For years I have been involved in the field of education. I have been a teacher, a tutor, an advisor, an administrator, and a student of the very art of teaching. I was driven, passionate about becoming a teacher and one day running my own classroom and bringing a different light to the world of education.
However, the further I got into the field, the more I became disenchanted. I was growing tired, not of education, but of the institution of education. I soon realized that education and learning are two completely different subjects. I have worked in elementary schools, private schools, high schools, middle schools, state and private colleges, and big name universities. Throughout these different types of the same institution I found that education often is used as a tool of conditioning rather that actual learning.
For me learning is an adventure. Within learning there is an inherent risk. But many of the college students I meet these days go into whatever field is supposed to make money the fastest. The entire concept of college is a rushed and inconvenient hurdle that needs to be done with already so we can finally get out and make money as fast as possible. More and more, I see brilliant, creative young minds submitting themselves to the safest, risk adverse fields of study for the sake of making money fast. Our instant gratification consumerism has reduced education to a mere administrative duty, rather than a time of relative freedom and risk taking to find what truly drives the soul and how far our inherent talents can take us.
Our entire system of capitalism is based on specialization. Why do I specialize in photography and art instead of law or construction? Because through self exploration, through learning about my own strengths, I know I am much more effective as a photographer. I would not enjoy law or construction, and even after briefly learning about those topics I realized I would not be very good at it. Therefore I specialize in what I am inherently good at. If each person follows their own talent, we will have a society of specialized individuals who are making a life out of their own passion, and because those passions stem from creativity and expertise of those who are in those fields, each person would be an expert in his or her own field.
But if people are never allowed to find what they are inherently talented in and instead pursue degrees that are supposedly safe and secure, you will get people who are not very good at law pursuing a law degree. Someone who would be better suited as an artist or designer is instead doing your taxes, and undoubtedly not doing them as well as another individual who is inherently better with numbers. Someone who may be great a music is instead trying to diagnose your disease, and more often than not refers to a generic prescription for an ailment that is unrelated to what you have. Therefore you get a massive degrading of these fields. By everyone going into only one of the safe fields, science, business, or engineering, you've dumbed down the entire field.
As I've stated before, even though Americans live longer than before, we also get old a lot faster. Our younger years are full of freedom and our brains are sharp, in tune with learning and taking risks. While we have no family, mortgage, real estate, or any other major obligations, we have the freedom to take many risks and through trial and error, through networking and experiences, we have the opportunity to find that passion, that field that utilizes our skills and our abilities beyond our perceived limits, while we enjoy the journey of self discovery and learning in that which makes us happy.
Instead, education has become a cowardly thing. People bumble through degrees reading books and memorizing information that has nothing to do with what we truly love. That's why I have broken apart from the entire field of education. I've grown disgusted with the way the institution has cheapened it, degraded it, and fully persuaded the next generation to only find what's quick, easy, and comfortable, as long as you can scratch by with a C-.
When I discovered photography, it was a renaissance in my own life. I discovered an art, a passion that makes my heart beat faster. I have an inherent sense of composure, color, and the way a visually stunning photo should look like. I have a gift, a vision that makes me create art work that touches people. After 30 years of my life, I have finally discovered this. I am grateful that I discovered this passion at all, for far too many people will go their entire lives, bumbling through college and bumbling through a field they are not very good at in the first place, and will go to their graves never discovering their inner passion and talent. Far too many people will go through life not realizing what profession, what field would have suited them best.
One of the greatest lessons I am learning as an entrepreneurial photographer is that in order to really make a difference, you must present something different. I cannot just offer cheaper or better photos, but I have to think outside the box, use my creativity before I ever pick up the camera, and let it be known that my style, my vision can offer something that nobody else can. It's not about being better, it's about being different, standing out and above the rest to deliver my own style of photos that nobody can compete with.
I know that I will become hugely successful as a photographer one day. I will lead a large studio, work with many make up artists, hair stylists, designers, models, and fashion directors to create photos that will turn heads, trigger something in the mind that can change or impact someone's decisions. I realize I have this talent, and I want to live my life to fulfill this, to make the absolute most of it.
When I do, when I've accomplished all that I can, perhaps I will come back to education. Maybe at that time I can step into the front of the classroom as a living example that if your pursue what you love, if you relentlessly chase after where your passion takes you, you can make money. I want to be the living example that people can do more than just survive. They can thrive while living they life that they choose to live.
Vagabond Digital Imaging