I recently took a trip to New York City for a conference held by PhotoShelter that really got me in touch with myself. They had speakers that inspired me as well as made me think, but one speaker, Zack Arias, really touched me. What I came away with was this: to be successful in this business, I have to be true to myself and those that I meet along the way. Forget the "fake it 'til you make it" approach that has been preached to me for so many years. Just make great images and be real about it. The end.
So, to that end I say, Hello, my name is Gunnar Nettleship and I am a photographer. Not because it is what I have been trained to do, but rather because it is what I love to do. I shoot people, places and things, and I believe I do it better than most.
Sure, I COUD do something else to make money, but for me, that would be a life without passion, and that doesn't sound like a good life to me. I have had many jobs in my life that were done because of the need to make money, but those jobs all left me wanting more at the end of the day. After a photo shoot, I am at peace with myself. I feel as though I have contributed to the world in a positive way. When I am at peace with myself, I am a better father, friend and person to encouner in the world. So you see, doing what I love is better for me and for those around me.
To wrap this up, I will leave you with a quote from Confucius. "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
Side note: I was fortunate enough to be in New York on September 11th this year. It is a day that will not soon be forgotten in America. This is a city that has a reputation for resilience and seeing men like the one in the photo to the left, is proof of that. I tried to get him to pause for me, but he would not stop walking and I had the wrong camera on me to get a good moving shot. My point is that this may just look like a shot of a guy walking up the street with a flag, but it is more to me than that. It struck a cord with me.