I think a lot of us still don't know what we actually want to for the rest of our lives when it comes to working that 9-5. I was fortunate enough to realize that money isn't the number one priority in my life right now. Although I want to have a super car and a nice apartment above the rest eventually, for now I'm ok with being at home and working on my stuff.
Lets start with thinking about what you are taking in school, and if that will really benefit you in the long run of your career after you graduate. Like, I don't understand the people who go to post secondary just to go and take general classes so they can "figure out" what they wanna do. Why waste that money on stuff you think you might wanna do, you could use that money later on when you actually realize what your niche is and what you need to do to be in that spot you wanna be in. In my case, I thought I wanted to go to film school and become a director and do everything film. I had that in my mind all through high school and was set on doing that forever, but then I did the best thing I could have ever done and bought a camera and started taking photos.
My summer leaving grade 12 I was fortunate enough to be able to shoot Pemberton Music Festival and that was a fucking dream and a half. I met a lot of great photographers and some are even my good friends now. Photography was just a hobby for me until I moved to Vancouver to start my film school adventure. I had a decent amount of free time after class most days as the workload in the beginning was a lot but easy to finish in class if I was focused. I met a few cool people in Van who are now some of my closest friends, just by taking photos on the street in Vancouver. Photography started to really take over my free time every day and every night. I would literally stay downtown taking photos until the last possible sky train was there to take me home at night.
Im not exactly sure what sparked in my mind that made me realize that photography was my true ending destination, but I think the power of Instagram really helped with that. I know a lot of people give hate to Instagram and other social media with all their talk about being stuck behind a screen all day and this and that. My girlfriend especially says I'm "addicted to my phone" and I should interact more with the people around me. But my phone, and Instagram especially has become a part of my daily routine. When you look at your Instagram, you see all of your memories and fun experiences you've had with you and your friends which is what should be there. When I look at my Instagram, I see all the best photos I've taken and each has its own story that I can tell you for a few hours but I know you'll get sick of it after five minutes. Instagram has become a social hub for some of the biggest photographers in the world, and they use that to their advantage to gain an even larger audience from every type of person. There are literal communities that have been turned into group Instagrams to showcase talent around the world bringing photographers together to create amazing art. On top of that there are meet ups, giveaways and workshops that are all organized through Instagram. I do my best to participate in as much of these events and opportunities as I can. All of these are the best ways to showcase your work and find people like yourself to collaborate with. My first real partner / collaborate was Mark Rivera and funny enough I met him on a rooftop. Our photo style was similar and our aspirations in the photography world were pretty much the same, we also both wanted to climb tall shit. He and I became pretty known for being found on the top of skyscrapers in Vancouver. It was a constant rush while being on top of these buildings, always watching for security and trying to find the best shot at the same time. I still remember the first time a big photography page liked one of my photos. GearedNomad hit like on a photo of mine while I was asleep and even decided to leave a comment. When I woke up my photo had been blown out of proportion across my Instagram. That right there, seeing all these people commenting and liking this photo that I had taken, is what made me wanna keep going further. The effect your work has on the people around you and within your social media is really what makes you keep doing what you're doing. I mean of course my own liking for photography is the main reason, but it would get pretty boring just doing it for yourself and having no one behind you supporting you through it all. On top of social media its awesome to have amazing friends and family who will support you every step of the way and are always there to give you ideas and help you when you need it. I think if I didn't have the friends and girlfriend I have now, I wouldn't be doing what i'm doing happily. Knowing i've got people who are always interested in what i'm putting out there is probably the best feeling in the world (besides a good pedicure).
All in all, I believe social media (Instagram in particular) is probably the most influential thing there is to get people off their asses and get em doing what they love. I'm not saying everyone is gonna end up doing what they love for the rest of their lives. But if you think sitting around and waiting for everything to just fall into place is gonna work, well you are dead wrong. Get up and make it happen, and if you don't think you can do it alone then get that support you need. Theres no reason for you end up in a 6x6 cubicle working 9-5 everyday and wondering if Susan will ever give you back your hole punch you lent her nine months ago. I feel like this has become more of a rant about self influence and achieving your goals, it was supposed to be about Instagram but I think I got some of that in there.
See ya in a few days :)