Chase Jarvis is a great photographer, filmmaker, and more. Most of all, I appreciate him because he’s reached a point in his career where he says that his personal goal/mission is to share his insight and knowledge in order to “make the world a more creative place.” That’s pretty awesome. He produces and hosts a 90 minute web-based talk show entitled, Chase Jarvis Live. He conducts a very open interview with one of his favorite artists and they share and recount experiences from their life, profession, and creative journey.
In an interview with writer, world-traveler, Chris Guillbeau, Chase said something that rang home. Paraphrasing:
“There needs to be more education, knowledge and resources available for people who desire to change careers. Going from ‘this is what I have to do,’ to ‘this is what I want to do’ should not be so difficult.”
I could not agree more. I’ve mentioned it a few times but when I first started photographing, I was working in a hotel. I presented myself with the challenge (and it’s still a work in progress) from wanting to go from the Hospitality field into Photography/Film. To be honest, without telling too much of a sob story, it was a mess.
I am the poster child for “here’s how you don’t do it.” I can tell you exactly how...not...to go about a major career change. But I like my journey, I’ve liked the ups and downs because my experiences can hopefully be insightful/helpful to someone else looking to make a career/life change. All of that said, it’s time to talk about the wonderful, Erika Sanchez. Erika was my manager while working at the Stamford Marriott Hotel and Spa.
I boldly stepped up and said to everyone, including Erika that I was going to become a professional photographer and she was supportive. She understood the age/place I was in. She could have easily said, “Oh, you’re not 100% committed to this job and career anymore? Ok, you’re fired.” But she had sensitivity and patience. She always said things to effect,“Who am I to hold you back from chasing your dreams?”
Furthermore, she even gave me advice on how to go about starting Photography. I had been working for her for about 8 months. She understood and called out my personality:
“If you sit back and think, ‘I’m going to save up $10,000 for this camera or that lens before you start doing it, you’re never going to do it…
Do what you can do.
…If you can buy a flash, then buy a flash...”
And there it was. Exactly what I needed to hear. “Do what you can do” became my personal mantra and call to action. I could buy business cards, so I bought them. I could post a few images to Facebook, so I posted them. Then it grew larger and became, I could buy a new computer, so I bought it. Icould buy a new camera...
Doing what you can do = progress.
By doing each little thing that was possible and available to me, my life completely changed for the better. I owe all of my success to,“do what you can do.”
In the spirit of her support, Erika asked me if I would be interested in doing a set of family portraits for her. We met one afternoon at Tilley Pond Park on the edge of Darien and Stamford, CT. Very artistic in her own right, Erika told me beforehand, “Black and white. I want them all in black and white.” It was a great idea. After that, the family’s innate love, sweetness and sensitivity towards each other took over. I could feel it from the other side of the camera, the moments were so tender and comfortable. Regarding the last image in the set: though it is a common portrait or engagement image, to have someone look back towards the camera as they are walking away, this moment was 100% real. I didn’t ask him to do that and he just...did it. Good job, little man.