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Why One Person Left an Engineering Job to Become a Photographer

Few things are certain in the career of a photographer, and so, it can seem crazy to leave a relatively stable profession like engineering to pick up a camera instead. However, that is exactly what one photographer did, and this great video essay features him discussing his journey, why he chose to get into photography, and how he went about it. 

Coming to you from Robin Wong, this interesting video essay features him as he discusses his journey to becoming a photographer after leaving a career as an engineer. This essay really resonated with me, as I also left a more stable career path in my 20s to go into the arts. It is certainly not for everyone; the first thing I tell anyone who asks me about it is that you should not even consider such a move unless you literally can't see yourself doing anything else with your life, and even then, you should think twice, as hobbies that become careers can often lose what makes them enjoyable in the first place. That being said, if you can find success, it can be tremendously rewarding. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Wong. 

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6 Comments

Vincent Hofer's picture

Hey, Glad to hear that! I also quited my civil engeneer career, just like you as a geotechnician and concrete expert to become a full time photographer in Switzerland!

Yan Pekar's picture

Just one? :) Sorry but no time for 40 min video.

Indy Thomas's picture

Possibly the most useful lesson from this video is that an interest in the field has to be great enough to overcome adversity and barriers that inevitably arise.

While many dream of being a photographer, actor, restaurant owner,(you name it), most actually lack the interest that creates the determination to persevere.

I saw a quote of advice from a teacher that went: "Pay attention to what you pay attention to." IOW, what obsesses you is likely the thing that will motivate you to succeed in that field.

A hobbyist in a field can become a pro but often the fun is drained from the hobby and thus the person leaves the field.

Robert Sakowski's picture

Im also a former Engineer (Master of Arts, Architect) and now Im a Photographer. In the end its all about passion.

Rob Sheppard's picture

He could have used his engineering career to get access to places other photographers cannot get to. In a world where everyone is a photographer, where cameras (and phones) are so good its hard to take a bad photo, the way to stand out from other photographers is to create something no-one else can. One way to do that is to get access to places (or people) most people cannot get access to - in his case maybe tunnels or bridges under construction.

Matt Rennells's picture

Degree in Aeronautical/Astronomical Engineering (why yes, I am a rocket scientist). Used to do research for the Defense Department, now photographer. It happens more than you think. Picked up a part time gig teaching physics for a university to cover the slow times.