Blog

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

14-1
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.  

teaching

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

fp-done
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

img_2150

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 I 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…

Teach – Not Preach

entrance

So, we’re sitting in this studio – primed for making stuff – what prevents us from making a school?  There are TONS of places out there where you can get hours and hours (and hours) of content.  Great ones out there too.  But I want to make a school.  I want to make sure that the people that come to my class have every opportunity to -get- it.  To -learn- it.  If they want to take another class – great..  but the goal is for them to get to a point that they never have to watch the class again.

To Teach – with all of the stuff that comes with teaching..

We’re kicking the tires on the site and have had a couple of people testing now.

  • It’s small.
  • It’s clean.
  • It’s ours.
  • And (god willing), it opens tomorrow..

2017 will be just fine.  And – if it isn’t – that’s fine too..

 

 

3 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *