JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 02.09.19

Visual Week In Review_020919

I realized something I am this week has a name.

I realized I’m a bifurcator.

A bifurcator is one who juggles the work-for-pay (i.e. the day job) with the work-for-love (i.e. that which we are passionate about).

I had this realization this week while reading this article over on Aeon. I toil at my day-job and pursue this photography passion after hours (or sometimes during hours if it all lines up.)

I use the word “toil” lightly, though. All things considered, I have a really good job – it’s afforded me the ability to travel to places I never thought I’d work with, to work with other creatives on a fairly regular basis, to be creative (to a degree) in my own right.

For a long time we all lived on my salary, and you can turn your nose up at that. Now my wife’s personal training business is booming, so it’s nice to have additional income.

So, overall, I can’t, and don’t, complain too loudly. But it’s part of the reason why I shake my head when I hear some folks on the internet proclaiming loudly “You have to follow you passion! Go all in if you want do what you want to do! Then you’ll never work another day in your life!”

Once we’ve gotten to a certain age, we realize that’s not exactly true. Even the dream job still becomes “work” after a while. We’ve probably all seen those pie charts of how much shooting a pro photographer actually does. Not as much as you’d think. All the other incidentals make up the full pie – the hustling for work, the pay of taxes, the paying of assistants, of backing up the already shot work, the buying new gear (be it lenses or computers) to do what they do to the best degree.

Of course, “work” is part of anything we do, even if it’s for fun. But this idea of “should I give it all up to pursue my passion”, while a romantic idea, surely can’t be done by everyone.

And then there’s this paragraph from the above article that hits close to home, too:

But moonlighting is undoubtedly an uncomfortable business. By dividing finite time and energy between two endeavors, bifurcators inevitably feel they aren’t doing either as well as they could. Day-job colleagues might sense that you’re not all there; family, who were supposed to be a decisive part of the equation, find themselves outside it; and the moonlit passion is itself cramped by distraction and fatigue. You don’t get two careers for the price of one; you get half and half. That uncomfortable feeling of two half-failures is the essence of compromise.

I’m sure many of us have been on this road as well. I know I have been (and probably still am.)

Maybe the gods are tell me something this week. In addition to the AEON  article, I read another similar one on this topic as well. Unfortunately, I can’t find it right now but the gist was there.

I don’t see things changing on my end. My day job, my good job, the job that more than adequately pays the bills isn’t going anywhere. I may shift my focus within it at some point, but that’s my sleeping dog and I’m letting him lay.

But when the chance arises to make some cool pictures, I’ll be out there shooting. Sometimes, I may get paid for it. Sometimes, someone may buy some prints.

But most times, it’ll be for the love of the passion.

And I’m OK with that.

Or, at least, I’m getting to be more ok with that.


What I Read This Week: I started Edinburgh Twilight. I put down Graham Greene’s The Quiet American. Gave it about 100 pages but just wasn’t getting into, even though I really like GG.

What I Watched This Week: Generation Wealth

NY Times: The Unseen Outtakes from Robert Frank’s The Americans

NY Times Lens Blog: Bob Marley by David Burnett I remember once sitting across the table at dinner with Dave and him telling me about this shoot.

The New Yorker:  Priya Ramrakha’s Brief, Heroic Life as a Conflict Photographer, in Africa and Beyond

Video: Attitudes are caught, not taught.

“A photographer’s main instrument is his eyes. Strange as this may seem, many photographers choose to use the eyes of another photographer, past or present, instead of their own. These photographers are blind.” ~ Manuel Álvarez Bravo (February 4, 1902 – October 19, 2002)

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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4 thoughts on “JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 02.09.19

  1. Ok. I used the reader mode of Safari to read the article.

    “You have to follow your passion! Go all in if you want to do what you want to do! Then you’ll never work another day in your life!”

    I used to believe that. Then I met artists/photographers who produced excellent craft but were always worried about paying the bills, so they took less desirable work to keep food on the table. I believed until my clients all decided that web application development was now worth 50% less than before (2001). I pivoted toward cyber-security (2003); less creative but the pay is better. As a security architect, I get to exercise my creative/engineering side and build things; at least on paper.

    I still struggle with the yearning to return to web development but … I have a mortgage to pay, kids to put through college, etc. I try to fill the void by working on web projects for local non-profits and personal projects.

    I think the people making these sort of statements are people who sacrificed family relationships. They went “all in”.

  2. I read the Aeon article and think the last paragraph is the most important. Many of us have been lucky enough to have accomplished that balancing act. Others (like me) are still working on that act every day. In the end, those that found the right balance will have a greater legacy than those that pursued only their passion and nothing else.

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