As you've probably noticed, I have not been very active communicating lately, no matter if you follow my websites, blog, on Facebook, flickr or twitter or even if you are a close friend. It is NOT that I suddenly fell off the planet or that I've got no interest being social with my fans and friends, but big decisions need to be well thought through, especially if my family will feel the impact of those decisions.
So I needed some time, without any distractions, to try and find solutions on how we can go forward with our new situation. All those decisions of course would be much easier if we would have enough money to cover our financial needs in the meantime - but as a travel photographer we are rich on travel experiences but NOT rich with money - that fact of course complicates this big decision a lot.
I'm sure many of you have similar problems and do understand where I'm coming from.
Let me explain:
My income always was and still is totally based on my photography, since I turned 18, which is a while ago now (can't even remember it - lol). Then when I met my wife Michelle she became the "other half" and helped a lot with her travel industry experience, since then we both live completely from our photography and nothing else. Travel photography was always an interesting job (actually my heart) but also one which never really paid that well. When ever times were tough, it was mostly tougher for travel photographers, like us.
In the last few years the market for travel photography has pretty much collapsed, of course there are still some great photographers surviving but it is getting harder and harder, from year to year. I consider ourselves "lucky" that we are still able to support our lives with it.
Some of my colleagues jumped on the internet wagon writing sensational blogs about "how to make lots of money with travel photography". The headlines are unbelievable, ranging from "rich in a week" to "making lots of money on the side with travel photography".
Well, I don't agree with that. In my opinion they are trying as hard as possible to get people to their websites, nothing else. It is a fact that the market has collapsed and it is very difficult to feed a family as a full time professional photographer in the field of nature, wildlife and travel. If you're willing to spend days and weeks working for a $25 sale then that is ok BUT far fetched from making big bucks or if you have to feed a family.
Some of the pro's I know have some backing through parents, or their wife, or some inherited money but most full time pro's are struggling hard, very hard since the wave of digital photography made it possible to get ok photos without any knowledge.
But lets get back to what I need to share with you - all this talk about market collapsing is mainly to show you how difficult my decisions are. In these rough times I HAVE TO decide NOT to go to WORK anymore - at least for some time, not an easy decision for a workaholic like me.
Not even a year ago our first baby son Daniel arrived to this world. Of course we were prepared that our lives will change, but although we have done everything possible to give him the best start we had to face the fact that Daniel was born with Downs Syndrome.
To make the story shorter, I have decided NOT to do any big overseas photo productions this year. I have a couple of smaller assignments which I will do but that is pretty much it.
Doctors, therapists and specialists are telling us that this is a very important time for Daniel's development and that we can have a lot of positive influence on his development. This was for us the main reason to decide not to go traveling nor to go photographing, at least for this very important year (of course the following years will be important too).
In general this would not have been a difficult decision to stay home with the baby, what makes it so difficult is the fact that I basically don't go to work = no income = scary times. Will we ever recover from this time out? We don't know and frankly speaking we don't care as long as we have food on the table - our son is now most important - thats it - decision made! End of career? Maybe, maybe not.
BUT there are always two sides to look at in this situation. As depressing as it is for me not to go and photograph professionally, I'm very exited on the other side because I finally have time to work on my archive, we finally open our Bed & Breakfast on northern Vancouver Island and YES, finally I have more time for private photo tours and workshops again.
I know many of you will be happy to hear this, I've had so many inquiries over the last few years but our tight shooting schedule was almost always in the way. This left only the larger workshops with 6+ people, it was fun too, I really enjoyed every one of the photo tours BUT honestly, I by far prefer a small photo tour with 1-2 people, especially up here where we live - we have so much to show and photograph.
I finally have time to fire up my Hasselblad X5 scanner and scan some of my slides in RAW format (some of you may still remember the good old days with film in formats like 35mm, 8x6cm and 6x17cm). I also will be able to do some scanning for others, small quantities but still better then none.
I also should have time to finally migrate my older website hickerphoto.com to our new software frame which we've been developing over the last 4 years! That is scary too, we most likely will loose 50% of our traffic, which also means a lot of income.
AND most important I will have time for our little boy which we love so much, we will make sure to give him everything we can to bring his development forward - as far as somehow possible.
Stand by for details on our B&B on northern Vancouver Island, photo workshops and my offers for scanning with the unbeatable Hasselblad X5 Scanner.
Thanks for listening, you may not realize it but you do support us a lot by visiting our websites, as long as you check out our websites, blogs and photos we will have a good chance to go through this difficult time and I know - we WILL recover.