Busy, busy, busy
Since I left the Day Job, people keep saying to me that I’ve “retired”, partly because that was the mechanism I used to get out. But it hardly means that I’ve taken to sitting with my feet up with pipe and slippers. When my father retired (really retired, instead of “working from home at consultancy rates”) his comment after six months was “I’ve no idea how I ever found the time to go to work”; and I do at least have that in common with his experience, even though he retired when he was 14 years older than I am now.
Some of my time, of course, is taken up with the detail of the wired world – dealing with e-mails, keeping up to date on social networking sites, checking out some key sites for leads, doing uploads to my own website(s) (and sussing out new ones, given the possible demise of Fotopic) and (now) doing this blog. I’ve taken the opportunity to try to get to grips with the house and garden (in easy stages), both of which got badly neglected when I was devoting time to the Day Job and everything that brought with it as well as pursuing my photographic ambitions and other interests. And once I made the leap, I have devoted a lot of time to both the business of photography and photography itself. Right now, I’m preparing pictures from my Polish trip for a magazine submission, and I have a full weekend coming up: shooting tomorrow for a campaign group at a local MP’s surgery, the TUC anti-cuts march in London on Saturday, which I have to bail out of early to get back to the Midlands to shoot a 16th birthday do in the evening. Then a scale modelling show on the Sunday – fortunately nearby in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
The Friday shoot is on spec, as I haven’t made personal contact with the campaign group, 38degrees, before, just participated in online polling. Saturday’s march is something I committed to some considerable time back, which is why I allowed myself to get double-booked. The evening do is a paying gig, whilst the show on Sunday is basically an afternoon out with friends from the modelling club I’ve been connected with for 25 years (Sutton Coldfield Model Makers, and I can’t link to their website as it;s another casualty of the disappearance of Fotopic – another job I have is advising on a replacement). I shall also treat that as a networking opportunity.
Lest anyone think that I’m swanning around not doing very much, I have a couple of excursions in the next few weeks which should generate me some material for sale, and I have just heard that my book deal is going through (though it needs to wait until the editor gets back from holiday). More on that later, too.
But to go back to my original topic: how did I ever find the time to go to work? The answer is, by not doing all the things I’m now doing. And given that the things I’m now doing revolve, in some way or another, around photography, then that meant that if I was ever going to make anything permanent of my photography, I was going to have to jump at some time or another; and a combination of events and circumstances made now as good a time as any other.
I’ve just finished reading a book called VisionMongers by David duChemin, a pro who shoots a lot of NGO work and who has some interesting ideas about sponsorship and funding. his basic message is “shoot what you’re passionate about” and “don’t shoot the same as everyone else if your passions take you down a different route”. He also advocates trying to carve out a new niche if there isn’t a niche market for the sort of thing you shoot already, and that’s something I’m trying to do. If you already have access to communities and specialist shooting opportunities, then use them. Certainly, that advice rings true with me. And finally, he very much encourages people to make the leap if they possibly can, because if you don’t try it, you’ll never know if you could have done it. After all, as the Other Half said, no-one ever regretted not spending more time in the office on their death-bed…