#photographerproblems number 143: I was once asked the question by my old boss, Rodney Smith, what do you want to do with photography? As I sat dumb founded I hadn't a clue. At the time I shot primarily on a small rangefinder, much like a Leica and considered myself to be a street photographer, who loved a good concept shoot now and then.
Shooting outside adventure never actually had crossed my mind. Sure, I loved climbing, hiking and the outdoors then, but I loved it cause it was an escape from my norm. In college, I ended up producing a show that had everything to do with those film images. It was titled life eternal: an exploration of the everyday mundane. An observation of the world as so many views the day to day. It was photojournalism in the fullest. I had found my calling. I had finally answered the question Rodney had posed, or so I thought. As I enrolled in my master's program, I longed to continue the development this style, yet life has its plan for us all.
The master's program didn't work out, and my wife and I ended up back in Wyoming trying to figure out the next step of life. Being back to where I called home after years away sparked a new side of photography. Documenting adventures. The images took on new life, compared to the mundane, yet the skills and techniques I had previously learned came into play, more than I could ever imagine. Real stories came to life and needed to be told. Real adventures. Life was good. However, opportunities arose for me to become an art director, and learn, even more. Commercial photography was my new path. Retouching for hours upon end, producing high-end shoots, and working with budgets I had only experienced in New York. I had found my calling once more, and the pay wasn't bad either. The funny thing is, life has its ways of an upset, and I found myself once more back out in nature, documenting the real stories.
As much as I want to answer Rodney's question with a straight answer, I don't think I'll ever be able to. Yes, some may say documenting adventures is the calling, I'd have to say, it is for the time being, but each of these turns ends up playing out for the big picture. The one to where all these skills I've learned come into play, and that, Rodney, is what I want to do with photography. I want to continually grow and become better, never getting set on a particular style or technique.