I was just sitting her at my desk doing nothing but thinking, when my mind is flooded by 25 years of photography. Have you ever had that happen? I remember the smell of my first new camera, a Yashica FX3 Super 2000. I remember the smells of the developer, stop bath and fixer in the dark room. I remember sitting in the amber glow of the dark room lamp and dodging and burning my photographs. The darkness in the film loading rooms was so dark, you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.
Now, I sit here and I ask myself if all the work I have done of the years matters to anyone? I don't know, you will have to answer that one. I do know that it still matters to me. The excitement still builds as I approach the beach, lay down on the sand and begin photographing shore birds. How about that massive bull elk staring right at me at the break of dawn and letting out a beautiful bugle? Wow, still nothing like it.
If I had to complain about anything, I would have to say that photography has become a commodity to many. We are so bombarded now by social media and all the images that Google can provide, that I think the average person is overwhelmed and fails to really see what we see. I don't think this was the case back in the 1980s and 1990s. Then, we looked at images in our favorite magazines or coffee table books and were amazed by what we saw. It was something very few could do. Photographers were in demand to fill up those magazines with images, and there were very few of us out there who could pull it off.
Although, photography is still a somewhat difficult craft, it doesn't require anywhere near the technical skill to produce and image as it once did. We still have to be creative and that is the only real battlefield in our craft now. That is where I try to spend the most time these days. That, and of course, finding our subjects still remains difficult. The wildlife photographer will always have a more difficult task then your average cell phone photographer.
Digital photography didn't hurt the industry. Digital photography was just a natural evolution of the craft. What hurt photography was the internet. It gave the world so much data and information that it reduced the value of a photography to literally pennies. That is sad, not only for those who made money off selling their images, but also those who see their work as worth nothing more than 20 cents. That has to hurt the creative people who make these images every day. I know it hurts me from time to time.
Now, having said all that, why do I still do this, even though I don't make enough to even cover the costs of doing all this. I do it because I love it and I will never stop doing it. We all like to make money or someone put a monetary value on our work, but in the end, what matters is how much we love what we do.
Don't get me wrong, if I had more sponsorship and more people giving to my channels and work, I could really do some amazing things for both photographers and those who just follow my work. Money makes the world go around so they say. However, I will still keep plugging away and doing what I have always done. Nature photography is a wild roller coaster ride. It is almost what I would call a bipolar discipline. Wild shifts from adrenaline ridden days to complete and utter dissapointment. Drive is what keeps me going. A never give up attitude.