My new lens has just arrived. It’s a 50mm to 150mm f2.8 and it’s the closest lens I could afford to my old 135mm f2.8 Nikkor lens that I loved and used so much back in the days when I shot film. I’m going to Europe for three months in 9 days and I’m particularly looking forward to using my new lens to take photos of people on the street like I used to, years ago.
A very wise old friend of mine, the composer Edward Arteaga, once said to me, “if you want to kill your love for something, study it”.
I first took up photography when I was about 14 and for years I had dreams of working in the photographic industry. Years later when I was 30 I went to Art College for 4 years to study photography and then I went on to be a photographic assistant for 2 years to one of the best commercial photographers in Australia.
I got to see what it was like at the top of the game. Lot’s of grinding work, long hours, high stress and frightening overheads. After a while I realised that I was being turned off photography and of trying to make a living from it. In the early 1990s, I totally lost interest in photography and in particular, commercial photography. I’d come to the conclusion that it was a cosmically worthless profession and I didn’t want to be involved with it any more. I put my cameras down and didn’t take any photos for about 15 years. It’s only recently that I’ve returned to photography.
I replied, “I don’t want to do that because it would take all the fun out of it and turn it into a grind”.
Mark then said to me, “you are such a waste of talent, you’re good at whatever you turn your hands to (flattering but untrue), but you choose not to continue on with things”.
I explained that the only reason why I do any thing is because it’s the only way I can get what I want at a reasonable cost. If want a schmick cabinet, I have to make it myself.
If I want nice food, I have to cook it myself and the same goes for photography.
People are constantly saying to me, “why don’t you do, such and such for a living, you’re so good at it”. The trouble with me is that I can quite easily visualize where such things lead. In short, I know it would kill my love for whatever is that I like doing.
I don’t want to specialise, I’m a generalist.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is actually important in my life and how do I want to live to be happy. I keep coming back to Epicurus. Epicurus thought that there were three types of desires.
- Natural and necessary: Such as, freedom, friendship, food shelter and freedom from pain.
- Natural but not necessary: A big house and other luxuries.
- Not natural or necessary: Fame and power.
If you’re interested in what Epicurus has to say about happiness here’s some a good video (in three parts) by Alain de Botton.