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The Grateful Cello

My interior shot of the cello

Over the past six months I had been collecting all of the elements I needed to do an interior cello shot. Destroying a musical instrument of any type even if it’s only sold for ‘parts’ or purchased for next to nothing is something which makes me feel uncomfortable. But I finally sourced one and when my friend Kris, a professional cellist came by to pick up a photograph, she patiently taught me how to disassemble and reassemble a cello.

After she left I began to talk to my partner about how incredibly blessed and fortunate I feel knowing and working with so many creative people, people like Kris. How often can one say, “Oh I want to cut into a cello, who do I know that would have that knowledge?” Or “Yeah, I need to figure out how to sculpt some stone, what kind of chisels will I need?” It’s almost embarrassing the number of people I know who I can count on to help me with such a wide variety of subjects!

I have often said that my primary reason for using a camera is simply an excuse to meet new people. Yes I make my entire living as a commercial photographer, but the core satisfaction is seldom derived through accolades of my work, it’s always about the friends I have amassed while on this remarkable journey.

Like most people of my generation, ‘the arts’ was something to enjoy in one’s free time but certainly NOT something to pursue as a living. So the corporate world was where I spent the vast majority of my adult working life. Retail, energy, broking and game consoles were just some of my varied careers. Titles that included Sr. VP, COO and corner offices were part of my resume, yet none of them held my heart. They simply provided income for my family, two kids, college tuition, mortgage and car payments, you get the picture. I had long ago accepted larger pay and responsibility along with the ‘comfort and security’ that brought over pursuing my passion.

After being laid off from what would be my final corporate job as well as having endured the worst supervisor I had ever encountered in 38 years, I made the most remarkable change, I began to pursue the very thing I’d do for free, photography. Now when I read articles that ask “If you could do anything in the world, what would that be?” I am both humbled and so grateful being able to say “I’m doing it.”

The individuals I work with now as well as befriend are some of the most remarkable individuals I’ve met in my lifetime. Musicians, actors/actresses, makeup and hair artists, lighting designers, editors, wardrobe artists, painters, sculptors, milliners, conductors, directors, dancers, writers, playwrights, authors, aerialists, athletes, knife makers, choreographers – good grief the list is endless. What is just as remarkable is the very same passion I feel is equally as strong in those who I work with daily. I have never heard a creative say “Oh I’m so glad it’s Friday” yet when I was in the 8-5 crowd, Friday and certainly the ‘three day weekend’ were the holy grails of our ‘work week.’

Sure we all get tired and need a break. But instead of so often longing for my Friday, like others who create, I witness actors genuinely sad when a run is over, or a musician discovers it’s their last week of a performance. And whether discussed or not, each of us feel blessed to be doing what we love to do for our livelihood. Do I regret having worked in Corporate America? Nope. One of the most difficult aspects of owning your own business is the business side and because of my 38 years in business I know that part very well. Is everything in this new life milk and honey? Nope. There are long hours, they just don’t seem long anymore. And in this life if you don’t work, well you don’t eat. Are there clients who are unpleasant? Rarely, they are the exception rather than the rule.

So I have learned a lesson that took me only 38 years to discover. Do what you love to do. I tell my own children to do just that, because trading love for security buys you nothing. In the words of Jim Carrey during his Commencement Speech to Maharishi University

“I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which, was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love,” 

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