Why Following Your Heart as a Photographer Will Lead You To Your Ultimate Success
If you have been following me for very long, then you know that I tragically lost my daughter Abigail on April 15th of this year.
As I continue to grieve and work through all of these range of feelings and emotions, sometimes I get a very strong feeling that I feel like I need to share because I want to be able to help as many people as I possibly can while I can.
One of the things that Abby taught me was the importance of following your heart because we truly don't know how long we have before we won't be here any longer.
The morning of April 15th probably seemed like any other day to Abby as she went to school and there was no way to know that she would never make it home that day. This is how fast life can be taken away from anyone, and when we least expect it.
If you have been following me for very long, then you already know that I have been crazy passionate about flowers, and especially wildflowers for as long as I can remember. Abby loved flowers too.
For many years, I invested a lot of time with my 8x10 large format view camera photographing all kinds of flowers and making very large handmade silver gelatin fine art photographs like the ones you see in this article.
In fact, one of the core reasons that Tim Jr. and I bought the remote land in the Ozarks and built our small cabins and darkroom off the grid back in 2015 was because I had such a strong calling to be immersed in nature and have the time and opportunity to deeply focus on making world class large format silver gelatin botanical prints.
Tim Jr and I went on and built a greenhouse the next year and then focused the next two years on photographing flowers that we grew on our land and in the greenhouse.
In the age of all things digital, that probably sounded like a crazy idea to many people. I can't tell you the number of times that I doubted myself and questioned if I was just wasting my time.
I had world-renowned artists and photographers candidly tell me that my work was beautiful, but it had a limited market.
I ultimately let the pressures of the world get the best of me and derail me from my original passion and vision.
I share my story with you because I hope that I can help inspire you to stay true to your vision and continue to follow it to the end, even in the face of failure and lack of financial success.
Because of financial pressure and the negative voices in my head that my work would never be successful, I started to build my analog photography video workshops, in an effort to pay the bills and allow me to keep working as a photographer.
The workshops and guidebooks have been wildly successful and for that along with the many friendships I created along the way, I am very grateful.
During this time of deep reflection and soul searching, I realized that I got off track from my original vision and mission and it is time to get things back in order again.
As a creative person, it is so easy to get distracted or chase the next project. It is easy to listen to the negative feedback, especially when it comes from very successful people.
I have made the mistake of caving into the negativity, but I am here to tell you that you don't have to make the same mistakes that I have made and even if you have allowed something to derail you, I am here to tell you that you can get back on track.
I write this article today realizing that I need to get back to my original plans and follow my heart.
I have no idea if my large format botanical fine art prints will sell. I have no idea if people will appreciate or value them and I have no idea if anyone even cares about any of this.
But I do know that I need to keep creating my large format botanical prints because it is what I am supposed to be doing.
We are launching a brand new YouTube channel where I will be bringing you inside our new darkroom and sharing our projects and creating new tutorials for you. If you could help support us by subscribing today, this will allow us to start doing live broadcasts when we get to 1,000 subscribers.
I realized something very important and I want to share it with you.
I know that I need to keep creating my large format silver gelatin botanical prints, even if it means that I need to make a living doing something else.
Nothing is permanent, and even if that happens, it doesn't mean it is forever.
We all dream about being successful at doing what we love, and that would be wonderful if that does in fact occur.
However, I have realized that I need to stay the course and continue to create what I love the most and possibly, if I am fortunate enough one day, art buyers and collectors will appreciate and value my work so I can continue to create.
Even if that never happens, I am committed to my vision and this is the entire point of my message to you today.
Stay the course and follow your dreams as a creative person no matter what the current results might be.
Even if I am never financially successful with my large format silver gelatin botanical prints, I still consider myself fortunate and successful because I was able to do the work that brought joy to my heart and inspired me to continue working.
Following your heart and knowing that you are doing what you were called to do is the ultimate success.
My Winter Tulips 2013 was the first large format botanical project that I took seriously and I continue to enjoy making these silver gelatin prints to this day.
Scroll down to the comments section and share your thoughts with me.
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Hi John, thanks for your message and kind words. I appreciate it. I am looking forward to exploring new styles and approaches. I plan to plant a lot of new flowers at the new darkroom and the new house over the next few years. Now, I am also close to several sources for flowers in the meantime as well as an endless supply of wildflowers in the spring and all the way through to fall. Stay in touch.
I think your flower photography is great. I purchased the series on floral photography from you and have benefitted a lot. It isn’t easy to get good results with flowers but you have a very clean style. I really appreciate your teaching over the years, they have been a great encouragement to me.
Hi Brad, thanks so much for your thoughtful comments and for your support. I also subscribe to the notion that most people really don't care, and I finally let go of that and now do the work for myself first and if I happen across others that appreciate it, that becomes a bonus. I have never felt more free and I think my best work is in front of me. Stay in contact and keep me posted on your projects because I am definitely interested in your work.
Sorry for your lose. I can’t imagine the sorry you feel. I can fully understand you losing your way with regard to doing anything and everything. Hopefully you can get back on your feet as time passes.
With regard to photography i shoot 8x10 mostly landscapes with that camera and everything else with a Hasselblad. I have struggled over the past year with the idea that no one gives a shit so why bother. I mostly produce beautiful contact prints. I love them but I also don’t get any support other then these are beautiful. My photo buddies appreciate the work but the general pubic not so much. I keep saying they don’t know what there looking at so no wonder. It’s not a cell phone happy snap. I go through these slumps from time to time until I get the urge to shoot again. The problem with that is I only shoot about 4 times a year. The rest of the time I’m fighting depression. It sucks! I’m involved with social media which I have a love hate relationship with. Always seeking other people approval in the form of likes and followers which has had a very negative effect on me. With what you wrote you’re not alone. I totally feel you! I keep telling my Kids there going to inherit some beautiful portfolios. There response is slightly disappointing. I keep reminding myself that I do it because I love creating and mastering my craft. I have keep moving forward regardless of sales, likes and followers. I keep trying to convince myself to keep doing what gives me pleasure. So with that i bid you farewell and keep moving. Try to involve yourself with your friends more. Being alone all the time leads to thinking to much. Trust me it’s true! Take care!
Tim, I have followed you, and have learned from you. But I haven't been attentive lately. So many distractions online. I am so sorry for your loss of your daughter Abigail. We recognize that loss is inevitable, but when it comes in unexpected ways it just takes our breath away. Takes so much away.
I'm glad to hear you are returning to your passions, and it is an inspiration to us all.
Peace to you and your family.
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