Do Something Valuable Instead

Instead of advising young graduates to “follow your passion” or “follow the money,” I think we should be telling them to “follow what’s valuable.” I suspect we’d have a much happier, more motivated society— not to mention a better functioning economy—as a result.

Life is this thing that’s always in transition. The moment you step back to try to figure it out, you have tendency to drift off course and feel overwhelmed. I would say this has been a pretty accurate portrayal of how I’ve felt lately with regard to the amount of time I spend time shooting mostly for myself which is where I think lies the disconnect. I’m shooting for myself.

Yes, I do occasionally stumbled across commissioned jobs but 90% of the work I share has been driven by 2 things: A desire to improve on my skills and utilizing the camera as a license to meet people. For that you don’t necessarily have to be extroverted, you just need to have an authentic interest in connecting with individuals who impress you and I just happen to rely on photography as a medium to document my experiences. The point is that while I get an absolute pleasure in shooting the subjects that I do, especially since I don’t do photography for a living which gives me the liberty to cherry pick absolutely everything, in the end I don’t always necessarily feel as though the work I’m producing is making a difference. By that I mean making a contribution to solving a problem. Should it be? I don't know. I'm trying to figure it all out.

Having read Pencils of Promise completely changed my perspective in the type of assignments I hope to do more of. Add on top of that the heck of statement by Benjamin Todd during a TEDxYouth Talk on the topic of finding work you love which by the way I recommend for everyone to watch:

Not that I have many people coming to me for career advice but the next time that anyone does, I'll make sure to steer away from the long heard platitude of "follow your passion" and instead advice for them to "follow what's valuable".