I make photographs. Seems like a simple statement of fact.
I make photographs for myself, and I make photographs for others. Some of those others are clients, and some are friends.
But here is where it gets sticky. When I make photographs for myself I don’t have to give a damn about what anyone else wants. My responsibility to myself is to express how I see the world and present those images as a truth, my truth.
When I make photographs for others my responsibility is to communicate with whomever is asking me to make the photographs and find out what truth they want to see, and find a way to make that truth a photograph. Inevitably a considerable amount of my own truth will be interspersed into theirs.
Hopefully whoever is asking me to photograph for them has taken the time to look at the photographs on my website, both the commercial work and the personal work, and they have hired me for my vision of the world, and not just because I know which button to push on the camera.
It seems that most of the people who want me to do work have done this bit of due diligence and know what they’re getting into when they call or email. Visually what I do will be consistent across the board. What you see is what you get. My days of being a chameleon are over.
What I will do though, is listen to whoever is asking me to work and weave their truths into mine and come up with an image that makes them happy, and doesn’t make me cringe.
There is a great challenge in trying to strike that balance between what they want, and how I see. I relish the opportunity to go out on a daily basis and do my best to find that space where it all comes together.
One thing I don’t try to balance out though is to try to serve two bosses at the same time. My responsibility to my client when I am shooting for them is absolute, as is my responsibility to myself when doing personal work. Attempting to make both happy will only result in mediocrity, and that makes no one happy, ever. Trust me, I know, having tried it for a number of years early in my career. I was dense and it took me a while to figure it out.
Photographs I make for others will never make it into my personal set of images simply because I see them as compromised. Not that doing work for others is bad, it’s good actually, but my motivation was for the client, and that is how it stays, in my mind and in my portfolio. However, what works for me may not and probably does not, work for you or anyone else, nor would I expect it to.
We all have to find our own road, and that’s the beauty of it all. Enjoy the journey.