Letting Go to Receive
Sometimes you have to trust the wind will take you where you need to be.
That’s Joe’s son, Steve, in the photo. I’m guessing he was nine or ten at the time, which puts the date somewhere in the early 90s. The image was originally made for stock usage, a segment of the photography industry that was booming in those days for many advertising shooters. Many of Joe’s peers stopped doing assignments all together and went fulltime into stock photography.
Unlike today when you can download photos for free or very little money, the stock industry of the 80s and 90s was a veritable gold mine for a photographer with a solid portfolio of images suitable for use in advertising or publishing. This was before digital photography, and quality images shot on film were considered items of great value that had be purchased, often with strict (limited) usage defined.
So you might think it would be a no-brainer for a guy like Joe who’d been shooting professionally for more than fifteen years at that point to jump on the bandwagon. He had an extensive portfolio of lifestyle and travel images, the gear and ability to create more as needed, and an inside connection to one of the fastest growing stock agencies in South Florida (a hotbed for advertising media after the success of Miami Vice). The owner of that agency literally begged and maybe even bribed him on occasion to contribute.
But it never clicked for him (no pun intended, just came out that way). He wasn’t opposed to putting up his travel portfolio, but creating new inventory wasn’t quite as simple as it seemed.
For one thing, there was no budget supplied by a client. The photographer needed to finance the shoot, which could include paying the models and photo assistants, hiring a stylist, purchasing needed props, renting a studio or location, and many other out-of-pocket items. It could take months for the resulting images to be accepted by the stock agency, put into a catalog, sold, and royalties received—with no guarantee that the investment would ever be recouped.
But it wasn’t the money that kept Joe out of the game. This happened at a time before I knew him, so my only source of information now is my memory of what he shared with me about it, but basically what held him back was that it just didn’t excite him at all.
Yeah, he submitted some stuff, mostly due to FOMO as he observed most of his peers jumping in with both feet. But when it came to creating a constant stream of new images requiring a constant stream of producing shoots on his own from concept to production, he didn’t have the mojo for it.
At that time, his assignment photography business was booming and the little free time he had could be devoted to his family and pursuing photography for his own enjoyment and creative outlet.
It might seem like stock would fulfill his artist’s need for expression, but it didn’t. Even though there wasn’t a paying client defining the shoot, stock photography had an intended audience. So he would still be creating the images based on what someone had in mind instead having the freedom to shoot it as he saw it.
Ten years later (around the time we met and were dating) he questioned his decision. The advertising business had changed dramatically with digital advances and his friends who became stock shooters were earning serious incomes as he watched his own income diminish. He even attempted to join some stock agencies, but since his heart wasn’t really in it, it never took off.
Another five years passed and the stock photography business changed too. With the advent of digital photography, there were far more players in the game and the newcomers weren’t interested in playing by the old rules. They were willing to sell their imagery for far less. In addition, as happens all the time in business, the big corporate agencies saw an advantage in controlling the market and bought up most of the smaller agencies until two big giants owned everything.
And the big losers were the original photographers who seeded the industry only to have their incomes almost decimated overnight. Images that once sold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single use now could be bought for pennies.
All of this happened to coincide with the transition Joe made from producing commercial photography to creating art.
By trusting his instincts and intuitive sense to follow his heart’s desire (and with more than a little encouragement from his new wife, moi), Joe was able to say goodbye to South Florida and the advertising business. We moved to Asheville and settled quite happily into a burgeoning artist community.
But nothing we create is ever wasted or without reason. I don’t know if the cover image, Steve with Kite, ever earned any royalties as a stock photo from an agency. We sold it several times, however, for greeting cards and to a textbook publisher.
As was Joe’s habit, every time he took an image out, he added a touch of something. As far as I know, the above version was the latest and bears his digital signature. He created this version for art’s sake sometime after Steve’s untimely death at age 26 on New Year’s Eve 2010. I did catch him wipe a tear as he worked and maybe heard him whisper, “Let it go, Steve. Let it go.”
Reading for Tonight's Full Moon
To celebrate the appearance of tonight's Full Moon in Virgo, I drew a card for the collective from the Moonology Oracle. Full moons are always a time for letting go, but Full Moon Eclipses are release opportunities on steroids. Although our March Full Moon is not an eclipse, the card indicates the energy of one is present.
What this card suggests is that it's time to shut the door on the past or a situation that no longer serves you. It could be about forgiveness. Letting go of anger or resentment doesn't absolve anyone of responsibility for the deed. It simply releases negative emotions and enables you to move on to new, positive energy.
So know that "Conclusions are within reach," and say goodbye with enthusiasm. Spring is around the corner and there's so much new growth to appreciate.
The candle of Archangel Raphael brings love and healing and blue lace agate crystal helps create calmness of mind.
For a more personal reading, book a private session with me. Only a few spots left at this March-only special rate, so don't delay.
Have a great week!
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