I always said that, when I die, I want a jazz funeral. I don't want to see anybody crying, rather I want them to have a party. An actual party with elephants, dancing, face painting for the kids, the works. I don't want people to be sad that I'm gone, no, I want them to be happy I was once here.
As we live our lives, go through the motions each day, there are times when we get to live it up a little and other times when life is not such a party. We have obligations, demands, and responsibilities that we all must carry. Life isn't always, and it really can't be, a party all of the time. But, sometimes, you know, sometimes too we need to let our hair down because, if we don't, well then, it really isn't life at all, more like just going through the motions, and nobody wants that. We need to enjoy it once in a while too.
It's especially difficult for photographers. We have lives outside of the camera. Life doesn't stop when you pick the camera up, no, instead sometimes it seems like it goes by at lightening pace. Everything seems to happen while we were out taking pictures. The daily grind is anything but, and we have the pictures to prove it, but that kind of living can take its toll too. In the land of the camera, we have to always be there to be there. There's no getting away with half an attempt and we can find ourselves trapped in the cycle of travel, work, shoot, edit, print until we're dizzy. Each and every little success, it seems, only brings out more demand.
If you ask people about their "dream job" many, if not most, would say something along the lines of "travel writer" or "travel photographer." It always comes up in those top ten list of things people want to do, in fact, it's often in the top three. When I tell people the dreaded, "I'm a photographer" they get visions in their heads of partying with rock stars, half naked models with little wind machines blowing up their hair, maybe a few shutter clicks or two. It all sounds so romantic! Try going through customs with a case of film at 3 o'clock in the morning or missing you kids soccer practice because you have to sign some release forms and fill out insurance paperwork for your upcoming gallery show. Most people see the glamor but few spot the work. There's a lot involved in what we do and it's not all parties with rock stars, in fact, most photographers aren't even famous-we're the folks behind the cameras, not out in front.
I love being a photographer and would not change a thing. Well, maybe one. At my funeral? At my jazz funeral? You know, the one where everybody is up dancing in the streets? Yeah, I so want them to take some pictures of that. I want them to remember my photos, yes, but I want them to keep taking pictures, always for, if I were there, I would wish them all safe travels and good light.
It's so all about the pictures for me. It's always been about the pictures for me. The only trick in this game? Yeah, it's to try to have enough fun to enjoy it while keeping it real long enough to get something out of it. It's a tightrope we all walk, what can I say? I'm a photographer. Just shoot me!