Two years have passed since my last blog entry, my life is quite different now but the passion remains the same. In August of 2018 I was terminated from my position as an automotive photographer, in the moment I was devastated. A job I wore proudly, in an industry I was passion about came to an abrupt end over something I also enjoy, boudoir. I was terminated on the grounds that images in my private Google drive contained what was deemed “pornography”. I shared a desk with a coworker and over the final six months of my time with the dealership we didn't necessarily get along too well, so he located the images of a previous client (which I didn't know still existed and then informed our new general manager and the rest is history. I say it's history but it really isn't, the unemployment office reversed their decision about me being eligible to receive unemployment but I was already over the situation and no longer wanted to draw it out. The amount I have to pay back isn't necessarily large enough to seek legal assistance to fight so in the end it's water under the bridge.
Since I last posted I have dove entirely headfirst into shooting film, I've amassed an array of 35mm and 120 cameras and am able to efficiently develop and scan my own film. It takes time to explain to someone why film and to be honest it's almost drug like. The ability to tangibly create and hold something you did from start to finish is pure ecstasy. To sit in my pitch black bathroom and open the film canister and meticulously load it onto the film reel before placing it into the developing tank is a form of art and allows me the ability to relax, I guess in a sense it's my “Yoga” with how it almost seems to put me in a meditative state of mind.
In my efforts to become gainfully employed again I went through some of the darkest times as I incessantly was on the receiving end of emails that were along the lines of “we're moving forward with other candidates” it was discouraging, to know that I should have initially stated I was freelance rather than try and explain the reason I was terminated but hindsight is 20/20. We're all human and some people are less understanding of art and the privacy of another individuals personal email and everything that is attached to it such as a storage drive. I've since removed all files from my drive to protect the privacy of clients and to ensure that such a scenario never presents itself again.
I wouldn't call it a mistake or a lesson at this point in my life but the opportunity to flourish and change my path. After months of wallowing and uncertainty I landed on a job. At first the job had me apprehensive and unsure because I absolutely despised the idea of being a custodian but I stuck with it and after a few months of being part time, I was offered a full time position within the high school. So to no longer clean 14 kindergarten - second grade bathrooms suddenly everything was falling into place. The benefits are amazing, I thoroughly enjoy my coworkers and my ability to clean is actually impressive. The greatest benefit has actually been the fact that it's not a sedentary position and in working I've lost of 30 pounds since I started in January. It wasn't really evident to me until I went to visit my local camera shop and the owner pulled me aside to ask if I had fallen into using drugs. I was taken back briefly but quickly learned that because he had not seen me in 6 months that my appearance had drastically changed. At that point I explained to him I'm working incredibly hard, still eating terribly and making progress towards a more ideal weight. It's also pleasant to not have a 9-5 job where I carry a camera around because after I'd conclude a shift at the dealership often times I'd most likely never have the urge to shoot. Nowadays I always have a camera or two on me and when weather permits I like to meander and document what I see!
To prevent this from becoming an absolutely insane diatribe or my midlife autobiography I'll end it here with a few things. Life can get absolutely depressing and beyond dark to the point where you feel you'll never recover, but you will and you do and I am a prime example of that. Nothing is permanent and you must remember to control what you can control despite the curve balls you are presented.
I temporarily stopped booking weddings in anticipation of getting a job with the school district that would be less conducive for shooting weddings and having weekends free but I wasn't offered the position, I was momentarily bitter but in hindsight I'm more than content with the janitorial position that was offered two weeks later as I appreciate the ability to just listen to podcasts and have minimal interaction. (I'm still beyond outgoing but sometimes in order to perform my best, I yield the best results with minimal interference)
Lastly boudoir isn't over, I've been shooting more of it and am holding a boudoir bash in downtown Des Moines on November 30th & December 1st. The location will be in the Skyline Suite at the recently opened Hilton Hotel. If you're interested in being one of the sessions whether it be an hour or two don't hesitate to reach out to me!
Lastly, never stop doing what you love because it is discouraged, never stop being passionate, and never pass up the opportunity to make a fucking impact. We all find ourselves struggling at times so if you can take some time to be the ear to listen or shoulder to provide support…. Do it!
I promise to write more often