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2016 is Gone. Long Live 2016.

I really thought I would write this blog post talking about how hard 2016 was, and how happy I would be to see it go.

But the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t be brought to think of it like that.  While, yes, there were certainly things that changed for me this year– truth of the matter is – this change was something I really needed.

(Now, If you’re any kind of reader of this blog, you’ll know that I go for long periods of silence – followed by long ramblings on my page. This isn’t a business website- and more of where to keep in touch with things that are in my head.  If you don’t want to read a lot, just come back tomorrow.. i’ll have it all spelled out)

Being Truthful to Myself

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That’s Annie – She pulled me out of a world of IT management and got me back to teaching for her, when I was last miserable.. We got to see each other not too long ago..

When I think of who I am – at the core – Photographer is not the first thing that comes to my mind.  Yet, I feel like i’ve been living in a space where the value of what I do is constantly measured along the lifeline of the “amazing” photographer. For the last couple of years, I feel like I’ve walked in a sea of catch phrases, “Top Ten Things” posts, Instagram constructions, and live broadcasts talking about dumb things that don’t impact anyone’s life – much less things that people could really care about. Things that I really didn’t care about, but put up with. I swam in a sea of ideas of “this could sell” or “this’ll be viral” instead of “this could help”.  Little by little – the running of that wheel just took me further from what I find joy in. It’s this manufactured persona of a photographer – like this is something we should really strive for.  I hated that. 

Surprise!  End 2016 with a post on how what you see publicly isn’t really the reality of a situation- right?  Truth is – if you look close enough, you could have totally seen it.

I was burnt out.  Market-ed out.  I hate the entire concept of selling a lifestyle.  Its just not cool. I think that social media has a level of connectedness that I like – that has absolutely nothing to do with pushing your resume out to the world.  The whole gerbil wheel that comes with the whole ‘public photographer’ thing had run its course. I think people have a really good radar for that kind of bullshit. 

Covered in flies, I sat and thought about the things that give me  Joy.  

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Teaching.

At my core- I am a teacher first.  Ever since I was a kid – I wanted to be a teacher.  I went to college to become a teacher.  I spent time in a classroom as a teacher.  That’s what fills my heart – teaching.  And here I was  doing all of this other stuff that really took me away from helping others.  The more I got away from sitting and really helping people, the less happy I was. 

If I really want to be happy – I need to just go back to teaching. But how do I do that?

Enter Fotopromos

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That was awesome!! Wait.. WHAT?!? What if I want to teach more?!?

Earlier in the year, I started working with Mia McCormick and Kevin Agren on something called Fotopromos.  The idea is actually pretty neat – take a bunch of resources and content – sell it for a fair price for a limited time.  Bring value to people that want it.  Cool – I could get behind that.,  I made classes for that, and found myself really excited about that part. However, once the classes were done for the package and the window closed for the orders – that was it.  No one else to teach to.  

I sat right back in the same spot.  Wanting to teach- and not really having an avenue where I could do that. In the process of this Mia, Kevin, and I had built our new home and got it ready to go.  I wanted to do more with it. 

(Kinda) Random Story Break – The Guy on the Plane

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I remember running into a guy on a flight to a show in NY about a year ago (i’m not saying who he is here.. but if he’s reading.. thank you!) .  I sat on the exit row, about to devour a full Publix sub when we struck into a conversation.  Thankfully, I was able to convince him to take half my sub (There’s absolutely no reason I should have been allowed to try to eat that whole thing), when he admitted that he did know who I was, what I did, and that he was a member for a while, but left after not having anything that interested him,

Apologizing for the ill fitted analogy (cause he’s an AMAZING photographer and totally didn’t need us… ), I told him that there was no need for him to feel bad – that it was important that he go out and make his mark. 

I told him – I’ve always viewed myself more like a Kindergarten teacher than anything else… 

I have students.  They come into the room.  I teach the things that are necessary to get out there and do great things.  We get to the end of the semester. I pat them on the back and say “Go do amazing things” and they move on.   

I don’t sit around wondering if the student is going to light candles for me, buy my t-shirts, sign up for the super exclusive come have tea with me experience.  My job was to teach.. and it was done.  If they visit the classroom and say hey – I’d love to see them.  

But I did what I was supposed to do. A quick pat on the back and I get ready for the next class.. 

I knew what I had wanted to do all along.. I just needed a little bit of silence from all the noise in my head (and a bit of woodworking) to remember…

So i’m off to go Teach..  not Preach…

 

 

 

4 comments

  1. It’s encouraging to watch someone find their way in the world rather than stagnate. Good luck, have fun, and press on.

    I am guessing there are plenty of people like myself that lurk and absorb so keep us updated and know that your ongoing story could serve as a kick start for someone to initiate change or as a waypoint for others who are drifting.

  2. You my friend are one of the most passionate teachers I’ve ever had the privilege and honor of meeting and I have met many of them. Thankful and blessed to call you a friend and ever so happy to see you going back to your true passion in life.
    Once a teacher always a teacher!

  3. RC, I wish you and your family the very best in 2017!! I’ve had similar struggles of late … That is being in a formal college situation learning photography. I put myself there and realizing now that is not what I expected or wanted. I invested thousands of dollors for little return.

    I work with kids at a summer camp, and I have been thinking about teaching those with special needs video and animation. As it could provide them with jobs in areas such as game design among others.

  4. Wishing you the best and we appreciate your honesty. Been following you since photoshop world etc . You’ve always been an amazing teacher .

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