Passion – An intense desire or enthusiasm for something.

The word has never sat quite right with me, though, I continually pursue it in my life. I can barely stand to say it, but I am truly passionate about following my passions. As it turns out, I am in the right business, because when it comes to photography I have passion. According to the thesaurus the following words are synonyms for passion: enthusiasm, eagerness, love, zeal, spiritedness, fascination, obsession, fixation, addiction and preoccupation. check. check. check.

Interestingly, I’ve found that pursuing passion is not particularly easy. It appears there should be nothing easier in life than doing what I have enthusiasm and love for, right? After all, it’s what I love! There are at least two major obstacles to overcome. The first is a sly one.

Do I really know what my passions are? The gut response is yes, of course I know what I love. But I’ve found that when actually working to define my passions, it becomes less clear, mostly due to the second obstacle.

Do I know the difference between things I like, and things I love? It’s clear that I like to take all kinds of pictures. I’ve enjoyed photographing a wide variety of things, weddings, architectural interiors, school portraits, still life, landscapes, events and the list goes on. I like them all. I’m not passionate about them all.

For several weeks I’ve been working to define what I love most about images and making them. This has been a challenge. I ask myself what do I love, and what do I really love? What am I drawn to for its own sake, without considering what I think its market appeal is.  This is not about finding what kind of work will make me the most money. Forget what sells best, or what the big shot photographers are doing, what kind of imagery has the most draw for me?

I’m excited about this process and the focus it’s bringing to my ‘work’, particularly thrilling is the way that with practice I’m learning to recognize my own passions more clearly, and along with that comes increased confidence to pursue them.

The image at the top has been stuck in my head for several weeks. I haven’t defined why, but I know that it elicits fascination, obsession and preoccupation, also known as passion.

Below are a few other photos from the shoot. The model is Erika Klaar and it’s spring in Alaska. I remember that I was completely consumed by the creative energy on this shoot, buzzing from the thrill of creating images. This is not rare for me while photographing, and that high I feel confirms that I’m doing what I love. Thanks for reading all this, I hope it inspires you to follow your own addictions with greater focus.