A little backstory:
There was a time where I saw design as a vehicle for improving the world. “Designing for good!” was what I told myself repeatedly on my one-track education path to be a career pixel pusher. But really what it turned out to be was a never-ending landslide of design gigs that were all meant to turn a profit for something/someone else.
You technically could do the lawful good “design for the people” path but good god are the wages abysmal. Most of us designers end up in the hamster wheel where we’re a dime a dozen and are forced to hop from agency to agency for anything remotely resembling a promotion.
So that’s where I am.
I’ve hopped 4 agencies (not counting the contracting gigs), enjoyed some a couple of runs as an in-house designer, and have worked on a little over 60 freelance projects as of this post and out of all of that work, only 3-4 projects come to mind where I felt emotionally and morally fulfilled with the outcome. And when it all sort of fell apart in 2019, a trip to Iceland gave me the perfect excuse to splurge on a camera.
With a click of a button, I could stop time, savor the moment, and share it with others.
To compare: design, to me, is crafting a visual statement while photography is capturing a moment which can then be manipulated to either make a statement or to just convey an emotion (or “vibe” if you will). The two are similar in outcome but most forms of photography, the only skill you need outside of the technical knowledge is being able to see the composition and subsequently capture it and refine in post. Design requires hours of piecing together typography, shapes, colors, textures, images, and more for an outcome that sometimes misses the mark entirely. A lot of photography can be almost entirely made of found art so for someone like me who have spent the past 15+ years creating from scratch, this medium is an absolute godsend.
Another huge, incredibly personal, aspect of photography is how it forces me to be present. Training myself to recognized moments worth capturing means I’m also less in my head and more in the moment. It’s done wonders to my mental health the past few years and I can only see that improving with more time and practice.
Oh, and it’s also hella fun.
I want to keep getting better.
My goal is to keep learning and continue to refine the business structure around photography. At the moment this is mostly a part-time gig but hopefully I’ll go into this full-time come Q4 of 2024.