Photography is quite literally the only thing I've done for a living since I was 19 years old. My first camera was a Canon EOS 10-s with standard amateur 3.5 lens'. Nothing special. However, it was *that* camera that did a good portion of my early photography work that was getting published all around the UK and landing me more and more jobs.
It wasn't until I made friends with a photographer, Scarlet, backstage at the Reef show for The Brat Awards in…. 1995? - that I made the change to Nikon.
Scarlet had seen me around at a few shows and came up to me as we were all leaving the venue to go to the after party with Reef and rather boldly asked me "where the hell [I] came from?". You see, I hadn't really 'paid my due' so-to-speak, I just kind of showed up and started shooting shows and bands and what not. Scarlet had gone to Uni for photography and worked for one of the most famous and notoriously rude rock photographers in the world - AND THEN - she was working on her own…. so she was shocked as sh*t to find me with so many photo and backstage passes. lol
The Bubbie calls it the Luck of The Irish.
In the UK we call it blaggin'….. I can 'blag' (or talk) my way into anything.
Anyhow. Scarlet was die hard Nikon and on my next trip home to America she sent me with a shopping list: Nikon N90, fixed 28mm at 2.8, fixed 50mm at 2.8 and one telephoto to 200, and SB-26 flash head. The Bubbie helped me buy the telephoto lens and the flash and my Grandma and her husband Morrie gave me $1,000 for the rest of it.
I prayed soooooo many nights to G*d that I would take good pictures - get published and keep getting hired. I worked so hard, I *tried* so hard. I never put out. I never made out. I never got high or drunk or anything….I stayed sober and used each show as a chance to network my way into that band, their management or the venue's staff. I made a lot of friends…. had a great time - saw most of Europe from the back of a tour bus and had kind of a f*cking awesome time.
I was lucky.... very lucky. I did pretty good as a rock photographer, I met every goal I set for myself - which is pretty rad. However….. touring life for a girl can be lonely. I wanted a family. The only thing I've ever wanted to do more than photography is be a Mom and have kids. Period.
When I moved back to American I started doing photography again and soon, I had a small business up and running. My clients, for the most part, incredibly loyal… which is *shocking* because at times I can be incredibly slooooooow at getting them their finished images.
Like. Painfully. Slow. Seriously. lololol
I think it's a combination of the fact that I actually *care* about my clients. Like - I really actually do care about them…. *most* of my clients become my friend and I really love that. I'm also pretty damn good at what I do… kids usually like me (a lot) and I'm reasonably priced (otherwise read as "too cheap" according to most photographers I know).
My work, my lighting and my style are very consistent. Most of my clients get around 150 images finished in three finishes….. right now I have a family who I've shot since the Mom was pregnant with their 21/2 year old- and it's over 600 images…. straight color, faded/hazy/popular color, and B&W. This way you Moms can scrapbook your hearts out in color or B&W or both and you don't need to come back to me to ask for more images in a different finish. So…people get a lot for their money - oh… and they get allll that on a DVD at full resolution for them to print however and wherever they like.
If you know *anything* about getting your families portraits done, then you know that that's kind of awesome. hahahaha
When we had the house I had a small studio there (built for me by a client), but that went with the house when we sold it. So now I'm back to doing on-location work, which I love as well. But…. long term, I'm not sure that there is enough work to keep me going as a single parent. It seems like there are more 'photographers' in every town than there are cockroaches. Which is fine... competition is a good thing - however, I'll be *super* blunt.... people generally do NOT know what actual "good" photography is.
I can't tell you how many times I've gone to someone's house and they are soooooo proud of their recent photos with another photographer (of which they are lucky to get 30 - 50 "finished" images) and they stand there and tell me how much they "LOVE" them.... when I'm standing there looking at under-exposed, dark, grainy, sh*tty images with the eyes digitally drawn on and whatnot..... sigh.
The point being - when literally *anyone* can go to Costco, buy a solid camera, built a blog and open a "studio".... it gets harder and harder to actually make a *living* doing what I love.
So I'm at a cross roads….. not only do I have to give up the career I spent the last 18 years building… but I have to give up being able to work from home. Okay…. I know - break out the f*cking violins… right? I mean there *are* single Moms who have it waaaaaay worse than that. Waaaah…. do I have to give up my cushy, set-my-schedule-work-from-home dream job…..?
It's hardly the sacrifice that many parents have to make…. right?
It's just that…. I was telling Hail Mary today - it's the fact that I was a good wife and a good Mom and in spite of where I am now - it's unfair that I had my life ripped out from under me by someone I trusted…. the wheels El Capitan set in motion are *still* rolling over me… and no matter where I am now or who I'm with: I resent the f*ck out of that. Honestly. I do.
More than that - having to give up being at home with the kids is .... brutal.
AND. It's NOT that easy to do *anything* because obviously I'll have to give up homeschooling, BUT, The Girl is not old enough to attend public school which means she will have to go to daycare. Ugh.... it pains me to type that. Really. No offense to *anyone* (the millions of people) who's children go to daycare.... it's just that I didn't choose this for me OR my kids... it was chosen FOR US. Frustration boiling....
So, it's an overly complicated problem to try to solve with money when I have to WORK full time to *make* money, but The Boy will have to go to some kind of care program after school and The Girl will have to go to some kind of all-day program.... BOTH of those will cost $$$$$$.
Sadly..... being a Mom doesn't pay in anything more than kisses and hugs - which I tried *really* hard to convince t-mobile and Aetna to accept those as payment as well...but it didn't work. hahaha
The cost of my cobra is literally breaking me…. so now I have to decide on school - and I *think* that I've decided to do a CNA1, and then a CNA2 program. The time you spend in school isn't too terribly long, the pay is decent and…. I'm hoping maybe I can find a caregivers type job? And yes… I realize that I'll be changing bed pans, but I spend a lot of my time now wiping people's asses around here… so I figure I can do it for strangers, too. lol
Starting over at 38…. not the dream people…. Not. The. Dream.
So, now, instead of telling my kids to "follow their dreams" and "do a job they love" (which they might have to give up to do that thing called 'have health care')….. I think I'm going to raise them to be good people and fill their lives with even better people… so that no matter job they have to do, or what they have to give up - the time they spend outside their job will fill their life with enough love and happiness to make up for *not* doing 'what they love'.
At least that's what I'm hoping will work for me….. lololol