All in all, 2013 was awesome. It makes me that much more excited for 2014. At this point, I am pretty much full time with A Day To Remember, which is something I have never done before. It’s fun, but it gets harder and harder to constantly remind myself that this is work. In order for me to get as close as I do with the bands I work with, I also have to step beyond my work boundaries and get a tad more personal with them. I guess that’s part of the job, but it makes me pretty vulnerable; if they choose to give me the boot and move on, it’s hard not to feel a bit crushed. It has happened in the past- and it crushed me to a point where I didn’t even want to continue with photography. I always try to make the best of these situations and try not to take it personally. ADTR, however, is a bit different. We have become very close over the past couple of years, and I am comfortable putting my trust in them to keep me on for the long run if I put my time into them. We are friends, which is a nice feeling. I’m really excited to continue working with them through 2014.
Touring will continue to be my main focus this year. I like working for Rocksound and Alternative Press, but for the most part, the publication world isn’t all that rewarding for photographers. They want a lot of work for almost no $$ – typical in the music industry, and the images aren’t very genuine, a lot of the backstage images are just faked. For me, it’s not really worth the effort and was wearing me out as a person/photographer, and the last thing I wanted to do was stop with photography. I remember when I first started shooting for magazines. They would have me shoot bands who had their own photog and I would feel sorta awkward about it. I asked them why they didn’t just have the band’s own photog do it–not cause I didn’t want the job, but because I was genuinely curious. They explained that the photographers just didn’t put that much effort into it. I didn’t understand at the time. How could you be in a position where you get to shoot said band and not put your all into it? Now I understand. I want to do my best at everything I do, and in order for me to do my best, I have to love what I am doing. I don’t enjoy publication work most of the time. Sure, it can be enjoyable when I’m not rushed, and/or it’s with a band I have been working with forever. But the other 85% of the time, thumbs down emoji.
A big goal I have for 2014 is to start blogging more about my job. I feel like this past year has just been photos, which is good, but there is a lot more to my job than that. There is a lot of busy work I do every day; a lot of technical mumbo jumbo that I really don’t personally enjoy. But what I do enjoy- is showing you what I do, what gear I use, and what I do when I am not shooting–something I haven’t been doing lately. I already have a bunch of fun blogs scheduled, so definitely keep an eye out for those. In addition I want to put the “blog” back in “photoblog,” cause I miss having text to support my photos. It’s great going back to read about some of my past adventures, but it’s hard because some of these tours are like 45 days long.. and that’s a lot of text. But I am trying my best.
I met so many photographers in 2013, and in 2014 I want to one-up that. My best strategy for making shit happen is by sorta-silently trying out an idea, seeing how it goes and riding it out for a bit, then posting about it. I feel like if I ever talk about some kind of idea before I actually do it, I never follow through. I love meeting other photographers though! Especially in other countries, and then getting home and having cool photos of me working in my inbox that I never even knew some sneaky ass photographer took, like this one.
Another 2014 goal is to take some time off. When I say time off, I really just mean time to do things that are not photography related. Some good old fashioned “me” time. I imagine I’ll travel for vacation and visit friends, but I also want to start scuba diving, hiking more, and just working on being active/more athletic. I am not getting any younger and really want to take advantage of doing as much as I can, plus exercise is a great release and always makes me feel amazing afterward. Ya never know when I could break my legs or lose my eyesight or something along those lines. Not hoping for it, just saying you never know, so living in the now is where this leaves me.
Having my own life in addition to my career is proving to be much more important than I ever could have appreciated before. I mean it would nice to find a lady and spend time with her, but these things can’t really be planned. It would also be cool to have my own place to live and make it more of a sanctuary for when I’m not on tour. Simple shit seems so much more awesome when your everyday career is go go go go. Those are the kinds of things I want to have time for, on top of my touring schedule. I see too many burnt-out road dogs who do it their whole life and hate it; I want to love it for as long as I do it, and maybe that means taking it a little slower and not burning myself out like I did with photoshoots.
I still want to shoot more portraits. More than last year, and I want to make them better. 2013 was good–really good. But I want to do more, and it needs to be a daily goal, just like live and candid photos. I keep it in my head and will do it a little bit more every day. It’ll eventually find its way into my schedule.
While most of last year was great, of course it wasn’t without its challenges. I’m pretty good at leaving my emotions at the door, but sometimes things get a bit tough. It’s hard to be on the road for such long periods of time without going home and seeing friends and family, but the best thing I can do is learn from my experiences and make small tweaks to make life better moving forward. Positive experiences are celebrated, negative are turned into learning experiences that force me to adapt. I feel like Twitter is a good way to keep everyone updated on my life, but honestly, you are only seeing the positive side. Not to say the other side is negative, but I do go through rough times just like everyone else.
There is currently a guy playing guitar singing “Oooo baby I love the way” next to me and I am a hotel on the beach in Waikiki on vacation, drinking a coconutty minty adult beverage. My waitress just asked me if I am working, I told her “Yes, but I love my job”. She smiled. Smiling is good.