For years I’ve done volunteer work, volunteer work as a photographer. For years I’ve read the arguments as to why this may not be a good idea, and they may be right, but for me, volunteering is the right decision in some cases.
I volunteer because it makes me happy. That simple. I love that it helps people out, whther that be people who are having a hard time, or people that could use hand, or helps the arts in it’s many forms. The volunteering I do, I believe, helps people, makes people happier, and makes the world a better place, and that makes me happy.
I ultimately am a pretty simple man, I like to be happy. If volunteering someplace, or someway, doesn’t make me happy, doesn’t give me a sense of fulfillment, then I don’t do it, and I don’t do it because it doesn’t make me happy. That’s ultimately selfish, but that’s fine with me, I can live with myself knowing that.
I do the work when I can, and when I can’t I say “no”. I say “no” to shoots whenever they conflict with something else I’d rather be doing with my day, or with work, because I need money too. That’s one of the benefits of being a volunteer, being able to say “no”, being able to set the bounds that work for you.
Now the argument against doing this, and I’ve never read it as a hard argument, but more as something to seriously consider, is that there are other people in these organizations which are making money, are earning a living helping out these organizations. Why shouldn’t the photographer, who is also providing a valuable service, get compensated?
I’ve done plenty of work for non-for-profits where I have gotten paid. I’ve loved it when I’ve had that work. I feel good, I feel like I’ve done something meaningful for the world around me and I’ve put food on my table. It’s a total win situation. It’s great, but again, why sometimes would I do essentially the same work and not get compensated?
I’m not going to say I shouldn’t get compensated, I’m not going to say any photographer, or person, shouldn’t get compensated, they should. They totally should, but sometimes that just isn’t possible for everyone. The world’s an imperfect place and there’s never enough money to go around, if there was the whole profession and basis of economics would come crashing down. At some point I have decided, and I imagine many others have decided, that other forms of compensation are worth it.
I have long since decided, that in some cases, and only some cases, that the reward of the happiness I receive volunteering is worth doing the work. I’d love to get paid, who wouldn’t? But at the end of the day, between not doing the work and doing the work and being happy for it, I choose doing the work.
I enjoy going home, feeling happy, feeling fulfilled. I’m happy with what I did. And I volunteer so I can be happy, so I can be fulfilled, so I can be the person I want to be today.
And when that calculus changes, then I’ll move on, but that ain’t today.
So I’m working on a new thing, a thing to get more visitors. As some have probably noticed my images are now watermarked, they also link to my store so you can buy them in various forms. That’s all well and good, so now I need to get them seen more.
To that end, below this post, and all previous posts is a box that gives you the code to insert one of my images on another website or blog. Hopefully it’s easy to use and people do use it.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not a fan of copyright infringement, but I am fine with people using my images, sometimes even at no charge, as long as it’s done with my permission and my terms. This is a way to make my terms clear, and make it easy for people. I’m a believer that most people want to do the right thing, they just need to be given a way to do it, and I want to give people a way to share my images that benefits them and me.
Over time I’ll probably change the code a bit, I’m trying to figure out to get the code to make the link to my site the page which the image was viewed on and not the homepage, but that’s just more coding fun. I love my coding fun. But for now, it’s here, it works and let me know if it helps you.
Just a heads up, in the next week or so the location of my blog will be moving to http://www.joshhawkins.com/blog/ and off of the front page. The front page is going to become more of place for people who’ve never been here before and who might want to give me money. Same basic design, just not the last 10 images, instead more of a “best of” thing.
The changes I’m making appear to be coming along nicely, except, and this is a biggie, they don’t work quite with Internet Explorer, the lastest version, they work fine with older versions, Firefox, Safari, all the decent browsers (I’d include Chrome I just haven’t tried it yet.)
Anyway, I had been going back and forth on some changes, but as Plan A won’t work with Explorer, I’ll go with Plan B, which should, I had been leaning towards Plan B anyway. So, more changes coming over the weekend.
I’m now implementing a host of new services.
First and foremost, if there is an image you want to buy, you should be able to just click on it, maybe twice, once to get to the post, then in the post, and it will take you to my site where you can directly purchase the image.
If you follow the same routine, you can also license the image, if say you own an ad company, or you can get a link that will let you, totally legitimately, post my images in your blog or site. I want people to share my images, I make them to be seen after all, but I do also want the credit and hopefully, some money. So now, you should be able to do that, easily.
My sales site isn’t finished yet, by any means, and it will be a few weeks till it is. Finishing it is a fair amount of work, and the people it’s through are updating some stuff next week so I’m going to wait a few days and do it when it will be easier anyway.
The blog portion of my site will probably be moving off the front page and onto another page, probably named blog, so that people coming here from search engines see what I want them to see first rather than what I did yesterday. This site is still staying a blog, and I’m still going to post everyday, just a slight change of url. I may make it overlap for a week or two, or I may not, but I’ll definitely tell ya when it happens.
Also, maybe not every time, perfectly, right away, but you’ll regularly start seeing footers on my posts (and currently it’s not working, hmm). I feel bad when people come to my site looking for info about hiking around Vegas and I don’t direct them anywhere. So I’m going to try to direct them someplace useful for outdoor info. Also I’m going to encourage people to buy and share my images. So hopefully this happens soon.
The copyright logo is going to change, many times probably. Any useful feedback I’ll take. Thanks in advance for that.
So please bare with me as things change, and in a few weeks when the dust settles and I’ve made my first million, let me know about problems. I would say do so immediately, but I know of way to many I’m working on and hopefully the problem you’re seeing is already on my list, but in a month I’ll need you’re help.
Thanks, and have a good weekend.
So I’m working on many things on the ongoing website update, some noticeable, some not. One of the items that I’m hoping to get done this weekend is a set of useful links and a blogroll. So…
Hit me up with suggestions, send me your blog, all that good stuff.
Yeah, so things on this blog have changed a bit over the course of this year. First a little catch up then the current stuff.
In case ya need a quick refresher, this year I have, in order:
- Found out I knocked up the girlfriend
- Been laid-off
- Moved from Chicago to Las Vegas (the weather is so much better here)
- Enjoyed my Illinois unemployment insurance while job hunting
- Lost the baby (Bean) in the 32nd week of pregnancy
- Got a seasonal job
- Seasonal job seems to be turning into a regular, possibly even full-time job
Okay, it’s been a busy year. 2008 was a brutal year and 2009 was supposed to be a year I could recover in. I’m going to say that goes in the “fail” category in just about the ultimate way.
When it comes to my photography I am, admittedly, kind of emotionally checked out. I’m not prepared to work on heavy projects. I’m not prepared to deal with in-depth serious issues. I’m just enjoying composition, light, texture, all that stuff. I’m enjoying making pretty pictures and not necessarily story-telling images. I want to do that, I want to do that again, I don’t want to do that today. Today I just want peace and to enjoy the beauty of the world.
So for the last couple of months I’ve been working in Vegas for a company that does most of the school and yearbook photography in town. It’s wasn’t the perfect job, it was a job.
After doing it for a few weeks I discovered something interesting, it actually wasn’t bad, it was pretty decent. It’s not as creative as what I had been doing, but it’s got a few advantages: it’s pretty easy for me to do, it’s a job where my skill set is useful which means I can get the job, I’m challenged in different ways than I have been before, I get to do some stuff of the other stuff they do which is more fun, and it’s in a field that isn’t evaporating like water on an August day in Las Vegas (which let me tell you, you may think is fast, but is actually even faster.)
So the work I’m doing ain’t perfect, nor am I millionaire yet (damn you grocery store slot machines!) but I’m working, I’m making money, I’m enjoying myself, I’m learning some new skills, and I’m working with some pretty nice people, which is a pretty strong selling point.
One of the downsides of my current job is that I can’t use any of those images on my blog or website. So while many weeks I may out at many football games, and volleyball games, soon basketball and wrestling. I can’t post any of them. Any of the other stuff I shoot for the Job I can’t post also.
So that means whereas this blog was previously a large number of my work photos with other various personal photos and freelance photos and whatever else, that large blog of work photos are gone, I’m building new contacts and freelance clients in Vegas but that takes time so for now it’s all photos I create in my free time, at least for a while.
Now, to be fair, I still enjoy doing my oddball stuff and meeting the oddball people, but it’s a slower process to have that happen at this point. There will still be those images, just not as many. Obviously.
Also, on lark I started publishing a new image everyday. I did it for fun. I’m enjoying it, so I’m going to try and continue it. If nothing else it pushes me to keep shooting for me, whatever that may be, I have to do it. That’s a good exercise I’ve recommended to many people, shoot and keep shooting, and now it’s my turn, again, to take my own medicine.
Welcome to my new blog and website. It’s a combo thing. And it’s new. I’m not. I’m the same. I’m old.
I’d really appreciate comments and suggestions. I’m making tweaks here and there still, definitely uploading content still, but regardless, I may not, am probably not, working on what you think needs to be changed. So please let me know what you think I should change to make this blog and site better.
Thanks. Have a good morning/afternoon/evening/late night snack.
I’m working on updating the stories section. It’ll take a bit, mostly because I’m a bum and playing with the dogs.
In the meantime I’ve put up a link to the old site’s story page.
So many a moon ago I created a MySpace account for myself. I did this primarily to get info and do basic background research on people or groups I was helping out and keep up to date on upcoming performance by groups I like. Fine, dandy, whatever.
I avoided putting much info up on my account…just because. I generally am against MySpace. More accurately, I kinda despise MySpace, loathe would also be accurate. The reason here is simple, bad graphic design. It is my belief that MySpace is a den of piss poor graphic design. This is unacceptable in my world. I’m a photographer, I want pretty, or at least communicative and clear. This is not MySpace, generally. (Don’t even get me started on self-starting music, other than Shiny Toy Guns and Leslie, they’re fine, actually they’re good, I’ll go to those pages just for those, but that’s just because they’re good, everything else is just rude. I’ve turned into a grumpy old man, at 32.)
Well, a few months back I found out that a friend had forwarded an image of mine to another friend via their MySpace account. I had no problem with the friend doing this, I was happy to help out the artist and I’m glad I was able to, but to figure out what and where things were going I had look at her MySpace account (I’m way to curious of a soul). Normally this would be no big deal, except her account, the friend, was set to private. This meant I needed to add her as a friend. I hadn’t added anybody as a friend, it kept me off the radar. Think of it as “Stealth Josh”, my preferred MO.
As soon as It had a “friend”, and I kinda liked it when I just had the one, it had a certain desperate pathetic-ness to it that I found humorous, but I felt like I should then do something with my MySpace account. I still haven’t done much, but I’ve done a little, namely add a few more friends, it just seemed like to much pressure on one person for her to be my only friend. But this has all raised the question for me, what do I do with this thing, my MySpace account, and how do I get it to work for me? Well I enjoy catching up with old friends, and that’s useful, ultimately I want to get some business use out of this thing, that’s why it exists in my mind, but how and through what use?
Hopefully eventually answering those two questions will lead to what to add to my account and how leverage it to make it useful. In the meantime, the whole thing just confuses me. I’m open to suggestions btw, please.
PS. Yes, this also makes me feel old. “Them troublemakers and their MySpacey stuff!!!”
I recently had to change my internet service provider. Don’t ask, at least not today. Suffice it to say I’m not happy with my previous service provider but I am happy to be rid of them. So for future use if you need to email me please use my firstname.lastname@example.org address. This will be my main address for the foreseeable future. If you are using one my earthlink addresses, well, they are going away.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
I hate entering contests. Mostly because it just feels like doing paperwork. I’m going through old work, at most doing minor toning, and otherwise rewriting captions, renaming and getting images to the requested specs.
But it’s good to do also. One, there is always the chance I could win something. Though past experience has taught me that that chance is pretty small. On the other hand if you don’t shoot you don’t score, so take the shot.
Second, if I do win, it gets me some points in the newsroom which will hopefully get me something in need, space maybe, down the line.
Third, it looks good on the resume. I don’t know why I care about that as I haven’t updated it in years, but it sounds like a good reason.
The above image is from a foundry on the south side of Chicago where the owner (pictured) wants to convert this room for blacksmithing. I love people who love a craft.
Also, note the redesign of the site. Okay, I’ll note the redesign of the site and you’ll read and not know what I’m talking about.