Personal Work

 Nikon D800E 28-300mm VR zoom lens

Many full-time photographers shoot "personal work" which can cover a wide range of activity. From setting up elaborate images for a portfolio to my case which usually means shots I like taking that I know will have limited or no commercial potential.

I really like the shot above of the multi-coloured sleeping woman, but since I had no intention of waking her up to get her to sign a model release its difficult to see who would use it. Unless of course someone is writing an article entitled "You are never too old to rock and roll"!!

 Panasonic G5 14-140mm zoom lens

Nikon D800E 28-200mm VR zoom lens
Nikon D800E 28-200mm VR zoom lens

The three shots above are also pretty non-commercial. No matter how interesting the light or how dramatic the cloud formation, these are still regarded as bad weather shots and not a lot of people want to buy those.

 Panasonic G5 14-140mm zoom lens

 Nikon D800E 28-200mm VR zoom lens

 Nikon D800E 28-200mm VR zoom lens

 Nikon D800E 28-200mm VR zoom lens

 Nikon D800E 28-200mm VR zoom lens

Much the same is true of anything that smacks of street photography, documentary or reportage. There is not much of a market for that these days and the time when a magazine would publish some kind of photo-essay is long gone.

However for obsessive compulsive photo nuts who have somehow found a way to make a living from that affliction, like myself and the "pros" I most admire, its an essential part of our development. This desire to produce images that we like, (but usually nobody else does) when we can move outside our comfort zone and work on instinct instead of thinking about our bank balance all helps to shape who we are, what we do and in what direction we choose to follow. "Personal work" should indeed be personal and we should let ourselves off the leash now and then and indulge ourselves. We may not always be successful in what we attempt but often in later years these are the shots that we take most pride in. Taken in a spirit of honestly trying to create a unique image that sets a context to where we were, what we were doing and what we were trying to achieve. 

I've said often enough that if we don't take pictures we like, how can we expect anyone else to like them. Its important to keep experimenting, keep making mistakes. I'm always wary of people who don't change their minds, aren't prepared to fail and yes, make fools of themselves. What I've posted above aren't the best pictures I've ever shot, but then they aren't the worst either. I could gladly never set eyes ever again on some of my "best sellers" as they are so unbelievably bland as to be almost invisible. I appreciate the fact that people find them useful and appreciate the fact even more that they pay me for that use, but as should be pretty obvious by now I'm a photographer first and a businessman second and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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