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A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO BECOMING A FREELANCER

12.02.2010

I feel like I’ve been training my whole life for this moment.

I don’t know if that statement is all that profound, but the thought came to me the other day, so I’m running with it.  I’m on this new, exciting path, and everything I’ve learned the last 30 years has been thrown into a tasty creative stew.  We all take our past experiences and move forward, right, so maybe it’s supposed to be this way.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

For 30 years, my professional focus has been fairly singled minded…being as good as possible at being a newspaper photojournalist.  I always figured I’d die with my newspaper-ink-stained hands wrapped around my Nikon.*  In the end, the newspaper died before I did, so to speak.  It was a great ride…the best, really.

Life is a circle, I’m learning, full of reinvention.  At times, I feel like a scrambled-up jigsaw puzzle, which when put back together is not the scene on the box.  It’s better.

Today, when people ask me what I do for a living, I say I’m a journalist, first and foremost.  I then usually say I’m a professional observer of people, a visual storyteller, and a communicator.  And then I realize that that is exactly what I would have said while working for a daily newspaper.  The difference today, and I shock myself when I say this, is that my new instrument of choice is the video camera.

Video allows me to be everything I ever wanted to be…a photographer, writer, editor.  In short, video relies on the skills I’ve acquired over the years.  It challenges me in ways that photography doesn’t.  Challenges are good.

The rewards in photography are many, but the biggest reward comes the moment you capture a great image or moment.  The rewards in video are rarely that instant, but instead come at the end, and are usually more satisfying, because, I believe, video requires so much of you.

I will always be a photographer, and in fact, if you watch one of my videos you will see the photographer in me.  That flame will never go out, but being able to tell a story using imagery, narrative, and music, is a blast.  It may have taken a lifetime to get here, and who knows where it will lead, but sometimes the journey is the best part.

* I always figured I’d be shot by a cop, or security guard, that I pushed just a little to far, or that I’d fall to my death trying to get that crazy, never-seen-before angle on some meaningless assignment.

8 Comments
  1. Ellen Kennerly permalink
    12.02.2010 6:08 pm

    It’s great to see this. So glad you are finding new challenges and interests. You are amazing. I’m now working as Professional in Residence at LSU, so I understand. New stuff!

    Sarge (Ellen Voss Kennerly)

    • Anonymous permalink
      12.02.2010 7:36 pm

      Ellen. Thanks and thanks for checking out my blog. It just seemed like a fun thing to write about as I embark into the new frontier. I like new stuff. Hope all is well. R

  2. Minla permalink
    12.02.2010 6:52 pm

    You present a great case for video being the next step in your natural evolution. Though I’m grateful for those “single minded” years that lead up to now, I’m glad you see video as an opportunity to grow beyond them. It makes perfect sense.

    • Anonymous permalink
      12.02.2010 8:03 pm

      Thanks Minla.

  3. Joey Ledford permalink
    12.06.2010 1:29 pm

    Well stated. If this video thing doesn’t work out, it appears to me you could also cut it as a writer! Best wishes in your new endeavor. With your talent, I think success is a given.

    • Anonymous permalink
      12.06.2010 2:10 pm

      Joey. Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. R

  4. alriske permalink
    01.13.2011 6:37 pm

    Makes me wonder what would have happened if you had pursued writing instead, my friend. You are the New Renaissance man.

  5. 01.15.2011 4:18 pm

    Thanks Al!! Much appreciated, especially coming from someone who can truly write. The bottom line is that my best writing happens when I write from the heart on subjects that matter to me. I’m sure that’s the case for most of us. R

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