What's the Balance of the Role of Photography for You?

agentlossing

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Andrew Lossing
I consider myself remarkably lucky. I've been photographing since 1974, and making my living at it since 1979. All of that time, I've been passionate about making photos, like a committed amateur. I haven't lost my passion for it like so many pros that I've met along the way. It's a huge part of my life, but not my whole life either.

Like John Flores, I also ride a motorcycle. That is my little escape from making images. I used to try to do both, but then when you try to do two things at once, you do them both badly. When I ride, I revel in the beauty around me, and the sense of being in the moment interacting with the road, the machine and the world in front of me.

Whenever I leave my house, I bring my camera, but I don't always use it. I don't terrorize my family all day long either. When my kids were little, I made a conscious effort to put the damn camera down and just be with my kids. I wanted to be in the moment, and a camera makes you an observer, not a participant in what's going on. So, when I'm with family, I'm just another participant.

I go to work, and I make photos. And I go out just to make photos for myself too. Photography is a form of expression for me, where I get to let people know how I feel about what I see. I've been at it for a long time, but it doesn't define me. It's something I do that gives me a great deal of satisfaction. But then so does riding a motorcycle, or keeping a good relationship with my wife, my grown up kids, and my friends.

BTW, I've actually appeared on the EK blog:
https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2014/06/24/composition-lesson-14-square-format/ (scroll down)
https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2012/01/06/mike-peters-and-the-american-dream/ (all the links are broken, but the photos referenced are here: https://www.mikepeters-photography.com/Category/The-Dream)
Here's to you, those are fantastic images, especially without EK's scribbles all over them. Bravo sir!

It sounds like you've found a very functional balance with the different elements of life and personal expression.
 

Replytoken

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jhawk1000

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My dad bought me an Argus C-3 when I was in Jr. High and photography has been with me in some form or another since I was 13 years old. I went from the C-3 to a Praktica FX with the waist-level finder, then to a Yashica SLR. While in the service I used a 4X5 Speed Graphic for some work and a Minox for other work. I got out of the service, bought a Nikkormat FTN with 50mm f2 lens, and had fun for a while and then I applied as a sales rep for the American distributor for Nikon and work began with photography. New Nikon FTN, metered prism, lots of Nikkor lenses, and I sold to commercial accounts. Then to law school and still I sold for Nikon part-time and took aerial photos for a real estate company as they bought farmland to plat into residential areas.
I graduated and the law practice made me less of a photographer and more of a provider for my family. With success in law, came that nasty GAS since I had money and quite frankly, I had the equipment but no real desire to improve. I became a gear head and not a photographer.
I met a lady who was a newspaper photographer and who had won many AP awards and my equipment was definitely a reason she liked talking to me. Eventually, we got married and she left Canon to become a Nikon photographer because of all the gear I owned. I watched her work now as a freelance photographer and some of the art of photography rubbed off on me and I became more interested in images than cameras. She bought out a large photography lab business, changed it from film to digital, and became a pretty good large image supplier so I got my enlargements for cost and I improved each time I wasted a 20X30 on junk and she watched and let me learn.
She has sold her lab, closed her studio due to Covid and we photograph for fun now, not as often but still fun. She still does corporate photography and I often go along to hold the reflectors and help her set up. Photography as a business was not my cup of tea but she did well. Still does well and I look back over years of football photography, basketball photography at the highest levels, volunteer photography for an inner-city youth baseball league, opera and ballet performance photography, and trips all over the world including one to Romania to photograph the Jr. women's Olympic gymnastic team at Deva, Romania.
Photography has been in my life for so many years. It has brought me joy, it has made me feel artistic, I have learned from others, including some of the very best wildlife photographers in the USA. It has been a big reason for my travel all over the world.
 

Brownie

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You've got that right! I know that, currently, photography takes up a lot of my waking thought and enthusiasm, but I also know that my temperament trends toward long periods of waxing and waning with a given interest. So I'd never look to create a long term "personal brand" around a specific subject, I just know I'd lose passion for it and maybe regain it years down the road. I'm okay with the cyclical nature of my interests.
Music, photography, woodworking, shooting, gardening. How many times when I was younger and less solvent have I sold a camera to buy a guitar, a guitar to buy a gun, a gun to buy a saw. We sound very similar.
 

scb

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In recent years, I've been intrigued by the idea that all of us seek and need an outlet for creativity. Since childhood, my area of creativity was music which led to a career as a instrumental music teacher and in retirement, I still enjoy playing various flutes and guitar and am a member of a very active community band. My journey with photography didn't start until 2001 at the age of 51 when I purchased my first digital camera with the idea of using it for family and school photos. Slowly, I was drawn into the pursuit of photography as a creative art form. While I enjoy photography tremendously, especially wildlife/nature photography and travel photography, I continue to spend my time balanced (I hope) between photography, music, and my family.

It's interesting to observe that some people can be totally immersed in the pursuit of one activity and so many of the great musicians, artists, business people etc. are those types of individuals. I admire their ability to be so focused on one pursuit, and often willing to sacrifice other experiences such as family, having children, pursuing other interests, etc. But I think the larger percentage of humans, by choice or circumstance, live a more multi-faceted life. And those of us that are fortunate to have the time and financial resources are able to pursue our varied interests. How fortunate we are compared to so many people that spend all or most of their time just working to have shelter, food and the basic necessities of life.
 
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Here's to you, those are fantastic images, especially without EK's scribbles all over them. Bravo sir!

It sounds like you've found a very functional balance with the different elements of life and personal expression.
Thank you so much. I've thought about finding that balance ever since my children were little. It's so easy to become consumed by our passions that we lose perspective on what is really important in life, our relationships with those we love and care about.
 
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Nice images and nice web site. I like your style of shooting and you had some nice personal projects. Also, do you mind if I ask what you used to create the web site? It was very clean and simple, and I liked how things appeared.

--Ken
Thanks Ken!

My website is created and hosted on SmugMug. They have so many ways to present your images, it can be a bit mind boggling. It's a good idea to know what you want things to look like before you start. I've had web sites since the 80's and they've all had the same basic layout and structure. SmugMug is by far the easiest to work with for someone like me who knows nothing of html or any kind of coding.
 

PhotoCal

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January (I won't say the year or century) marks my anniversary of buying my first camera, a Minolta SRT. I still have it (refurbished a few times) but I no longer shoot film due to the waste/chemicals.

Photography launched my career ("yea, I can take pictures, too" I told the manager). I found the more I took pictures for work the less I did in my personal time.
So I've never consciously thought about the balance ... it just happened.
 

ABFoz

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No estoy listo para esto todavía.
First post here. I have been browsing through the website for quite a while but not logged in.

For me the balance of photography is the not just a hobby but a passion because of a couple of things:
  • It is an extension of my storytelling. I write a lot as a hobby. I can tell stories and insights in my writing and I can do the storytelling part, too, with my photography. I have my GM5 with me all the time and use it for my photo-storytelling. Also, my memory consists of photos and videos. The photo part is recorded in 50mm (35mm film equivalent) and it helps a lot in my storytelling both in photos and through writing.
  • Time travel. With relation to physics as a science, when a photo is captured, light is trapped/recorded, therefore in our space-time continuum, when a person views a photo, analog or digital, he/she travels back in time. I like viewing photos from the past, as they tell a lot about the time when they were captured.
  • I admire light. This is hard to explain but this is related to my memory and my storytelling. Light is present in both so while I can see the image in my memory, photography is used as a backup.
  • It is out of the box vs what I do, giving me proper balance as a whole. I am a geologist/data scientist and both disciplines are confined by strict guidelines. Photography is not confined by guidelines. Yes, there are rules but the rules are just guides. There is no right or wrong so one can freely improve. Imagine a bar chart where the x-axis is the type of photography and the y-axis is the level. In my chart, the y-axis is infinite so one can truly enjoy the practice.
It's not my only hobby, though. I also do off-road touring with my Subaru Forester and photography compliments it. I am able to go to really, really, really remote places without cellphone signal, immerse with nature and enjoy photography. Cheers.
 

Lcrunyon

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I got into a photography about 10 years ago for a couple of reasons. Mainly, I wanted a hobby that I could do with my wife. I enjoy learning challenging skills and techniques to create something, and photography (and videography) is so deep on that front. It also dovetailed with a lot of what we like to do -- travel, nature, and food. I do try to balance it out -- there are some trips we go on that are all about photography, and some where the only photography tool I might touch is my iPhone. I don't ever want photography to be a burden or take away from other things.

I don't think it should be my only hobby, after I retire and have more time for others. Passions ebb and flow, and sometimes I go months without photography. Certainly this past year has been one where I've barely touched my camera. There was a time where I hoped I could do more with it, maybe teach, but these days that seems much less likely.
 

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