…it’s called work.
I was speaking to a professional photographer friend the other day, and the topic of shooting stuff that you don’t like, or in a manner that you really dislike came up. Not specifically what you’re shooting, but how you shoot, and process the images. (Off the top of my head, I can think of very few images, or scenes that I wouldn’t shoot. I’m not bothered by supposedly extremely offensive stuff by, say, Robert Mapplethorpe, who’s technique I think is on par with the very best. I’m not shocked by some of his racier stuff -I just think it’s silly.)
That goes for how you process stuff as well. I’ve already mentioned elsewhere that I really, really don’t like high dynamic range processing. What would I do if someone offered me a job, but wanted me to do that? I suppose it would depend upon how much they were paying me.
I also suppose, that makes me a whore, of sorts.
The late writer Nick Tosches -a favorite of mine, liked to use a line that his father told him when he was starting out in journalism as a young man, and was seriously concerned about selling out, or not staying true to his literary integrity: “We’re all whores. The objective is to be an expensive whore.” In other words, everyone is a whore, in a manner of speaking, to someone or something, so with that in mind, try to make your whoring ass pay as much filthy lucre as possible.
So, at this point, I’d probably put on my sunglasses and get to work doing whatever someone asked me to do. Well, that is, if I actually know how to do it.
And that leads me to something else: Knowing whether you can do something, or not. Seems to me that just about every artistic endeavor I can think of, there’s a propensity for the creator to fool themselves (at least in the earlier stages of their career) that they’re a lot more capable than they think.
Myself, I’ve been in enough situations as a musician, where I’ve been humbled into the shadows at the back of the stage. I’ve never claimed, nor would I ever have accepted a gig posing as, say, a jazz guitarist, but I’ve been on stage with absolute monster players; the likes of which makes you think, “why the fuck am I even here?”
No one I ever played with intentionally went out of their way to make me feel that way, but my point is, I’ve had my musical ass handed to me enough to know that it’s wise to be honest with yourself in these matters.
When you reach a level of notoriety, or expertise that you become known for, you can pick your battles, so to speak. At this point in his life, I think it’s pretty safe to say that nobody’s asking Don McCullin to photograph their daughter’s 11th birthday party.
But hey! Give me the date, I’m probably available!!!