I often wonder what happened to the musicians I grew up listening to that are no longer putting out music. I wonder to myself what creative outlet do the members of R.E.M. do to satiate their creativity? I need to create. I need to shoot for me.
More often than not the jobs that pay the bills are very unsexy. Photos of regular people doing regular stuff. Photos of realtors and lawyers and houses…behind the scenes shots for networks and brands. I don’t share those photos because I don’t find them interesting or inspiring. They are part of my job and an ends to a means but they don’t fulfill me creatively. I get the opportunity to shoot them because of my skill and experience.
Over the past couple years I have had to stray to less conventional ideas to get my creative fix. Although there may not be any commercial value to me shooting experimental ideas it provides value in so many other ways. Yesterday was one of those shoots where it was just for shits and giggle based on an idea that was interesting enough that some friends wanted to help out. The simple concept was a dancer in the desert dancing in giant plumes of smoke. This idea developed after a handful of shoots with small smoke bombs. In the bigger-is-better mentality yesterday’s shoot involved distress smoke signals that burn for three minutes.
Two friends shot video and after a cursory look at the footage and photos I felt energized knowing that we had an adventure, made some great imagery and all left with a sense of creative fulfillment. Before I left the investment bank while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life a friend asked what I would be willing to do at 4 AM and do for free? Here’s the answer. This is why I shoot for me. I made zero dollars. I left the house at 5:30 AM on my day off. My friends and the model made zero dollars. I blew through about $300 in smoke bombs and smoke grenades and shot a roll of film that will cost me $75 to see what I shot. It was all worth it.