In all honesty I am not a Spring Chicken anymore, one thing I have always learned in this journey of life, is wisdom with age. The older you get, the wiser you should become. After all my years on this planet when I rang in the new year last year. I had a very unsettled feeling, but on the surface I had been telling myself, it was going to be my break out year. Ever since moving to California I have just had that feeling that a true banner year is on the horizon. As an artist I guess that is maybe something that keeps us motivated. We work to create, and there really isn't no pay raises, or promotions. It's just all judged it seems by where you are on the spectrum in your career. I was un-nerved last year as the new year began, I couldn't put my finger on it, and couldn't figure out why, but I just had some underlying feeling that something in my universe was about to turn, and turn for the worse. a six sense if you will.
As the new year approached, and I could see my Texas Longhorns bound to play in the National Championship game I knew all wasn't going to be bad, even though I myself didn't give them much chance at all of beating Alabama, at least they were there, and would get a chance to play for the National Championship on Jan 7, 2010. A pivotal day in my life, not because of a football game, but that is the day I got the dreaded call, that my beautiful 21yr old son, had shot himself, and was dead. Up to that moment I had been through a lot of bullshit in my life. My life has always run in cycles, which I guess probably in all honesty all of our lives do, in one way, or another. My life has always been the true lapidemy of a roller coaster ride. Meaning when it's up, it is WAY up, but when it is down, it is WAY down. When I was younger I truly wished for just a happy medium, the truth is I LOVE the ride when it's up, but man when it is down, has been some times, I've wondered if I would make it. Especially, when I was younger, and ill equipped to handle the pit falls of life. Some people turn to the Bible, God, the Secret, Tony Robbins, Self Help Books. Me, I have always turned to myself in my time of crisis. Doing so has made me, I feel about as tough as nails. When I was younger it was my ex-wife, wife at the time. She was my rock. I knew when things went wrong, and bad. She would be there to help me see through it, and I was a man, and didn't want to fall apart, but there were times in my weakness that is exactly what I did, and she was always there to tell me she believed in me to get back up on the horse, and ride again. Even when all seemed defeated in my eye's. Looking back at those day's now, actually seems kinda comical, that something like losing a job, or some other life inconvenience seemed so devastating. So, the day before that dreaded phone call, with all the little hurdles in life I had actually jumped without tripping, and skinning my knees. I really thought I was prepaired for anything. Any curve ball life could throw me, wouldn't take me to my knees. WRONG!
I had been through a relationship ending after 19yrs...I mean really what could be worse than that I always assured myself, and as devastating as the end of that relationship would have been to a lot of people. Like always I turned, and looked at myself in the mirror, and I didn't say God, why, what, or how. I looked dead at myself in the mirror, and I said to myself. It's times like these that build character, it's times like these that show you what your made of. So, lets pick up move to California, start a new life, a new chapter, and see what your made of. I had not been on my own single since I was seventeen years old. So, to say at times I wasn't a little worried, anxious would be a lie, but the longer I live the more resolve, and confident I become in my own abilities to handle what ever life decides to throw at me. My Grandmother always told me *Behind every dark cloud is a silver liner*, so I have learned to ride out the storm, awaiting beautiful, and brighter days. Cycles of Life.
As heart wrenching, depressing, life changing, a single event like that is in ones life, it is the most profound strength builder of all. Making it through 2010, had doubled my resolve, my inner strength. I know now, I am very well equipped to handle what life decides to throw at me, because other than losing my other son, there really isn't anything in life, that could bring me back to that low again, and I survived my most dreaded cursed year. I really, and honestly feel like that is what 2010 was for me. It was some off the wall year, that was going to challenge my very being, and exactly what I was made of. So, when the day after Christmas I become deathly ill, even though I have always been a fairly healthy person. I knew it was my dreaded year letting me know I wasn't going to get out of the year that easy. So, sure enough I ended up in emergency surgery from a ruptured appendix....at my age? I mean my age is out of the spectrum to have to go under the knife to have a ruptured Appendix removed, but that is exactly what it was, and exactly what happened. So, never ever having any type of surgery in my life, I found myself going under the knife before I could get out of my dreaded year 2010.
I spent New Years Eve, and New Years in the hospital re-cooping. One thing I will say though, is when I was being wheeled out of that hospital I actually felt like my year of paying the worse dues of my life had come to and end. The low, was over, and now, it's time for some highs again. One thing about my life, is my cycles of life run in sequence. Meaning the lower the lows, the higher the highs, and the more opportunity presents itself to me from out of know where. So, if that rings true for me like it has in years past, than I am truly optimistic about what highs are in store for me this year, but things so far really seem to be starting out right.
I just picked up a new client which is the type of client I have been wanting every since I can remember. I am now one of the exclusive Photographers of the Millionaire's Club. Yes, the same Millionaires Club from the show on the Bravo Channel on Cable TV. I did my first shoot for them yesterday, and things went really well. I was working with a girl, who had never modeled a day in her life, and was really nervous when we started, but that is one of my specialties is taking everyday people, and making them look like models. So, I am pleased with the results.
Here are a couple pictures from the shoot & a short video of me doing my thing.
There really is nothing more satisfying to the soul than creating something you can be proud of, that you love to do, and getting paid for it.
So, even before this new year began, I had already started taking steps, to put myself where I want to be this year, 2011. Ever since moving to California I have worked jay-oh-bees *JOBS*. Just because I thought I had too. Getting over the culture shock of how expensive the cost of living is here isn't easy for a boy from Texas, so I thought no matter what I needed to have some other job to make sure the bills are paid, and I had the money to spend without worrying to much about a budget. So, I've worked a few different little gigs in bars, and what knot since moving from Huntington Beach to Long Beach. The last J-O-B I worked though wasn't a part time gig. It was very much full time. I worked as a Security Officer at the Westin LAX. Big Hotel. This job actually gave new meaning to dead end job. One, the pay was $10 an hour. Which for LA would be comical if it wasn't for the fact that, that's what I actually made. There were more than one time I went in for my regular shift which was from 2pm to 10pm, only to end up working a double from 2pm until 6am in the morning. The job however was absolutely as simple as it got. They provided you with very nice suits, and a cooked meal per shift. They didn't pay much, so they didn't expect that much out of you. So, I actually kinda felt lucky at times to work there.
I actually worked for an outside Security Firm that had a contract with Westin, so I actually wasn't an in house employ which kinda made us feel more like Mavericks than the in house guy's. I actually adore my old boss though from the outside firm. He is a Turk, Muslim, two things I didn't have much experience with when I met the guy. I stereo-typically thought he was a Russian because of his accent, today I can tell you he is by far one of my favorite people on the planet. He is good people, cut from the same cloth as myself. We are hard noise fun guy's who are young for our age who like young hot women, a little booze, and no bs, and no apologies to anyone for the way we are, or our behavior, good, or bad.
On the other hand though was his boss the in House Westin Guest Services Security Supervisor, that was a fat little pudgy man, unhappy with life itself who was the quintessential Westin THAT GUY who thought because you were working for Westin Hotels you should get down on the ground, and thank your lucky stars. It didn't matter how much they paid you, or what they asked you to do for $10 bucks an hour, you should again be so happy to be apart of the Westin family, you would never question anything they ask. You just do it!....anyone who knows me, knows I don't feed off bullshit. So, after much thought I basically told him one day after he was hounding me about some Fed-X packages to go fk himself. It wasn't in those exact words, but by the look on my face, and the sheer terror I saw in his, as I actually wanted nothing more in that moment than to punch him square in the face....He got the message, and I got the boot.
At first I was in panic mode thinking, oh, man it's back to looking for a job for me. Man, I hate beating the pavement doing job interviews worse than anything in the world, but after some soul searching, and looking at the pay from my part time job as Security for Tantalum two nights a week, on Friday, and Sat night. That's right when I had the Westin gig, I had two *JOBS* the difference with the Tantalum job is they pay me VERY well, I can order a gourmet meal off the menu, set down, and eat it. Go in at 10pm, and get off at 1:30am, and make almost twice what I would make in an eight hour shift at Westin., and they literally thank me for my service I provide them.
So, after really putting a pen to my bills, and coming up with a budget, I thought what am I doing. I don't actually need another *JOB*. I need to concentrate 100% on my photography. Instead of using it as backup, and extra income when I book shoots, I need to spend time working, and really making photography my full time job. The one thing about Westin is it drained me. I was off on weekends, but I was so sick of working by the end of the week, the last thing I wanted to do was line up photoshoots, so I actually turned a lot of people away, and made excuses why I couldn't shoot.
When I did shoot on weekends, then I was drained Monday going back to work at Westin because I had worked all damn weekend. So, losing that job was actually a blessing in disguise, and the eye opener I needed. I know more than anyone I have all the tools it takes to be self sufficient, and self employed. I have worked for myself off, and on my whole life. The one thing about having a JOB is no worrying about where your money is going to be coming from, because you show up, and you get a steady pay check. I like most people fall into that comfort zone as well at times.
This year is gonna be different. I am going to depend on me, I am getting back to basics. I have gotten set in a mode as a photographer, that I wouldn't pull my camera out of my bag unless someone was paying me. WTF, that is not why I picked up a camera in the first place. I picked up a camera, because I love taking pictures. This is going to be a year in reflection to me, a year where I put my heart an soul into my art, and share it with you for free. I am going to work on this blog, and my website making it more visually stimulating by capturing, and sharing random images of things I find interesting.
I've been doing a lot of homework, been keeping up with what a lot of other full time successful photographers are doing this day, and time. I had kinda gotten stuck in a rut, lost my inspiration, and was a little bitter, about how easy it is this day, and time to pick up a camera, and launch a photography business, but after reading, and listening to one of my favorite photographers, Chase Jarvis (chasejarvis.com) he truly inspired me with these words. Right now is the most exciting time in the history of the world to be a Creative, to be a Photographer. There are so many things we can do, we can take an image, and send it though thin air to another phone, website, blog. This is honestly the best time, to be a Photographer. That little speech, and those words truly made me reevaluate myself as a photographer, being a real working full time photographer again, and making a living doing what I love.
I've been reading Chase Jarvis blog for a few years, now, and he never ceases to amaze, and inspire me. What he has done for the Photographic community in a whole, is just priceless. So, with that being said I actually got a call late last night about a new little gig I will be starting this Sunday for a very well known celebrity. I will get to hang out at his crib for 14 day's, and I am not getting my hopes up because I have no idea where this will lead, but the possibilities sound imaginable, and I am stoked about the opportunity, and so continues the cycles of life.
If you have an hour to spare, and want some Chase Jarvis inspiration. I really suggest you watch this video. I really don't think you have to be a photographer to watch this, and find it inspirational.