I don’t know what I’m doing these days. Things seem off.
All I can think about is if I’m fulfilled or not.
If being fulfilled is paying the bills by doing what you love, what do I love? Well, in short, I love photography. But, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
People in Los Angeles love to talk about their profession. Sometimes that’s all you end up talking about with new people. It’s dull. Maybe I moved here at a time in my life where that’s what is on everyone’s mind, or maybe it is really this region specifically. Regardless, it’s frustrating.
Let’s say I meet someone new, the whole situation (99.9% of the time) will unfold like this:
New person will introduce himself or herself, or vice versa.
The normal greetings and responses will happen, and then, BOOM!
“So, what do you do?”
When I answer, without fail, the follow up is always, “What kind of photography?”.
I get fucking anxious.
Here we go again.
I always reply, “Everything.” -which is never enough. The conversation always stays on topic. “Well, like what? What do you like to shoot?”
Fast-forward to about two minutes in and I’m dancing around the fact that I’m a pretentious cunt, but I rarely get to be one for a living.
I’m hearing myself rehash the exact same conversation I have had many times over. I’m ready to blow my fucking head off.
I get bored. How are they not? How is this not the most boring conversation anyone has ever had in the history of language? Aren’t they as bored as I am? Why don’t we talk about something new? Something else.. anything else. AM I THE ONLY PERSON SICK OF HAVING THIS SAME FUCKING CONVERSATION?
I get it, though. Most people like what they do. It’s an easy conversation. I suppose it’s interesting to learn things about new people, and profession is a safe bet. It's a socially acceptable topic that guides the conversation in a familiar arena. But if I’m bored of hearing myself, aren’t they bored of explaining to me what they do? Because of course I have to ask... other wise I’m the asshole.
The truth: Most of the photos I shoot aren’t gratifying, fulfilling, thought provoking or beneficial to anyone or anything. Well, they definitely help a client promote themselves or their products... but I’m most likely contributing to the over saturation of imagery and content that exists in our world. Content that is essentially meaningless.
Am I a Kardashian?
I understand I have no grounds to complain, but I will, for my name is Matthew Complains, of the house Unsatisfied, first of his name.
I love making things that matter. I love creating things that have a purpose, or speak upon real issues. I love conveying my ideas and what I would like the world to be through the lens of my camera. It is my most powerful voice, and my trade. But, most of the photos I take (maybe 99%) are filler content. They are made for the purpose of gaining a buck, and they serve their purpose... but they aren’t real. In fact, marketing in 2016 is essentially palatable imagery (video, stills, graphics, text, whatever) that people can relate to. It’s moved entirely to content creation with the goal of trying to get consumers to think they need whatever the product may be. It is massively successful and shows no signs of slowing down.
(Insert your Ad Here)
They may look pretty (objectively), they may look original (highly unlikely), they may even be saying something ("buy this thing"), but they are never beneficial to the overall human condition.
The kicker: I’m good at that! My creativity allows me to take the concepts and ideas a company or an individual may have and turn that into imagery that successfully conveys their message. Which, again, is always somewhere along the lines of: “Buy this thing.”
I get it... I feel your collective "Ugh's". When it comes to creating things: I’m idealistic, pretentious, and slowly approaching bitter.
So what do I want to say? Will people give a shit? Are my ideas as meaningful as I so arrogantly think they are? Do I actually offer anything of substance?
I think so.
So why don’t I do that?
I could list a billion reasons for why I shouldn’t, but it can be summed up very easily: Fear.
If I put my heart and soul into creating something, there’s a real world chance that upon looking at it, people will think “This. Is. Shit.”
Am I ready for that?
P.S. I don’t mean I want to quit doing what I do for an income.
Despite the bitching above, I am thrilled I get to use my camera for a living.
I’m good at it.
I just haven’t made things that are meaningful to me personally in a very long time.
It weighs on my soul.
Keep hiring me.