Commentary # 14 ~ January 2008
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(Not So) Easy Come, Easy Go

January 2008

- by Craig Wassel

The New Year commenced with a disappointment, and ironically it was the result of someone else's New Year's resolution. Over the past 18 months, I had been developing a relationship with an up and coming art consulting firm. In October, I was very happy to hear that they agreed to represent my work. I was excited about the prospect of national exposure through them.

We exchanged important information over the next few weeks. They requested a photograph of a framed work, so I printed, mounted, matted, and framed one they particularly liked. On a side note - has anyone out there ever photographed a framed photograph that is under glass? Photographing artwork is one type of photography I seriously dislike, and it's probably because it's deceptively difficult, and I don't feel I am very skilled at it. If you've never done this type of photography, try it and you will quickly see just how tough it is. None-the-less, I managed to get a photograph that was decent - even with the handycap of not having my softboxes at my disposal. The consultant signed off on everything, and we seemed set.

Then came the silence.

I received no correspondence from them for the last 2 1/2 weeks of December. I chalked it up to not getting the photograph to them far enough ahead of the Holidays, and to them being busy with end of the year activities and an office move. I decided to be quiet, and patient, and polite.

Then January 2nd I got an email. It was not a good email. The short of it was that the key person at the firm made a decision that the demands of the business were having a significant negative impact on family life, and specifically the needs of a four year old child.

The opportunity I worked hard on for a good length of time was, seemingly, gone in 60 seconds. Not so easy come - easy go. I wasn't furious, but I was definitley frustrated as I thought about all the time and effort, and even more so about an opportunity that was now simply gone.

Then I stopped to realize that these kinds of thoughts are just plain selfish. What is more important in this world, my business or the needs of someone's family and children?

Then I began thinking about what else I could learn from this chain of events, and I was reminded of something I have often been asked about my photography, this site, and these commentaries. It's a second full time job, on top of being a husband and a father of three terrific kids, which leads those who know me fairly well to ask, "when do you have time for all of this?". My answer has always been the same: I make the time for it. This does not mean that I neglect family time and responsibilities for the sake of my photography, nor does it mean I think I am somehow better than others for finding time. It simply means I often give up things like watching TV or several hours of sleep on a regular basis to get things done.

I also began to think about the difference between making the time for things we are passionate about versus having time taken from us by circumstances that are beyond our control. For instance, the 4 year old child I mentioned above has special needs (by the way, the portrait on the right is not of him - I took this on a shoot of a child model earlier this month and simply liked it). My wife and I are blessed with three healthy chidren, but we have close friends who have children with special needs. I am very aware that having and loving such a child takes you from a place of "making time" for things to giving up nearly every bit of spare time and all but a few precious hours of sleep. There is no "making time", only time that is taken away, leaving little energy for anything else.

I continued to think about it would be like to keep a 2nd full time business and website going in a situation like that. Sooner or later, something would have to give. This site is not the best photography site on the web, but I think I have a good feeling how it matches up. I think about the monumental amount of hours I have spent creating every last part of it myself, and yet I know in so many ways it needs improvement. It takes dedication and determination, and very hard work.

Dedication to this site requires a bit of sacrifice in itself (though certainly not like having a family member with special needs). Not only do I give up alot of television and sleep, but also other things. You won't find my work posted to Flickr. I don't have a place on MySpace. I don't use YouTube. I don't participate in photography threads on any Google groups. Beyond the most important things in my life and the time I spend actually making photographs, this site is what I can "make" time for. I count my lucky stars I have not had the misfortune to have something take this time from me, and I truly enjoy the hard work that goes into it.

Now that I think about it, it's been a pretty good start to the New Year after all.

"Photography to the amateur is recreation, to the professional it is work, and hard work too, no matter how pleasurable it may be . . ."

~ Edward Weston ~

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" . . . I also began to think about the difference between making the time for things we are passionate about versus having time taken from us by circumstances that are beyond our control . . ."

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