Finding Your Voice
Artists often talk of "finding your voice". Why does this important? If we can identify our strenghts we can focus our efforts, and develop coherent marketing. This is a story we tell ourselves about what we were meant to be.
For three years I worked to built my reputation as a portrait photographer, but reading Cash Flow for Creators, led me to realize that this goal was not even a viable as a hobby. The exercises in the book provided the basis for not only honestly evaluating more than the economics of this endevour. It was the push I needed to face the fact that my ambitions were unrealistic.
Most of the time my youngest daughter Eden is happy to model for me while I take some test shots, but if nobody else is around I'll set the self-timer and take test photographs of myself. More than once this year I was dismayed at the signs of distress I saw in these self-portraits.
For years I suffered from a condition in the winter that causes sharp pain on the surface of my skin. On top of this I seem to get sick easily, and am slow to recover. The active engagement of taking portraits requires a basically healthy body.
As a Systems Administrator and Relational Data Architect I have, in a way, marketed myself successfully. I market myself by writing technical articles and diligently maintaining software that improves the effectiveness of others in my field.
My wife observed that "social media" is still very important. To make my endeavor work, it seems I would need to adopt popular "platforms", which is an experience I would loathe. This is another clue that I have the wrong personality for the job.
The hardest evidence to face is that my approach was not interesting to very many people. I had to realize that the problem was not my pricing. My disposition seems not to communicate a kind of easy relatability for this task.
Portrait photography is a synchronous task, and requires flexibility in scheduling. This means that the time of year, time of day, and location all have to come together. This requirement that is fundamentally at odds with my career and my time with family. Allocating fixed time in this way not sustainable.
As long as film photography exists I will be trying my hand at it as a craft. From what I have learned, I now know that in my remaining days photography must be
- Without deadlines (as I am able)
- Appreciated by nearly everyone who visits our home
- Part of our life as a family
I have already been doing this! This describes my experience of making prints of our pet rats. My wife identified this as ratical photography.