I started my work as a travel/humanitarian/cultural photographer kind of by accident but definitely with open eyes.  I hadn’t really ever planned on being this kind of photographer, but because of my wife and I’s love for cultures and desire to make a living in a socially and economically developing area and my passion for photography, here I am.  I, from the bottom of my heart, love what I do, but in my heart of hearts, I’m a studio portrait photographer -a flash geek – a strobist.

Because I didn’t come into this profession with the true and direct intent to land here, I believe I’ve been able to see a different side of this kind of photography.  Some of the conversations that suround the travel photography world really make me think about whether or not people are really counting the costs of this type of profession.  I hear people say all the time that they want, as their deepest desire, to be a travel or  humanitarian photographer.  I just have to stop and wonder if they, for a second, have taken off the rose colored glasses.

Before I start in, let me just say that I love travel, cultural, and humanitarian photography.  I just love photography.  I love that photography will eternally challenge me as an artist. I love that photography makes me feel incredibly and terrifyingly human.  Photography has the ability to not only challenge the viewer but also the photographer.  I love how it can transcend culture and how a single moment in time can be made timeless.  I love how photography can truly create change.  There’s a lot to love about it, isn’t there?

Here’s the thing though – Like every job on the planet, this one is a mixed bag.  There are lot of struggles and tough times that come with the territory.

Yesterday was one of those days that reminded me of how tough it can be.  My grandfather died yesterday, and not only could I not afford to get back home, I couldn’t have even made it intime if I had tried.  Continuing on, I’ve yet to meet a travel photographer who didn’t just feel like he had unpacked… right before he or she was packing up to go out again.  I plan my life in 6 month chunks around tour season.  Sometimes culture can really just be downright annoying rather than beautiful.  Change is difficult to come by and furthermore it’s hard when people don’t sympathize with what you are deeply passionate about.  It’s a lot like getting kicked in the gut – repeatedly.  Try being married and doing this – It’s not easy at all – the list quite honestly goes on.

This profession is hard and it can take a toll on you if you let it – heck, it’s going to take a toll on you no matter what.  A majority of the time it’s not even close to glamorous, and honestly, a lot of the time, it just sucks. It’s times like these where I really have to ask myself if it’s worth it.  I know it really is worth it on so many different levels, and it’s that long list of things that I love that get me through the hard times.

What gets you through the times when it just kinda sucks?