It's all about the happiness.

No matter where you are right now in your occupational journey I can pretty much tell you that you'll never be satisfied. Work isn't like that.  You don't do the big project and then stand back and go, "Tada!"  If you are like most of us you say, "Cool.  That's done.  What's next?"  All the sturm und drang over the economy and the decimation of the photo industry mostly affects those who fear change.   And most of those who fear change are rooted into their fear by their own desires.  Bust up the feelings off desire and you break the cycle of soul decay and unhappiness.  It's like flossing.  You keep breaking up plaque deposits so the gum disease doesn't get you.

If your biggest desire is a good cup of coffee life will accommodate you pretty well.  If you must have a jet and a super model spouse and an island then desire might bitch slap you until you die.

In a post I put up several weeks ago I mentioned the Ruby Slippers.  At our core we are not photographers we're artists who've chosen, for now, to express ourselves with photographs.  The power comes from within.  Even if the media changes the art doesn't.  We just adapt to the new media.  We've had the power all along.  We just need to click our heals together and stop listening to the man behind the curtain.  We need to stop being paralyzed by the wicked witch of the west.  We need to stop looking for outside help and switch on that power.

I talk a lot about equipment but this whole game is really about seeing and sharing.  The equipment can make barriers.  The desire for equipment can make more barriers.  Just the right equipment can be transparent.  I'm migrating toward cheaper and cheaper gear because I believe more and more in my own power and less in the magic of the tool.  It's like learning to swim and slowly getting rid of the water wings.

The only real lessons I've ever learned are these:  Kindness matters.  Happiness comes from within.

Someone posted yesterday that even though I had a financially sucky year in 2009 that I was so optimistic.  Having made less money in 2009 sure gave me back a lot of my own time.  And I spent it in the pursuit of happiness.  Nice bargain, yes?

Edit:  Adding gear note:  Joe's coffee shop on South Congress Ave.  A small Mocha with whole milk.  Oh,  the camera?  That's an EP2 with an old 38mm 1.8 Pen F (film) lens from the late 1960's.


Paco said...

There is a fly on your coffee.

Awesome read. Thanks.

P.S I Also want to thank you for joining my page on Facebook, I'm honored.

- Paco

kirk tuck said...

He didn't drink too much. There was still plenty left for me :-)

Thanks for inviting me.

Martin Yeates said...

Kirk well said, at this rate you may even make the grade as a philosopher! and no, I'm being serious, thoroughly enjoyed the post keep em coming.

Gabor Gasztonyi said...

Just wondering Kirk what the effective focal length of that lens is on the EP2? Is it double at around 75mm or around 50mm considering that they were originally made for a half film frame?



Ben said...

Thanks for the desire lesson.
I'm hoping the EP2 will stem my desire for an M9... so far so good.
By the way I, almost bought an M6 years ago due to a certain somebody's reviews on Photonet. Went digital instead. Funny how desires go in circles.

Robert said...

Thats what I always say, your just so much more poetic.

AroundOmaha Photography said...

Photography today reminds me a lot of my father's farming business. Anyone can turn over some dirt, buy seeds and top notch fertilizer. They surely can! Yet the successful farmer is one who has both that ability and business smarts. My Dad is always watching for opportunities, finding tillable land and running figures in his head... and he's over 90 years old!

The technology is available to everyone but those who are successful will be "smart operators" who also have a vision. Just watch the strobist group shots that roll by on Flickr and after a while you can see who is really engaging and creating and who is merely cloning.

Add the ability to figure out not only the mechanical process, but the added dimensions of creativity and business smarts and the picture becomes pretty clear. I really HAVE to get your book on the business side. You are right on the mark with regard to attitude. Kindness and happiness matter more than tons of ability. Add work ethic to the mix and I think you have today's ruby slippers.

kirk tuck said...

I think my book, Commercial Photography Handbook, is one of two really good books on the business side of photography. The other is John Harrington's book. His is more of a reference work. Mine is a hands on narrative.......

Tom said...

Just found this blog via your Leica system review (it really has a life of its own, doesn't it?). Deeply contemplating the sources and causes of happiness is a hobby of mine, and I love your thoughts here. In the hustle of bustle of life, it's really easy to put your head down and mire yourself in the minutiae of daily/weekly/monthly tasks. One big reason I love photography is that it forces me to slow down and literally see, and if you are philosophical, this act quickly becomes metaphorical. I think you start to be able to separate what is real from what is contrived and to divide your perception into the actual and the imagined. I'm rambling . . . bottom line is that I don't see the downturn we've all experienced in the last few years as a crisis -- I see it as an opportunity. To choose another path.