The simple truth.....

“The simple truth is, not all of us become the men we once hoped we might be…” Capt. Jack Aubrey

I am not a huge Russell Crow fan, but I have to be honest he plays in movies that I enjoy. This quote has been on my mind a lot lately. Mostly because I have not become the man that I once hoped that I would be. When I was younger I thought that I would be successful, intelligent, and eager for life. Yet here I am at 26 in a dead end staff job, as smart as a box of rocks, and finding it hard to find reasons to make myself get out of bed in the morning.

When I first decided that I wanted to get out of the military, I knew what I didn’t want, a desk job where I did the same thing every day with sporadic hours, a set salary, and a working environment that was toxic. I knew what I wanted to be, I wanted to be a photographer, but the funny thing is that I couldn’t seem to tell people this. It took me a few months to honestly tell people that I was giving up my job making six figures to take up, of all things, fucking photography. I could hear my parents’ cries why don’t you just cut out our hearts… I was embarrassed to tell people because if you publicly admit to a goal it becomes not only yours, but everyone else’s and you are in turn subject to public scrutiny for any failure. If you keep your goal to yourself, however, if it doesn’t work out it is only between you and God.

I have made my goal public and I am now ashamed that for the first time in my life I was unable to really attain what I was going for, hard work and persistence didn’t pay off. The truth is it was no fault of my own, and it was no fault of anyone else, just bad timing on my part…but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow that I have to really start from scratch. To be honest 40% of the post 9/11 GI bill for college being pretty much useless and with a wife who hasn’t worked in two years without a completed college education my options are running pretty slim and my cars are inching their way to the chopping block so my family can eat in the future.

The other day I actually thought about getting rid of all of my photography gear and just taking that safe step into a management job through a head hunter firm, but then I looked at this picture, the one that has been haunting me ever since I saw it and I knew that I was mistaken. I have stared at this photo countless times (it’s my iphone wallpaper) for some immeasurable amount of time. I want to know every nuance of how it was made, I want to experiment with setups, and I want to re-create this photo and then re-engineer it.

I have been writing the person who crafted this amazing piece of art, Joe McNally, for about 15 months now. While he hasn’t responded much, I don’t blame him, he is busy as hell and to be honest, don’t owe me a damn thing. We’ve only met twice, at two of his workshops, but what he has done to push my photography into the realm of the “wow” and to push me personally into a better place is something that I can never fully thank him for. Even now when I don’t think I can do it anymore I take one look at that picture and I know that I cannot sit behind a desk and piddle some useless garbage to people who don’t need it or critique some fluffy PowerPoint presentation, I have to leave the regimented life and let my hair down (literally and figuratively).

I honestly don’t know where I am going to go next, but if I did….it would probably take all the fun out of the adventure of just making there.

All the best,

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