Photographer’s Artistic Journey and Self-Comparison.

I recently jumped into a book by a fellow photographer, a book that delves deeply into this artist’s personal odyssey through the world of photography. He generously shares his formative experiences, recounting how he was gifted his 1st camera at the tender age of 8. Within the pages, he unveils some of the snapshots he captured as a child with that very camera, weaving his life story through the chapters, which document an impressive and unwavering evolution in his photographic prowess as he aged.

A self portrait taken 1 year ago today

As I immersed myself in his narrative, my initial response was one of genuine admiration, a whispered “That’s rather fascinating!” But lurking beneath the surface, an insidious notion began to creep into my thoughts—a comparison, pitting my own photographic journey against his. My introduction to photography was not at the age of 8, but during my high school years. I did not maintain a lifelong dedication to the craft as he did; in fact, my true commitment to this art only blossomed around a decade ago, punctuated by periods of fervent activity and intermittent lulls. My collection doesn’t preserve every single photograph I’ve ever taken; quite the contrary, many have been misplaced or lost over the years, thanks in no small part to my abysmal file organization. In sum, these unsettling thoughts led me down a path of self-doubt, questioning the very essence of my capabilities as a photographer.

This is precisely why comparing oneself to others is fraught with peril.

The unassailable truth is that there exists no universally correct or erroneous route to becoming an artist. Some commence their artistic journey in their tender years, perhaps at the age of 8, while others, like myself, embark on this path in their thirties. Still, others may not kindle their artistic flames until well past their retirement years. The crux of the matter is that there is no singularly correct or incorrect moment to begin, no unequivocal roadmap to follow. The only veritable imperative is to remain faithful to the passions that stir our hearts and fuel our creative spirits. We must craft art that resonates authentically with our own souls and has the power to evoke emotion, even if it’s solely within ourselves.

The point of all of this is to emphasize that it’s absolutely acceptable to learn from and draw inspiration from fellow artists. Nonetheless, we must remain steadfast in our understanding that just because their artistic journey appears distinct from our own does not render our own path any less meaningful or legitimate.

We Moved

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I can hardly believe that the last time I wrote down my thoughts here was back in May. Since then, life has thrown us some curveballs. Nothing bad, but there are reasons I have not had the time to write.

The 1st Self Portrait in the new house.

The biggest news is that we no longer call Florida home. After almost three years of contemplating and discussing it, Leslie and I finally made the leap to Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a significant move for us, primarily driven by Leslie’s passion for the film and TV industry. While the idea seemed brilliant in theory, our timing couldn’t have been more unfortunate.

For those not following the industry closely, a strike has paralyzed nearly 90% of film and TV productions. So, while we’ve physically relocated to Atlanta, the real work awaits us once the strike concludes and Leslie can begin her job hunt in earnest.

The 2023 Blue Moon taken with my Sony a7iii with a Pentax 200mm film lens mounted on my camera with an adapter.

In the meantime, we’re adapting to our new surroundings. Personally, I find the weather here much more pleasant, while Leslie occasionally pines for the scorching Florida heat. We’ve already begun immersing ourselves in Atlanta’s culture. One highlight was attending Goo Con, a special effects convention, where Leslie forged connections with talented artists in the industry. We also embarked on our first Atlanta date night at the Shakespeare Tavern, enjoying “The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged.”

Overall, our spirits are high, and we’re approaching the future with optimism. However, uncertainty looms, and there’s much in the unknown that we try not to fret over.

In the midst of it all, I’m eager to get back into photography and connect with potential clients. I’ll strive to update this site more frequently, and I have some exciting ideas for revamping its aesthetics. Some changes might take time, but who knows? I might find a creative burst of energy and spend a whole afternoon giving the website a fresh look.

So, as we embark on this new chapter in Atlanta, I invite you to stay tuned for updates on our journey, our challenges, and our triumphs. The road ahead may be uncertain, but one thing’s for sure – we’re ready to embrace it all.

Embracing the Journey

As an artist, I believe that it’s essential to revisit your old creations and compare them with your current ones. In this world, we have a lot of talented people who may not always see the value in their work. They might even think that their creations are terrible, worthless, or not good enough. Despite this, they keep trying, keep practicing, and keep sharing their work. This kind of perseverance is bravery in action.

I recall a few years ago when I received an invitation to visit a local video game bar in Orlando, FL. They were hosting a Star Wars Day celebration and had encouraged everyone to attend dressed up in their best Star Wars costumes. As a photographer, I arrived there eager to capture some amazing photos of the attendees carrying light sabers.

Once I got back home, I edited the photos using the skills I had acquired up until that point. The outcome of my effort was not terrible, but it was clear that there were a lot of mistakes and things that I could have done better. However, I choose to look at those photos as a stepping stone to where I am today, and not as a source of self-criticism.

Admittedly, many people scrutinize their past work every day and berate themselves for not doing better. But, for me, it’s important to acknowledge that my past work was a vital part of my learning journey that brought me to where I am today. I am proud of the fact that I took those photos and used all the skills that I had at the time. And, more importantly, I was willing to keep learning and acquiring new skills as time went on to continue improving.

If I hadn’t continued to learn, I would not have been able to take and edit the stunning photos that I took of my wife this year on Star Wars Day. These pictures are a testament to the progress that I have made as a photographer and artist. And, for that, I choose to celebrate my past work instead of belittling it.

Manifesting Our Dreams

Reality is a peculiar and unusual place, and if one fails to pay attention, they may miss out on some pretty incredible things.

During my upbringing, I was raised in an extremely conservative religious household and taught to believe that “God” played a part in everyone’s life. The belief was that if one behaved and followed God’s commandments, they would be blessed, and if they did not, they would be cursed. I was taught about prayer and the concept of asking a higher being for assistance. If the prayer was granted, it was believed to be because of one’s righteousness, but if not, it was assumed that the request was withheld for a greater purpose.

Fast forward to the present, where I am on the brink of my 42nd birthday, no longer a member of that religion nor do I subscribe to their beliefs. However, that religion served as a stepping stone for my personal belief in spirituality. Whether one calls it God, the universe, or anything else, I do believe that there is some sort of order to the universe, and we can manipulate the world around us with our thoughts, feelings, and willpower. Many books I’ve read, such as The Secret, The Compound Effect, The Alchemist, and Siddhartha, have touched on this subject. They all speak of how individuals have the power to shape their reality.

I discovered this power at an early age. Something I have kept to myself is that when I was still a member of that religion, anything I prayed for came true. At first, I believed it to be coincidence, and even experimented with prayers, but every time, the things I earnestly prayed for with genuine desire were granted. Sometimes, the request took years to come to fruition, but it always happened.

However, the results of my prayers were not always beneficial. More often than not, the very thing I prayed for turned out to be detrimental to my mental and physical wellbeing. This is where the age-old adage of “Be careful what you wish for” comes to mind.

After leaving my upbringing and seeking my spirituality, I stopped praying altogether. I refused to bow down to any deity or God that required subservience from its followers. I discovered that most spiritual practices do not require kneeling as an integral part of their faith or practice. So, with that worry out of the way, I continued to learn and study different ideas, spiritual principles, and the very idea of magic itself.

One of the things I have come to believe is that reality as we know it has an overall energy to it. An energy that moves and sways in its own wonderful and magical ways. And if we can tap into that flow, incredible things can happen.

At the beginning of this year, my wife and I shared a plan with the universe. It was not a well-crafted plan, and the details were hazy, but the end goal was clear. We had been discussing this plan for several years and decided, at the start of 2023, to commit ourselves to make it happen. Obstacles, hardships, and difficult times came our way, but we remained resolute in our choice. We were determined that our will would not be ignored, and our choice was firm.

Now, five months after we made that choice and stayed true to our desires, I am amazed as I watch the universe conspire to make our dreams a reality. It is happening, and nothing can stop it. I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to the universe for assisting us in reaching this point, and we eagerly anticipate what the future holds.

How AI-Generated Images Can Enhance Photography and Art

An AI-generated image. The prompt… “Leaving the Mormon church starts with pain and ends with happiness.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated images are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the fields of advertising and design. They offer a cost-effective, efficient way to create high-quality visuals without the need for traditional photography. However, some photographers and artists view AI-generated images as a threat to their profession, with concerns around originality and the possibility of stealing artwork from human artists.

So, where do AI-generated images come from? Essentially, AI algorithms are fed with a massive amount of data to learn patterns and create new images. This data can come from a variety of sources, including stock photo websites and even social media platforms. By analyzing these images, the AI algorithms can generate new ones that match the style and composition of the original images. This allows for a wide range of possibilities for creating new and unique images.

However, some people have raised concerns that AI-generated images can be used to steal artwork from other human artists. This idea is based on the premise that the AI algorithms learn from existing images, so there is a risk that they could replicate someone else’s work without their consent. This raises questions about copyright infringement and intellectual property rights.

The truth is that AI-generated images do not necessarily steal artwork from other artists. While it is true that AI algorithms learn from existing images, they are not capable of replicating them exactly. AI-generated images are still unique in their own way and are created by a machine rather than a human artist. Additionally, most AI-generated images are created for commercial purposes, so there is little incentive for companies to try and pass them off as original artwork.

The use of AI-generated images as a starting point for human-created artwork is a growing trend in the art and design industry. With the ability to generate thousands of images quickly and efficiently, AI algorithms can provide a wealth of inspiration for photographers and designers looking to create something new and unique.

One way that photographers can use AI-generated images is by incorporating them into their own work. For example, a photographer may use an AI-generated landscape image as the backdrop for a portrait shoot, adding depth and interest to the final product. This approach can also help photographers to experiment with new styles and techniques, allowing them to push the boundaries of their own work and explore new avenues of creativity.

Another way that AI-generated images can be used to enhance human creativity is by providing a source of inspiration for artists and designers. By analyzing thousands of images and identifying patterns and styles, AI algorithms can provide a wealth of creative inspiration for human artists. This can be especially useful for artists who may be experiencing a creative block, as the AI-generated images can help to spark new ideas and perspectives.

In addition, AI-generated images can also be used to create entirely new forms of art. For example, artists can use AI algorithms to generate abstract patterns and designs that they can then incorporate into their own work. This approach can result in new and unique artwork that would not have been possible without the use of AI-generated images.

Overall, the use of AI-generated images in conjunction with human-created artwork has the potential to enhance human creativity rather than detract from it. By providing a source of inspiration and new possibilities for experimentation, AI-generated images can help photographers and artists to push the boundaries of their own work and create something truly unique. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see more and more examples of AI and human collaboration in the art and design industry.

AI-generated images are a valuable tool for photographers and designers to create high-quality visuals quickly and cost-effectively. While concerns around originality and theft of artwork exist, it is important to remember that AI-generated images are not a direct replication of human artwork. Instead, they offer new possibilities for creativity and can be used in conjunction with human art to create something entirely unique. By embracing this new technology, photographers and artists can continue to push the boundaries of their work and explore new avenues of creativity.

An AI-Generated image. The Prompt “Divorce hurts the soul.

If you would like to learn more about AI-generated artwork and how some photographers are thinking and acting upon it may I suggest reading…

Down the AI rabbit hole & It’s not photography by Andy Adams

Breaking Free: Why Asking ‘Why?’ is Essential for Personal Growth and Change

As a photographer, I often reflect on how we are conditioned to suppress our curiosity and accept the status quo. This conditioning starts from a young age, where we are discouraged from asking “why” and labeled as a burden or nag if we persist. Truth be told, most adults don’t have the patience for children, and they make it clear to them, most of the time their own children, that they are in the way, and talking too much. This lesson is learned young and is never easy to shake off.

As we grow older, we are told that certain things are just the way they are, and questioning them can lead to unpleasant consequences. As a teenager, we might question why things are the way they are. For example, why do teenagers have to wake up so early to go to school? Why is our life filled with activities but not rest? Why don’t adults have as many activities as teenagers? Why are we being forced to figure out our career, school, marriage, relationships, and religion, all at a young age, with little experience and without even knowing who we are yet? When we ask, we’re told that’s just how it’s always been done.

It’s disheartening to see people give up on asking “why” as they become adults. We might learn not to ask “why” because the other person could become dangerous or erratic. When we ask our partner why they expect us to remind them to do the dishes, they might accuse us of being things we never were. When we question our boss why we have to work from an office for a job we can do better from home, we might be accused of playing lazy. And when we question why priests and religious leaders are still allowed to be alone around children, we’re told to just have faith.

But deep down, we want to ask “why.” We wonder why we can’t do more for a better environment or cut interest from student debt. We question why we have to settle down, have kids, and own a house. And we wonder why we have to balance-beam walk across our lives, careful and patient.

As a photographer, I believe in using my art to challenge these societal norms and inspire people to ask “why” more often. Through my lens, I hope to capture moments that challenge the status quo and inspire others to take action. Whether it’s through capturing the beauty of a person who has never received positive support or affirmation in their life or challenging the norm of women being told to cover up by insecure men, I believe that photography can be a powerful tool for sparking change.

I hope that by capturing these moments and sharing them with others, I can inspire more people to ask “why” and challenge the status quo. Because only through questioning and challenging the status quo can we create a better world for ourselves and future generations. It’s time to break free from the conditioning that tells us to accept things as they are and start asking “why” more often.

From Photography to Videography: My Journey and Experience Shooting a Commercial

As a content creator, I often find myself asked to shoot video for various products or photoshoots. While photography can be challenging in its own right, shooting video presents a unique set of challenges that require a different set of skills and tools. The process of shooting video is more complicated, and the editing process can be much more time-consuming and complex than editing photos. However, with practice and learning, the process can be just as enjoyable and rewarding as photography.

Recently, I was asked to shoot a short commercial for one of my clients’ hair curlers. The project presented some unique challenges, including capturing the movement of the curler and showcasing its unique features in a compelling way. My client had specific needs and wants, but I was able to work with them to come up with a vision that fit their needs and my creative vision.

The shooting process required careful planning and coordination. We had to carefully plan out the shots, ensure proper lighting and sound, and direct the talent to capture the right moments. Shooting video requires more equipment and preparation than photography, including tripods, lighting, microphones, and a host of other tools. It takes a lot of work to make everything come together in a smooth and seamless way.

The editing process was equally challenging. We had to carefully select the best takes, cut out any unnecessary footage, and add in any necessary sound effects or music. The process of editing video is much more time-consuming than editing photos, but the end result is worth it. We were able to create a short video that perfectly showcased the features of the hair curler and captured the essence of the brand.

Overall, I’m really happy with the results of the project. Shooting video requires a different set of skills and tools than photography, but it can be just as rewarding and enjoyable. With practice and patience, it’s possible to create compelling videos that capture the essence of a brand or product. I’m excited to continue learning and growing in this area and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Embracing Brokenness: Finding Strength in Kintsugi and the Wisdom of Rocky

Life can be tough. It can knock you down and keep you there if you let it. But it’s not about how hard you get hit, it’s about how you get back up and keep moving forward. This is a lesson I learned firsthand during my divorce.

It was a dark time in my life, and I struggled to find hope and meaning in the midst of the pain and chaos. But then I discovered Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer and gold, emphasizing the beauty of the broken and imperfect.

The idea of embracing my brokenness and seeing it as a source of beauty and strength gave me hope and a sense of purpose. I began to see my scars as something to be proud of, as they were a testament to my resilience and ability to keep going even when things were tough.

I never really talked about this small glimmer of hope I found during that dark time, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I received an invitation to do a photoshoot that emphasized Kintsugi. It was as if the universe was reminding me to keep going and to not be ashamed of my damaged and broken parts.

During the photoshoot, I thought about the quote from Rocky that says, “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”

Those words resonated with me deeply. Life may be tough, but I am tougher. I am not defined by my scars or my brokenness, but by my ability to keep going and to keep moving forward. And so are you.

Remember that the next time life knocks you down. Embrace your brokenness and see it as a source of strength and beauty. Keep moving forward and don’t be afraid to take the hits, because that’s how winning is done.

Living Life on Your Own Terms: The Challenges and Rewards of Pursuing Your Passion

The world we live in is constantly changing, and not necessarily in ways that benefit the human race. Survival has become a challenge, and the odds seem to be stacked against the vast majority of us. We work hard to make a living and support ourselves, but the compensation we receive often doesn’t reflect the effort we put in. Companies demand year-over-year growth to their profits, yet the employees who help them achieve those increases are often not compensated accordingly. We’re stuck in a cycle where the cost of living continues to rise, but our salaries remain stagnant.

A photo taken by me in downtown Orlando while touring Orlando on a Ghost Tour

It’s a harsh reality, but one that many of us face. And yet, there are still those who choose to take control of their lives and pursue their passions. They’re the ones who switch careers multiple times throughout their lives, who take risks and try to live life on their own terms. I’m one of those people.

I started my career as an EMT, then moved into Occupational Health and Safety. After that, I transitioned into Sales and Account Management before finally settling on freelance photography as my full-time profession. It’s a decision I don’t regret, but it hasn’t been an easy path.

There are many benefits to being a full-time freelance photographer. I make my own schedule, choose who I want to work with, and don’t have to ask anyone permission to take time off or go on vacation. But there are also downsides. Finding clients can be difficult, cash flow isn’t always guaranteed, and there’s a constant feeling that I should always be working.

One of the biggest challenges of being self-employed is the pressure to constantly make ends meet. Bills don’t stop just because you have a slow month, and the companies you owe money to have to make those year-over-year profits, right? It’s a reality that many entrepreneurs face, but it’s not often talked about.

Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, and anxiety-filled hours. But for those who choose this path, the reward is the ability to live life on their own terms. They’re able to pursue their passions and make a living doing something they love.

Is it worth it? That’s a question only each individual can answer for themselves. For me, I want to say yes, but I am still new at all this and my final answer isn’t in yet. I’m willing to take the risks and face the challenges that come with being self-employed because the alternative is to live a life that feels unfulfilling. I want to make a difference in the world, to leave a positive impact, and pursuing my passion as a freelance photographer allows me to do that.

The world may not be made for the human race to live, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it. We may face challenges, but with hard work and perseverance, we can create the life we want to live. We can pursue our passions and make a difference in the world. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Why You Can’t Please Everyone: Lessons from a Photoshoot

Hey there, fellow creatives! Adam Scott here, and today I wanted to share with you a recent experience I had during a photoshoot for a t-shirt company. I was hired to photograph their t-shirts and we went over all the details, talked about models, and reviewed all the requirements. Everything was set, and I was ready to go.

The day of the photoshoot was fabulous. The models were great, the lighting was perfect, and honestly, the photos came out amazing. I was confident that the client would be thrilled with the results.

But, as they say, sometimes things don’t go as planned. The client didn’t like the photos and gave me a 1-star review on my delivery. At first, I have to admit, it really bugged me. I put so much effort into the shoot and felt like I had done everything right. So why didn’t they like the photos?

But after some thought, I realized that you can’t please everyone. Just because someone doesn’t like your work doesn’t mean your work is bad. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and as creatives, we have to accept that not everyone will love our work.

What’s important is that we do our best and at the end of the day, we are proud of our own work. We shouldn’t let negative feedback bring us down or make us doubt ourselves. Instead, we should use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we should ignore feedback altogether. It’s important to listen to constructive criticism and use it to improve our skills and work. But at the same time, we shouldn’t let it affect our confidence or stop us from creating.

So, my fellow creatives, let’s remember to always do our best and be proud of our own work. Let’s embrace feedback, both positive and negative, and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. And let’s keep creating, because at the end of the day, that’s what we love to do.