Life outside of the comfort zone – the 6 months review

Hi Folks,

So this is it; my 6 months review where I’m looking back at what has been achieved so far in such a short/long (it’s relative) space of time. I hope you won’t mind a bit of navel gazing from my part so stay with me as you might find some useful things along the way.

For a start I can’t believe that it’s already been half a year since I decided to walk out of the lucrative corporate world to focus exclusively on my passion for cultural and humanitarian photography. As I previously experienced, when you are living through pivotal moments in your life, time flies… very fast.

Here are some of my observations of what I’ve just been through. First of all; sleeping is not an option. Oh boy do you learn a lot when you’re running your own show. Everything needs your attention; from squeezing those creative juices in order to improve your brand value to calculating next year’s marketing budget. Your mind is confronted by hundreds of decisions everyday; Is this new Ipad going to help me improve my image or is it just going to represent sitting capital? How can I get the attention of this key editor? How much time should I spend on Twitter? Where do I want my business to be in 3 years from now?  Where did I put the lens cap again? The scale and scope of the efforts that are required to succeed is daunting to say the least. Now don’t get me wrong. Working in the corporate world is very hard as well (you have layers of bosses that need pleasing for a start) but it’s the sheer diversity of the tasks to be done and done well that truly makes running your own business such a challenge.

On the flip side, being able to create and offer something new to the world and getting valued for it is one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever experienced. It is exhilarating to say the least. Combine this feeling with a passion and working isn’t really work anymore. It’s your life and it just feels great.

A second observation; as I’ve discovered before, people are good. Indeed I would not be writing this post if it wasn’t for the kindness I have experienced during these last few-months. From all parts of the world, whenever I asked, helping hands were raised in my direction to help me move forward. Close friends became closer while distant friends became less distant. Strangers in far away countries proved to be as altruistic as my neighbours here in England. Being a recipient of so much goodwill is humbling and a good reminder that humanity is more than just the doom and gloom that you read and hear about in the media. There is a warm hearted world out there and I always encourage anyone to get out to experience it for themselves.

As a matter of fact, I’ve decided to contribute to this goodwill cycle and give back. From charities in England to schools in South Sudan and an orphanage in Nepal; I have provided a helping hand whenever I could and will keep on doing so.

Another observation; the photographic industry is in constant evolution so the business possibilities are endless and surprises appear in every corner. From potential teaching opportunities to writing articles for inflight magazines there are many things that can be done if they are well executed. I would have never conceived putting together an article on a master Thangka painter in Katmandu or having my pictures on Sexual slavery in India exhibited at the United Nations in Geneva. Yet this and much more has happened (see previous posts). I can’t deny that the financial uncertainty can be frustrating at times but there is enough here to get things moving in the right direction. Who knows what I will do or see in the coming months. Making cakes in the shape of camera lenses or taking shots at the top of the highest building in Dubai, your guess is as good as mine. Whatever it is, I can’t wait to be there.

Last but not least; something that is rarely mentioned in the photography world but is as important as anything else here. While it’s great to go out and bring something new to the world; we sometimes forget the people who are closest to us. For every photographer out there combing the world for visual stories, there is a partner at home who cares and hopes for a safe return. These 6 months haven’t only been an experience for me but also for my caring wife. Waiting patiently for me at the arrival terminals or being on the phone when I needed it, she has always been a source of comfort and security. This is one of life’s precious gift and it’s worth remembering that making this world a better place first and foremost starts at home. 
So there you go. A few thoughts about my journey so far. But what’s next you will say…well a lot actually.

From a commission to capture the bread culture in Paris to a potential trip to the horn of Africa for the first anniversary of the food crisis I am also considering moving to other parts of the photographic industry. Teaching amateurs is something I’m keen on since I trained to teach (TESOL diploma) a while back and I’m seriously thinking of setting up a workshop in India in the second half of the year with another photographer (send me a note if you are interested). Also I have started a video tutorial with other photographer friends that will be freely available online but I will say more on this later on. I also want to document sport fans in England and people’s relationship with food. These plans might or might not work but the important thing is to try things out and keep moving. My branding and marketing will change as well (this new blog appearance is just the beginning) so you will see more visual changes in the coming months. Of course as I did with the business card competition last month (here), I will invite you to share your views on these changes as you have helped me so much on my journey so far.

Furthermore I am keen to try out other styles of photography so as to keep on pushing the boundaries of this craft. As a matter of fact living outside of my comfort zone is something I plan to do for some time as I believe it’s a healthy thing to do… As they say life is what you make of it and I am determined to make it as interesting as it can be.

I have no idea how it will end but I’m certain that the trip will be worth it. So keep on following me in this adventure and see for yourself.

See you on the next post!

2 thoughts on “Life outside of the comfort zone – the 6 months review

  1. Bernard,

    I should have been working on images for a project, but I read this blog and then had to read all the others. Not fair:) Keep ’em coming…

    Bob

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