Every day someone contacts me to take photos or do a video for them. I’ve said yes to almost everything, even a few unpaid projects for good friends. My savings are rapidly depleting. I don’t have time to even take care of my own endeavors but I need to do what I can to mend my bank account.
I was rehired by a former employer earlier today as a photographer; they agreed to pay my asking rate, which is over 3x what I used to make. Funny how that works. It makes me cautiously optimistic.
But I’m also worried about my career. I thought I’d be applying for jobs by now, but I still think most of it is useless since I am not yet living in the city and I’m not exactly sure when my move-in date is.
And then there’s experience… No, I haven’t worked under a photographer. No, I haven’t worked in a studio before. But I know exactly what I am doing. I need to find an employer who will weigh my portfolio over my credentials. Because I’ve done in less than two years what many photographers haven’t done in 10, 15, or 20. But if I tell an employer that, all they will hear is “less than two years.” And even then, that’s not working at a studio.
And once an employer does consider hiring me, will I be respected? As an asian female, will I be compensated as a white male with my experience and drive would? That is a priority. Forget numbers, I don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t respect equal opportunity on principle.
And after that, growth. Throughout college I’ve outgrown my jobs every year. I need a job that will challenge me and give me room to grow. Ideally I would work under a senior photographer so I can gain enough experience to become a senior photographer in 2-3 years. I cannot work somewhere that doesn’t challenge me. I’d rather be unemployed and desperately trying to live off freelance work… which is moderately doable here. In NYC I have no chance at the moment. No contacts = no jobs.
It might seem selfish and even naive to a degree to expect my first entry-level job to meet all my demands, and in the biggest city on earth nonetheless. But this is how I’ve always done things. I expect nothing but the best. I expect myself to be on the level of the pro’s. I’m not there yet, not even close. But I do a great job at making everyone else think so. You learn quickly when you compare yourself to those entirely much more experienced than you.
Then comes in… my 10 year plan. I’ve learned at an exponential level these past two years. I conquered my community in Chapel Hill first as the go-to person for video, now photos. I’m hoping this learning curve isn’t a learning curve at all. I want to keep skyrocketing, with every year a dramatic difference from the last. If I can keep this up, I can be the photographer I want to be by the time I am 30. I just need to keep moving. Goal to goal, uncompromising as I have been the whole time.
To be continued.
personal life update photographer life photographers on tumblr
Stuck in chaos, let us go from the commercial, the loud, the falsehood, the ephemeral satisfaction. Beauty in stillness awaits, life in a mute cherry blossom storm.
escape personal sakura cherry blossom japan
Matt Monath self portrait.
Tear away the skin but don’t be shocked that the vibrance doesn’t reach the core.
matt monath self portrait photography photographers on tumblr low key
Another sleepless night,
Another endless drive to find out
I’m still no one.
Got one of my friends an assistant gig with one of my beloved photographers out in LA. I’ve also helped this dude find a model before via another contact.
Hooked up another friend in LA with a buddy of mine who worked the internship she’s about to get.
So many connections out in freaking LA I guess they might as well go to use to SOMEBODY.
In the meantime, I need to up my networking skills for NYC. ‘Cause I’ve got no one out there.
crying photographer life just yanno not my life someone elses
"To Lauren, my Muse. Love Tommy"
In a weird place.
Part of me has been here before. But then there’s much that is new.
In one week I traveled from India to North Carolina, to Salt Lake City then Vegas, back to Salt Lake City, and back to North Carolina. There were many firsts there. Many limits broken. New levels of endurance for fatigue and stress were acquired. But the biggest change was one much more personal.
I remember back in January when I went to NYC for the first time. I went to see if I could live there, if I’d like it and if I was capable of functioning in such an environment. I found out I was, but I had to drag my best friend with me. I was scared of that city. Was.
I flew to a dangerous country by myself - without telling my family even. I flew to SLC only two days after coming back. In SLC I rented a car and drove seven hours to Vegas, seven hours back. Flew back from SLC. And now I’m trying to make sense of my life.
When did all of this become doable? I had some apprehension, but there was no fear. Simply, these things had to be done. I had people to see. I had my life to live. And I did just that.
Something is changing. Beloved and trusted reason is taking a back seat. There’s nothing I can’t or won’t do now. It’s concerning. Liberating. Maddening. Maddening because after everything I am not tamed.
I want more.