One of the more memorable jobs that I have had in the field of photography involved freelancing as a printer for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. A few times a month I would drive over to West LA, take the tram from the parking garage up to the museum, and smile to myself as my employee pass would allow me to “go behind the curtain” as it were to see behind the scenes of one of the top museums in the world.
While there, I printed black and white repro prints. I would be handed a stack of dupe negatives of pieces of artwork in their collections, and would fill print orders from around the world. These images were inserted into books and used for research, among other things.
During my lunch hours, I would quickly eat a sandwich and then stroll through the buildings taking in the amazing artwork on display (If you have never been, you owe it to yourself to visit the Getty. The site is amazing – set on a ridge overlooking Los Angeles… the buildings are impressive – they supposedly emptied an entire quarry in Italy for the facades…..and the gardens are simply unbelievable. Oh, and admission is free!).
While I was touring the museum, the staff photographers that worked there would be sitting at their desks reading, or occupying the remains of their lunch hour with some other banal activity. When I asked if they had seen any of the things that I have discovered during my adventure, they answered that they rarely, if ever, ventured out to see what was on exhibition in the museum. I, to say the least, was dumbfounded….. but not necessarily surprised. The museum had simply become a job to them…..and they didn’t want to spend their free time “working”…..no matter what they were missing out on.
It was not uncommon to talk to photographers, for whom photography had simply become a job. I like to think that we all got involved in photography because it was something we loved and felt extremely attached to…..but some photographers had lost the love along the way and were simply doing it because they needed to keep the $$$ coming in.
Back then I vowed to myself that if I ever “made it” (whatever that might mean), I would remain a passionate photographer for the rest of my life…..while secretly fearing that I may not have the talent/aggressiveness/connections/whatever to actually make a living as a photographer.
What does all this have to do with a photo of some leaves?
I’ve been a photographer for around 25 years now, and I feel that I am well past that point where I might have become burned out or lost interest. I still get excited about shooting. I still look forward to exploring new places with my camera. And I still use my camera bag as my carry on whenever I fly….lest I land somewhere without a camera when something amazing presents itself.
I like to think it’s because I’m so passionate about photography…..but I know that there are other reasons that are more manufactured. Those reasons are Stock Photography, and Instagram. Stock and IG are two things that I pursue, and both help me to remain hungry looking for photographs that will either sell, or gain me more followers. My goals are to upload 1000 images per year to my stock agency, and to upload one photo every business day to Instagram.
The photo of the leaves and rain above is a perfect example of how these two things keep me excited to try new things. I had been trying to come up with some photo ideas for the beautiful fall that we were experiencing in Boston this year, and felt that simple photos of the leaves were not what I wanted….I wanted something that would hold a little more interest. Enter the spray bottle!
As I traipsed around the bushes and underbrush near our apartment, I would position myself so that everything was backlit. Then, while holding my camera with one hand I would start spraying water to get the “rain” to fall onto the leaves.
In the end, I played around for 30-40 minutes and got some fun results. I also learned a bunch about how still you think you can hold a camera, and how still you ACTUALLY are holding it (due to some amazing, but slightly soft images). The usable images supplied me with a number of images for Stock, and a week’s worth of IG uploads.
Thanx for listening!
Here are a couple of other shots from that day…..