The prospect of leaving behind the “safe route” to pursue a career in photography is daunting at the best of times, but it’s that much more difficult when friends and family don’t support your decision. Here’s a short video that might help you cope if you’re dealing with disapproval or lack of support.
The video, put together by DP Matt Workman of Cinematography Database, is about working “in the film industry,” but his advice applies just as well to world-be working photographers or really anybody pursuing a creative career that isn’t seen as “a real job” by the majority of people.
Workman’s suggestions boil down to understanding where your family’s “don’t do it” advice is coming from, remembering that you are the only one who truly knows what career will help you feel fulfilled/happy, and recognizing that “you owe it to yourself to find what makes you happy, and pursue that at all costs.” Photography can be a lonely pursuit, but it’s far better than trying to squeeze into someone else’s definition of “happy.”
Workman is speaking from experience here. He studied computer science and electrical engineering at university, but once he discovered filmmaking he was hooked. So he left behind what is still one of the hottest job markets in the world, moved to New York City, and began working his way up the filmmaking ladder from the very bottom—no connections, not even a substantial portfolio to his name.
You can imagine that friends and family, brimming with good intentions, did not support this decision, but it’s worked out incredibly well for Workman and he was able to cope with that lack of support by understanding the things outlined above.
If you find yourself facing friends and family who are discouraging you from pursuing photography, give the video above a watch. Each case is different, and your friends and family might even be right this time, but this is a question only you can ultimately answer.