Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The End of My (Barely Begun) Photography Career

I got my camera back in March 2006. An Olympus EVOLT E-500. Not a serious professional camera by any stretch of the imagination, but it was better than the Nikon point-and-shoot I had been using before. It came with two lenses: a 14-45mm (not wide enough to be a useful wide angle lens) and a 40-150mm (not powerful enough to be a really useful zoom). It wasn't professional, but I made do with it, and a lot of people never knew I was only using a cheap entry-level SLR. For almost three and a half years I shot exclusively with it. I could never afford to buy any other lenses, so everything was shot with the two lenses that came with it. And I was never able to afford to buy another body as back-up. I always knew that if something happened to it, my photography efforts would immediately die -- end of story. Last weekend, the 40-150mm lens (which I use for about two-thirds of my shooting) went belly-up. All I have now is the 14-45mm. That's not enough to keep pursuing photography. I have a shoot lined up for this Sunday, and I'm talking to a few people about other shoots. I should be able to finish those shoots using just the 14-45mm lens, though it will be limiting. But I'm going to wind things down after completing the shoots I'm already discussing and planning. I can't afford a new lens, and I certainly can't even DREAM about replacing the low-end, aging Olympus with a more serious camera. My only digital camera is dying, and so my photography career dies with it. Photography is for wealthy people -- or at least people who are making a profitable living. My girlfriend, a model who has recently been catching some serious good breaks, recently did a shoot in Seattle with somebody who has a $50,000 camera. That's unimaginable to me. I can't afford a modern, more serious camera; I can't even afford to replace the lens that just died. Photography is for the affluent, not the poor -- regardless of passion, and regardless of talent. Talent and passion can't buy you a new camera or replace a broken lens. I could have been professional, but I needed a business partner. With my full-blown ADD, I needed somebody else to handle the task of promoting my work and contacting clients, magazines, ad agencies, and such to sell my work and commission shoots. It would have been lucrative for me and the business partner, but nobody saw the potential or cared enough. I guess nobody believed in me as much as I believed in myself -- and maybe they were right. So now, my photography career is dead before it really got started. So I'll now wrap up the last shoots that are in the works, struggling through them with just the 14-45mm lens, and then I'll just put the lights away, dismantle the backdrop support and put it in the closet, and turn away. I just hope these last few shoots can be really outstanding, because I'd rather go out with a bang than a whimper. I leave you with a few of my favorite shots from my career. Thank you to all the models who worked with me. I am grateful for the opportunity to photograph you.

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