(Above: Kristin McIver)
Sometimes I think that people think that I just doss about and every now and then get the chance to take photos of amazing musicians and go to shows for free - literally couldn’t be more wrong (except for the getting to see amazing musicians thing, that’s true in my eyes anyway.) Infact sometimes I’m not even sure people know what I do. But seriously, I’ve worked my butt off for the last 5 years to atleast start being proud of work I make.
I constantly find things wrong with every piece of work I’ve made, and am starting to learn it’s okay to notice them, but I don’t need to point them out to everyone like I usually do (and I’m doing to stop doing this from now on) or go on about how shit a particular image is if someone compliments it.
I might get into a show for free, yep, but then I spend most of that show thinking about how to get the best photos I can, and that is constantly going through my mind, even when I’ve stopped and am watching the show, I’ll be thinking about photos I’ve just taken and what I’m going to do with them, panicking that film won’t come out and wondering if I can make the digital shots look as good visually as what I’ve just seen infront of me, how long it’s going to take me to go through them all and how tired I’m going to be the next day at work or uni.
I’ve spent the last 5 years studying photography, 2 years at college, 2 on a university course that I didn’t love but didn’t want to quit and have it be a waste of time either. So I continued and got my degree out of that and then I moved to London where I’ve done another year, struggled to find my feet for the best part of it and now I’m going into my final year at last feeling more confident. (I think anyway!) I have always had a job alongside college/university and this is literally because I need that money to live, If I could make enough money to live from doing photography right now, then I would just be doing that.
That’s why it’s so hard when all you want is to be taking photos and you see people around you doing exactly that, getting amazing opportunities and so on. It’s hard when you have emails asking if you want to photograph something for it only to be followed by a sentence along the lines of “It’d be unpaid” or “There is no budget”.
All I can think about from the moment I get those kind of emails - in most cases - is how much I want to shoot whoever for whatever and then it clicks that I’m going to be spending money to do something that I won’t be paid for. So, I try to see a positive in working for free, like getting my work seen, meeting great people, networking, but again, you see people doing similar things and earning a living and that makes you feel abit like your work is worthless.
It’s even harder when you get a cool opportunity and it goes to shit and leaves you feeling disheartened, especially if it’s in the part of the photography industry that you most want to suceed within. This isn’t to say I’m not grateful of people that have given me the opportunity to do something I otherwise wouldn’t have had chance to - or who have gone out of their way to help me out without me even asking it of them - even just people saying they like my work, that means a lot to me even though I probably cringe and shake my head.
It’s so hard working to make money to live (especially in London) while doing what you love - not to say that I ever thought it would be easy. And even though I know it’ll mean so much more that I’m working hard for my future as opposed to just being handed it, I think people forget that I am only 21 and I’m trying as hard as I can.
Mancunian Photographer Living in London.
Davie on Flickr.
I finally got round to updating my website and putting up some photos I’d taken of Bear’s Den recording for their debut album a few months back.
See the rest here for now (Don’t want to flickr spam!):