I wrote a post at the start of the year over on my JMP blog, about not writing a “Best of 2012” post. I’d done some reasonably good shit in 2012, but I was obsessed with looking forward to 2013. I was getting some kick-ass weddings lined up, I was actually on the way to hitting targets, my business was growing.
I’ll be honest, I was insanely confident about 2013. I was all “BRING IT, BIIIIIIIITCH!!!!!” I felt strong; I felt like I was actually going somewhere, for the first time ever.
And then 2013 was underway. And it was fucking surreal.
Shit was real.
I lost a couple of weddings, but instead of that being that, they asked if I was available for other dates instead. They still wanted me to shoot their wedding. I booked in stuff at stupidly short notice; one couple booked me three weeks before their big day. Another couple are getting married in 3 weeks; they booked me 2 weeks ago. Another couple jiggled their dates with the venue as I was booked on their first choice of wedding date.
I worked on my new brand; my big, fuck-off, in-your-face logo which ironically, I knew many wouldn’t like. And yet, I still love it more than anything. The people who didn’t like it, I found I was surprisingly unbothered by their opinions. And even better, the people telling me they too loved it, are the people whom I would love to work with. I had found my style.
Official tog for a MAJOR and very unique wedding show in Birmingham? With impromptu fashion show, dress shoot and suppliers requests? You bet your fucking ass I’ll take it. Way harder than any wedding I’ve done yet, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
And, AND, people were booking me based on me and MY work, not coming to me as last resorts or asking me to “do them a deal”. They wanted me for me and who I am, what I do, and they seem to love that. They seem to appreciate that. A recent Kent wedding sealed my confidence in that.
What. The. Actual. Fuck.
One of the strangest things is that my confidence in what I do, in my photography, has also grown. I’ve reasonably big balls when necessary; restarting blogging here was testament to that for me. And whipping out my bollocks in the photography industry seems to be working to my advantage way more than I thought it would.
It’s a fucking scary thing to do, because it’s an industry full of ridiculously opinionated people. Full of people who know way better than me, and people who know shit less than me. People who are all convinced that what THEY are doing is the best thing, and that it is what EVERYONE ELSE should be doing.
Ohhhhhhhh ho ho ho, dudes. Nope.
When I slap my balls on the table with my opinion firmly attached to them, I’m doing it with a view to what’s best for ME. Not you. to a degree, I don’t care much for what anyone else is doing. The only time I’m interested is when I know there is genuinely something there for me to learn. Something to bounce off, something to help me give back to the rest of the world. And right there, is why I’m starting to OWN 2013, in the way that I WANT.
The most recent proof comes in the form of an impromptu photo shoot with one of my favourite artists ever, Lawrence Coulson. He was live painting at Castle Galleries in Solihull, and I *cough* just happened to have my 5D Mark iii in my bag.
“So, hi Lawrence! Big fan of yours! Yes we have a few of your paintings in our house, ohhhhh look how much my kiddos love you so yeah, uh just wondered if I could take some photos while you work?”
“Yeah hi Castle Galleries just thought you might like to see some of the photos I took the other day at your gallery yeah thanks for having us along!”
“Hi Lawrence! Thanks for your email, omg I would LOVE to come along to your big Birmingham event! Are you serious? Dude you do not need to ask me twice, FOR SURE.”
Now, to most people, the sort of stuff in this entire blog post is the same old shit they’ve been doing since time, and is nothing exciting. However, for me, it’s fucking huge. Mostly because I spent 26 years absolutely busting my ass for the tiniest amount of recognition in the classical world, and felt like I got nowhere. It was such a fucking hideous struggle, and every damn new road was met with more bullshit I just didn’t deserve. Every time I stepped up with confidence, there was ALWAYS someone ready to punch me in the face.
And now, with the same ball-busting efforts, with the same blood, sweat and tears (and there has genuinely been all three where my career as a photographer is concerned), I’m actually getting somewhere. The punches in the face are fewer. The assholes who felt the need to leave regular steaming turds on my pathway are beginning to realise I’m taking NO SHIT.
I didn’t set specific goals for 2013, apart from those which are business related. So, hit x weddings, sort out y equipment, ensure z rates. Aside from that, I just knew I wanted to go places, do new things and help people have the best memories of the most awesome days ever. And it all seems to be happening, somehow.
Right now, I adore my job as a photographer with a passion I’ve only ever felt once before, in any other career. The feedback has blown my mind; maybe one day I will actually truly believe what people are telling me, and agree with what they’re saying about my work.
Until then, excuse me while I take this whip to 2013’s ass; I seem to have worn down the paddle.