Finding your voice

reposted from my column at Idahopa.com

The hardest thing for me to deal with in my recent career change was my loss of purpose.

As a photojournalist, I felt like I was using my gift for good. I was giving a voice to the voiceless. As a wedding/commercial/gun-for-hire photographer I’ve started to feel like a sell out.

I cut and dyed my hair in a stylish coiffed do, bought new cloths, started networking, all the while my soul started to feel like it was slipping away.

I was too busy to start a personal project with the steep learning curve that comes with grasping marketing plans, quickbooks, and business plans.

The fulfillment that I had felt everytime I picked up my camera had vanished, it was just a job.

So I started thinking, who can I help now. What purpose can I give my life with only a couple of tightly scheduled hours a week.

A friend of mine was fostering dogs with Lane County Animal Shelter, and she showed me the sad photos they had available. The likelihood of a dog being adopted with a great photo is so much greater, and although LCAS is a no-kill shelter, when they run out of room some of the “un-adoptable” dogs that have been at the shelter for months are put down.

Suddenly I had something I could give, a voice to the voiceless. I could give a “death-row” dog the best chance at finding a forever home.

At the Post Register in Idaho Falls I had covered “Pet of the Weeks,” and dreaded every moment. Now I get excited when I drop by for an hour once a week.

Quickbooks, social media marketing, business plans, and networking are important. But more important is your mental well-being during the transition journalism to owning your own business.

If you feel lost, look out in the community and see who is needing help. Is there a boys and girls club that could use photo lessons? Impoverished families who need family photos? Puppies that need saving?

Even without a paper or time for a story there are still ways to help and contribute to your communities. It just takes a tidge of creativity to find your voice :D


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