In order to evolve as photographers, we need to keep making pictures and push our personal and professional boundaries. Stagnation can be one of the most demotivating situations to experience, as a photographer and as a human being. On a day off, AKA the freelancer's life, with nothing more to do than reading, watching tv shows or browsing the web, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to get up and do something productive. (Of course, slow times are important, but I'm sure you know what kind of days I am talking about.)
What we need to realize is that our photographic evolution is always on the line and that we need to stick to our profession in order to improve. But sometimes this is easier said than done.
Who Does it Better?
Somebody who is apparently drizzling with self-motivation is young photographer Ethan Chin. After graduating high school he realized that his photography portfolio could use some additions. While many of us are still debating if the light is good enough or if the weather will hold up, Chin was already on his way.
Given that we managed to motivate ourselves to go out to photograph, we would probably hop in the car and drive somewhere nice. Chin did not have a car, nor did he have a drivers license at the time. Being just 17 years old, his only real option was his bicycle.
Chin is no novice when it comes to extensive adventures. During the wintertime he ventured out together with his sister, embarking on a 230 km hiking trip through Northern Ontario. The sibling's accommodations consisted strictly of their sleeping bags and tents, which, to the knowledge of everyone who has been going camping during rain or snowfall, are not the best friends to your camera gear. This was no obstacle to Chin. He knew what he wanted and he went for it.
"The reasoning for this trip was simple — clouds. As readily apparent, my style of photography lies in making a scene appear dramatic, in a sense of organized chaos, if I may. Winter gives me that," said Chin
For his bicycle trip, Chin did not only hop on his bike and leave. Some serious, photo unrelated, preparation was involved.
"For the few months leading up to my trip I started training myself relentlessly. I cycled a lot more than I normally did, and even went on a few weekend century cycling trips around Ontario," said Chin.
His trip would lead him through the national parks Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper, over an impressive 300 kilometers in distance.
Self-motivation might develop and improve over a lifetime but it never becomes an easy task. People like Chin are an inspiration and a welcome reminder of how the life of a truly dedicated photographer might look like.
Disclaimer: It is self-evident that many do not have the time nor live under the circumstances that would allow for endeavors comparable to Chin's. However, dedication is scalable and relative. Somebody with a busy schedule who is only able to spend an hour a week with their photographic hobby could still be considered dedicated. With this article I am talking about the times where we could put in the work but choose not to. Chin is the perfect example for somebody who got time on his hands and uses it to work on what he is passionate about.
Images used with permission of Ethan Chin.