Posted on 9th March, 2016 - Back to Blog Listings
This time I’d like to share a personal story – a story of binging on the professional photographer lifestyle, what it caused me and what I’ve learned from it.
I became a professional photographer a few years ago, and a full time pro about two years ago. It was pretty exciting being free to pursue my art and my vision, and being an avid traveler, I soon began making more and more grandiose plans to conquer the globe, going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. To give you an idea, from October 2013 to June 2014 alone I spent over 6 months traveling, visited 10 countries in 3 continents, guided 3 workshops, scouted locations for 3 new workshops and went on 25 flights (not including helicopter flights), without mentioning the travels I had done before that. I was sure this plan – being constantly on the road shooting, doing what I love with total freedom for as long as I wish – would make me happy. Sadly, it wasn’t the case.
As any experienced person would tell you – you can have too much of a good thing. If you take your passion and turn it into something you do professionally – it could get to the point where you simply don’t want to do it anymore. Moderation is more important than most people think – even with the good things in life. I basically burnt myself out doing the thing I love – shooting and traveling more and more to the point of mental exhaustion - what a horrible feeling! I came back home not wanting to touch the camera or even travel, and this persisted for months on end. I had no idea when it would change – or even if it ever would.
But surely enough, the soul can heal. Slowly I began thinking about photography again. I still didn’t want to go shooting, but I could imagine myself doing it in case opportunity rises. Then, after 3 months without touching the camera, something came up. There was a volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, Iceland, and I started feeling the itch again. I had been nearly ‘healed’ at this point, and it felt like I needed just the right motivation to get me out of the “no thanks” mode and into the “let’s go!” mode. If I hadn’t shot the eruption, it’s very possible that the next time I’d shoot would be next year, but 3 months were enough – at least this time around.
This experience has taught me a valuable lesson about my limits and the way I perceive myself. Apparently I’m not built to spend more than a few months at a time away from home. I’m a normal guy who has a deep passion for photography, likes to shoot in nature and travel for a limited amount of time, and then go back to his friends and family at home. This might hurt my perception of myself as a nature photographer or adventurer, but being honest with myself and living in moderation will definitely contribute to my mental health and my ability to keep my career - and that’s much more important.