This is a collection of questions sent to me by readers / people who follow my work. These are my replies. Hopefully they are helpful to some of you.
Some of the questions have been edited for grammar and clarity.
More to be added over time.
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I have one question for you: You mentioned how personal/career success is ultimately still tied to financial success. Have you ever feel that you are “selling out” (i.e doing a project only for the money and not because it coheres with your personal values/interests) and if so, how do you deal with it? Is there a balance you keep between doing projects for others and doing projects for yourself, especially as a creative professional?
Thanks for giving me a chance to clarify what I meant! Actually, I don’t necessarily think that personal success = financial success. But I do think two things:
(1) If you are good at what you do AND know how to manage the business side of it, it’s likely that you will have financial success as well;
(2) It’s IMPORTANT for creatives to have some degree of financial success so that it frees them to create (instead of constantly having to live hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck).
When I first started I had worries about “selling out”. But slowly I realized that well-paying projects – even if I don’t totally enjoy doing them – give me the resources to continue to be a self-employed photographer.
So I’m ok with doing commercial projects that pay well that don’t necessarily fit in with what I enjoy.
Having said that, the best case scenario is to be able to do jobs that satisfy me creatively. So I’m always working towards building my portfolio/reputation to the point that I only attract the clients I want (high paying AND fulfilling).
So for me, the balance is I do commercial projects – sometimes for money and sometimes cos they are truly interesting – and with those resources I work on my own personal projects. It’s a win-win for me, but maybe not for others. I’m aware that what is a problem for me might not be a problem for others, vice versa.
Ultimately it depends on what kind of life you want to live. If I were to insist on doing only commercial projects that I LOVE, I might not be able to create as freely or live as freely as I do today.
So yes, it’s a balance, a balance that needs to take into consideration what you need and want out of your own life. And remembering that no situation in this world is perfect. How we adjust our perspective to see each situation in a positive light is more important!
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