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On the Absolute Merits of Just Doing It…

I used to have a real job which came with all sorts of perks like regular hours, regular paycheques, a dental plan and weekends off. Hated it. The “perfect” job drove me to despair.

And into the warm, loving and complicated arms of self-employment.

Somehow, that managed to happen fourteen years ago. Hard to believe but looking in the mirror this morning it seems about right. I see a lot of wisdom, learning and experience in that loveable, furry face.

I’m lucky to have had a bunch of great clients during my career – the U of C has been there pretty much right from the start, 2 Percent Realty has been a surprise gem and Canadian Pacific is making up for arriving late to the party by giving me a lot of fun and challenging assignments for stills and video. There have been a bunch of great shoots along the way (if you don’t believe me, check out the website), for the most part clients have paid me and the dog has been fed. Literally. You non-payers know who you are, in fact in one case more or less everyone knows who you are. But that’s for another blog, a very long time from now.

Compared to many in the industry I don’t do a lot of personal work. I think that’s partly explained by not having an arts education background, but being busy with real work and into a tonne of sports & my wife also helps fill the time. Projects like The Bow and #PedalToTheCarpet were big successes on the personal front last year and if 2 personal projects a year is my limit then I’m good with that. They were awesome and I’m obscenely proud of them.

Since I’m a sucker for all good causes other than my retirement, I do end up doing a fair bit of pro-bono work. As the son of a Scottish bank manager this is very much contrary to my upbringing but then again my whole adulthood has been about late rebellion. Over the last few years this has led me to working with Marc Morin from Impello to create feature images for the Calgary Corporate Challenge. A month or so ago we took over a floor at TransAlta to create the next 3 years’ content – a bunch of ridonculous scenarios straight out of Marc’s crazily twisted mind. He’s a dad now, but otherwise I believe he shares my inability to actually grow up. You should have seen the look on his face when he got the smoke machine going. Or not – it really got going!

It seems to be an unwritten law of the creative world that you do some of your best stuff when working for free. God only knows why. Pretty sure accountants and petroleum engineers don’t work that way. Dentists definitely don’t. Oddly enough, lawyers do. Funny that. Anyway, there is something wonderful about launching into complex work for no reason other than that you are totally into it.

I’ll admit that these days any shoot that involves “only” photography seems pretty damn simple. And the Corporate Challenge is a good cause, but the main reason I do it – the opportunity to create awesome work. The images below are very early proofs but they’re pretty darn fun. One of them won’t be finalised for two years and I’m way too impatient to wait until then to blog so please forgive any minor flaws in the post-production. The moral of the story? When you do what you love for a living the rest is details – spread the love!

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