My name is Jan Schwarz. I'm a professional photographer and photo editor. That's me. I work at Photography Raoul Somers where I've been for the past 8 years. Mighty impressive, I agree.
I love looking at photos, reading about the great photographers of the past, listening to the great photographers of the present. I also love talking about the technical stuff, the gear, analyzing light situations. I even love taking photos. Yes I do. Except perhaps for families or children at the studio, that's just something I'm not into. Also weddings, just not my thing. Or other events, like birthdays. But still, I'm a professional. Yay protogs! Brofist!
And I'm scared.
And I have no idea where I'm going with all of this.
It's hard to realize you're perhaps not who you wanted to be. Not the way you wanted to see yourself. I'm a photo editor and photo assistant and I think I'm doing a really good job. I'm a perfectionist and have the impression that together with my boss Raoul, the photographer, we make a mighty impressive duo. And perhaps that's it! I love my job the way it is, being an assistant. I love photography but perhaps it's kind of a long-distance relationship?
As a professional photographer you have to deliver. In any situation that might be thrown at you, you have to be able to create a product the client will be happy with. Think ahead of them. And I can do that! In the select range of things I actually like to do. Being a perfectionist requires being able to realize when you need more focus instead of trying to do it all. Put me behind a computer screen, I'd rather work on my boss' photos all day long. Like that I know I'm working to the best of my abilities, just as much he can concentrate on his job. As a protog in the market as it is today, I'm just not satisfied with what I have to do. For the moment I perhaps need to take a step back to get the whole picture. I'm a professional photo editor and photo assistant. And I'm pretty sure I could teach a lot about photography and everything related, so perhaps that might be a plan for the future. I didn't say I'm not a photographer, perhaps I just need to concentrate on the things I like and get rid of the all-purpose label. Or get rid the "professional photographer" tag entirely? Perhaps accepting that makes me a better assistant, a better editor or - possibly - even a good teacher! Like that I can concentrate on what's important in the role I have to play.
The weight of being a professional was pulling me down, so far I actually stopped taking photos in my spare time. It's only been a year now since I took the first steps back into being a passionate photographer by selling all the photo gear that represented nothing but a cumbersome work tool for me and switching to the Fujis. And it's now that I realize that at this point in time, I think I'm happier being - in a way - an amateur again. Amateur means being passionate after all! Aside from the benefit of having some experience now, that is.
Where earlier I needed holidays to get a break from photography I now have the feeling that I want holidays to travel and see the world and - finally - convey those feelings into my photography. Before I went pro, I wanted to show a different perspective, show the subtle, the unseen, through my photos. So am I taking a break now or am I taking my leave? Perhaps I'm just on my way back there. That would be a good thing.