We all need hobbies, and as a professional photographer, photography should not be one of them.
Photography is a passion, it is my job, and I see it as something that I am either working or practicing. Bummed? Yes, but it is a token that must be paid in exchange for a career that means this much to me.
With that said, there is one hobby that I have always held a passion for ever since I saw Senna race through the streets of Phoenix while sitting on my Dad’s shoulders as a child. I love racing. More broadly put, I love driving. There is something relaxing about rounding a corner and bleeding in the throttle as your eyes look at the braking point of your next apex.
As a teenager I raced go-karts on the weekends. It was often 100 plus degrees outside and I remember I would lap until I was either seeing stars or bruised. Going after anything with less than 100 percent commitment always seemed a waste of time. After all, I wanted to race for a living, not take pictures.
However, when I turned 18, I had to make a hard decision. Do I continue to pursue racing as a career, or do I sell my kart to fund a camera and keep racing as a hobby? It is rather obvious which I chose, as you are reading this story on my photography blog. The decision came down to the reality of what I was better at, and I knew that a professional racing career starts when kids are 4 or 5 years old, so try as hard as I could, overcoming that many years of practice and muscle memory was not going to be easy.
Now, well into my photography career, I still do enjoy watching racing and occasionally getting out to the track with my shifter kart, but it is not often I get to do this because I the time and costs involved with keeping karts running.
Enter Project Cars….
If you have followed my social media, you already know I am a complete video game nerd, so it should come as no surprise that I enjoy myself a racing game or two. Over the years it has been the likes of Gran Turismo and Forza, however the last few weeks have changed this as we now have Project Cars, a new sim from Slightly Mad Studios.
Now you are probably thinking that I am one of those people that am overly obsessed with a racing game, and has a racing seat in his office, and no life….. you are correct. However there is thought process behind this all. I looked at it less as a game, and more of something to shut my mind down for brief periods of time in an effort to approach life, lighting and photography differently. Will it work? Who knows, but damn is it fun.
The main takeaway I want you to have from this is not the video game itself, but to have an escape from photography that isn’t just “shooting something you like.” Our careers and our images are the sum of our life experiences. They contain viewpoints that can only be had by stepping away from the camera and experiencing something that moves us.