It was five years ago tonight that my family and I sat and waited for my father to die.
I saw what my father had left from his life of 60 years. There were plenty of 'things', but those had lost meaning without him. There were the stories and experiences he had, and those remain for a time. And of course there was us. My sister and mother and myself. I made a decision then that I wanted more out of my life than just going with the flow and being a cog in the machine. I then spent the next year searching for something that made me feel special and it turned out that thing was photography.
At the time I was working in advertising, doing graphic design and flash programming, but ultimately these things made me miserable. I wanted to do more than sell toothpaste. On my deathbed I wanted to be able to smile about what I was leaving the world. I wanted to create instead of consume.
In many ways, my career as a photographer started on January 1st of 2007 when I started 365portraits.com by going over to my sister's apt and subjecting her to day one. First step of a journey and all that. A journey which has led me here, awake at 2:04AM on the anniversary of my father's death, trying to come to terms with what I haven't accomplished and how much my life hasn't changed or worked out the way I imagined. That is however a very silly thing to do, because it completely disregards so much of what has happened. What I've experienced and what I have accomplished.
I've had the privilege of meeting and shooting hundreds of subjects in the past 3 years. I've shot for a magazines, had full page portraits in TIME and BusinessWeek. Published books of my work, travelled to places around the world, and met the people who make my life worth living. I'm even an uncle now and everything, And hell, right now at SoHo Photo is a solo show of my Drabbles project. Who would have thought 3.5 years ago that I'd have a show of my photography at a New York City gallery? That's pretty cool.
Am I where I want to be? Hell no. There are times when I honestly feel like I've failed, or at least am in the process of failing, but I know that's not fair. Am I where I imagined I'd be 5 years on? Nope. If I could even define where that is, let alone achieve it, somehow I don't think that would be the answer either. As frustrating as it is to me, I think that my bliss comes from the process of figuring it out and beating the odds. I have so much more to say on the subject, but I just can't make sense of it, let alone words of it, at the moment. It's too late and I'm far too tired.
That said, I've often told people to never bet against me, and the next five years are going to be no different.