Minnow Park

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Craft + Commerce 2019

I didn’t expect the service I use to send emails to organize one of the most uplifting and inspiring conferences I’ve attended. I had a letter ready to send you on Monday, but I decided to postpone till next week so I can share my experience and takeaways from the conference. I have pages and pages of notes from the sessions I attended, and have made friendships with people who share the same mindset of creating art that is generous and empathetic. In short, I’ve found my tribe.

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Film is Not Dead

Film photography also forces you to really learn about what goes into taking a photo. I learned how to shoot on a digital camera, and so when I started to shoot film it was frustrating. I was so dependent on the screen on the back of my camera to make sure my image was in focus and properly exposed. Learning how to use the camera and get the right photo, not only made me understand photography better, it made me think deeper about what I was photographing.

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The Day the Music Died

I picked up a guitar when I was in 7th grade. My mom had spent thousands on violin lessons only to have my heart move onto guitars. I went to a Dave Matthews Band concert that year, and I was hooked. I dreamt about being on a stage one day with just my guitar; singing my songs to an audience, pouring my heart out, and connecting with them. It was all I wanted. I spent most of my teenage years practicing in my room, learning riffs, writing lyrics.

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I Promise, No Spoilers

I couldn’t help but feel guilty coming back to work from my sabbatical. Freelancing has a way of leading you down a rabbit hole of feeling like you’re never doing enough and you’re never earning enough. These seventh-week sabbaticals are a way of harnessing myself so that I don’t wander too far down that hole. I know they’re good for me; the trip to Mexico was so inspiring. Still it’s hard to give myself whole-hearted permission to do it, but here’s to trusting the process.

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The Artists of Mexico City

Mexico City, or CDMX, is a city for the senses: the vibrant colors of buildings, the scent of freshly made tortilla from the taco stand, a trio playing a lively song in front of diners, walls with murals that span half a block, and the delicious food. Oh, the food. CDMX is a total foodie town.

We went last week during our sabbatical to cap off celebrations for Becky’s 30th birthday. Our friend Andrew said such wonderful things about the city, and he encouraged us to visit. All I knew of Mexico were beaches and Spring Break. How ignorant I was.

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I Don't Want to Be Safe Anymore

I had a great talk with a photographer this week that helped fan the embers of the kind of art that I want to create. This is the kind of work that doesn’t have revenue or a strategy behind it. And work that I know isn’t easy, but that keeps’s tugging at me to start.

The most revealing feedback he gave me about my own work the past few years was that it was safe. Safe to me is the opposite of what I’ve been talking about as art these last few weeks. Being generous, taking a risk, making a connection, all these things cannot be done if I’m concerned about my safety. Safe is the consequence of not making my personal work a priority and just going from one project to the next. I don’t want to be safe anymore.

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Trust the Process

I don’t really remember my twenties because I was just heads down, working as hard as I can to build up my business. Working hard meant I was doing something right. The only “vacations” I took was a few extra days after a shoot somewhere out of state. But why would I need a vacation? Everyday was a vacation for me, I was doing something I loved. 

I didn't know how to stop even after I started dating, and got married. My wife wisely made me take one day off a week to rest together, and that was great for us. But other than that day, and sometimes even on that day, I couldn’t really disconnect from work. Work was always on my mind.

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