a combination of loving the pursuit. Thriving in the passion of being totally consumed by something... anything. Needing a challenge that's not impossible to achieve in a lifetime but not easy enough to conquer in a day. Having both a fear of failure and also a phobia for being average. Believing that hard work trumps raw talent and luck. Wanting to prove to the naysayers that it can be done... and done my way. That it's not too late even if you're late to the game. That the love (for the game) is the answer.

So Dick was right. Weekends, holidays (is it still President's Day?), nights, birthdays, they're all the same to me. I have spent only 1 day physically away from my computer in the past 3+ years that I've been a professional photographer (New Year's Day 2012). Whether I'm eating, sleeping, or training for my Ironman I'm always thinking about this stuff. It's like having a TV that only has one channel and not being able to turn that TV off. It gives me a reason to live and at the same time it's slowly killing me physically and possibly psychologically.

Is it hard? You betcha. Because if it weren't hard it wouldn't be worth doing. I think that's why they make it hard. It's why med-school puts you through residency and 36-hour-shifts. Why the CFA is 3 levels and is will take you a minimum of 3 years to pass. Why the Ironman is 2.4 miles swim, 112 miles bike, and 26.2 miles run. It's hard because it's supposed to force you to question your own commitment every step of the way. After all, you don't want some half-assed nitwit operating on your when you need to have surgery.

But I'm still here and still in love with what I do. After all, who am I to complain about getting paid to shoot naked models all day? :)


  1. This is spot on! I like to think of this as some part of human evolution. It took me quite some time to realize that being crazy like this has it's perks. A great example of this was my first photography mentor. He was always the guy who was at home on friday nights editing photos... He rarely dated anyone, didn't come out to get drinks much, and largely kept to himself. I used to think he was kind of a weirdo he seemed so reluctant to socialize. So several years have now passed since the last time we spoke, and I decided to google his name because I hadn't seen his website in quite some time. I was curious to see his latest work and to find out what happened to him. It turns out he had moved to NYC to continue pursuing photography... he has photos of Katie Perry on his website, has worked with a lot of other noteworthy names, and has really done well with his dance photography. He has clearly made it to where he wanted to be. Looking back now I think I have learned even more from him after the fact, than I did when we actually used to shoot together 6-7 years ago. He was simply unrelenting in his determination and yes a bit crazy too!!

  2. That's amazing! Glad he fulfilled his dreams! And it's great that you were able to work under such a determined photographer! :)

  3. one of your best posts yet! So spot on! I am most definitely one of those crazy people! <3

  4. Yup, couldn't agree more.

    I can't speak to the other forms of crazy, but I do believe that most humans who possess a Ph.D have a personalty disorder of some magnitude. Probably something akin to Asperger's syndrome. I speak from experience here.

    My aunt has a Ph.D in biochemistry AND a degree in law. She is one of the strangest people I have ever met. No social normalcy whatsoever. Never married, no children. She ends phone conversions when she gets bored by just hanging up. I could go on, and on.

    I also have a step-son with Asperger's. He is obsessive about anything that grabs his interest. He reminds me of my aunt although he is a tad better at making friends. They say Stephen Spielberg has Asperger's.

    This is why I fail. I am too close to being normal.