Looking Back

20161230_clips_011I usually spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day cleaning up in the office, putting away the piles of paperwork and magazines that have accumulated throughout the busy fall season.

As I collect tearsheets and clips throughout the year, they all get pitched onto a heaping pile of paper in the closet. I sort the clips, throwing a few extras away so I don’t end up with too much stuff to add to the storage shelves.

Every year when I do this sorting, I wonder…why do I keep all of these? I don’t use them to garner attention for more assignments, I don’t enter contests any longer, and someday my kids will have to decide what to do with all of dad’s crap….they will likely keep a handful and throw the rest away.

I guess it’s just a habit…it’s hard to throw things away with your name on them. I have to admit, the most fun I get from keeping tearsheets is looking through the very oldest ones and noting the changes in lighting technique, lens use and the locations that have evolved over the years.

Above is a random collection of cover shots I pulled from the 2016 pile.

Printing Day

LukePrints

For several years now, fine art printing has been been one of the proverbial irons in the fire for me.

It’s a great complement to my “normal” tasks, which mostly include shooting assignments and licensing stock imagery. I’ve been lucky enough to parlay my massive years-long stock collection into a fine art catalog that hospitals and other businesses enjoy looking through and making selections from it to hang on their walls.

“Printing days” can be long, but it’s always rewarding to see the finished work created from a mix of ink, paper and a finely tuned digital file. And every day I’m printing means that I’m hanging around the family…and that’s a good thing. The kids check in often, and the only hazard is playing ball anywhere near the finished prints as they lay ready for packaging (above, Luke is laying among yesterday’s batch).

Instant Office Space

There are many great things associated with working out of your house.

You can take a power nap whenever you want. You can do a day’s worth of work in boxer shorts and a t-shirt. You can challenge your wife/co-worker with an impromptu ping-pong match or mow the lawn during a long break.

But it’s not all gravy. You can find yourself piling on very long hours during busy periods, simply because it’s easy to walk downstairs and plop yourself in front of the computer for some editing or correspondence. I often do the bulk of my best work late at night after the kids are in bed…but this can happen after an already long day of shooting or desk time.

It’s a lifestyle that would be hard for me to leave at this point in my life. I haven’t had to listen to a real boss in over 12 years (not counting my wife), and I completely dictate the course of my work.

Some freelancers have a hard time combining their house and office, but Jodi and I just take it in stride. I love the idea that the lives of our family can spill into my work time, as it did last week when I flew Anna to Kentucky with me for a shoot, and the opposite can be true when I need space to spread out in, as illustrated by the photo above: our basement ping-pong table doubled nicely as a drying table yesterday while I made several 20×30 fine art prints for a local hospital.

Ping Pong or Prints?!

The overhead is low. If I’m not shooting, there’s no rent or utilities to pay. My cost of doing business is basically the computers, photo gear and printing supplies. Lots of freelancers have gone out of business simply because they overextended themselves with office and studio costs and weren’t ready to pay for those amenities during an economic downturn.

The main problems we have are things like not being able to play ping pong when daddy is printing photos. It’s a small price to pay.