As an aspiring photographer you are left with the promise of expectation when you embark from the university doors, as competitions open up to you like old friends. There is an overwhelming sense of panic, that you have to do everything and anything to get noticed, appreciated and acknowledged. The process of leaving the university gates is different from person to person, some relieved that they can start working as a photographer and the studying no longer gets in the way, or one of panic as you realise the hub of photographers will soon fade thin. So you cling onto it, and your enthusiasm is rekindled with the newcomers, the new faces as you manage to get onto the teaching course – an aspect of the subject you wish to be a part of, but the timing falls right. A unique experience to one person may do nothing to reflect everyone else, but there is a sense of longing and excitement that lives in the year after university. Some may splash into the pool and throw their name everywhere, land on their feet or some might walk around the pool and assess the point at which to jump. Either is daunting for different reasons.
The concept of being a photographer is a hard one to grasp, as there are less public outlets, and more work based on experience roles. There becomes a point where you need to gather more firewood, so to speak, and attempt to rekindle interest in yourself as a creative output. This process is essential, but there is a part you saying you need to do everything and anything, fight like a dog to get that bone (in this case internships etc. are the bone) – all the while you attempt to explain to your parents why you feel the need to work a normal job so you can create things, photographs, articles, publications and events. Everything you do, from the outset of education is always up to you and no one else. This, to my mind, is why the photographer is such a great breed. They develop determination young – and that never dies within them, always attempts to find firewood to make a flame even when the air can be as damp as a gusty night up a mountain.
Aside from making, there is financial support that needs to become priority, and to decide how your going to ‘get by’ is perhaps the hardest decision of all. You need to cut yourself from all ties to promotion at work, as that gets in the way of anything creative – unless your in the right field. You need to ignore higher paid jobs because that’s a ladder you’re not interested in climbing. And if there were a photographic ladder, a stable one, then we would all be jumping for the same grasp of the first step.
When we think about our need to create, it is a process unmotivated by financial reward. Financial implications need to be considered in the production, yet if a project fails to make money, this does not mean the project was a failure. I have always relished in the idea that each project you do, you learn from and this builds you as a person as you begin to explore all your curiosities and passions, slowly becoming a fulfilled individual. Where this passion fits in with regular life, I am not so sure, and I have racked my brains thinking about it for the past year, since leaving the comfortable bed of university as I now approach my rude awakening a year later.