This is my first real blog post so I'm going to dedicate it to a pretty relevant topic of conversation in my life right now, as I transition to adulthood where the choices are now mine to make about how I live my life, including where to live.
A serious question of mine that I’ve had since I first started my photography and cinematography career is whether or not location matters. This is still up for debate for me personally, because in some ways it does and in some ways it doesn’t.
I live in southern Maryland, close enough to both Washington DC and Virginia that I could travel between the three places quite easily, giving me a wider variety of location opportunities than other people who might, for instance, live in the middle of Idaho. I’m grateful for my location and yet I am still jealous of those from places with an even wider array of location opportunities. Easiest example would be southern California, which remains the location of my dreams since I first started making art. You’ve got Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, all nestled together and densely populated with people like me who understand the desire- and importance- of living in such an area.
However, if you want to make art you have to make it regardless of where you live. Your empty portfolio will mean nothing if your excuse is, "Well, if I lived in California or New York I would have..." Nope, we have to make due with what have. However there seems to be a popular opinion among the photography community that those who live in less photogenic places are better artists because they must work harder to get good shoots. In one particular way, I agree; any person with an iPhone in some beautiful place can capture a stunning photo due just to their surroundings and that's the unfair aspect of the digital age for artists like us. But otherwise location does not dictate talent. In my opinion, you either have the eye or you don't and from there you must grow.
I love my shoots from my travels, their exotic backgrounds paint a prettier picture than ones I formulate at home, trying to find the perfect angle and light and pose. In New York, my brother leans on a brick wall and I take photo, panning down the street covered in rain and it's art and it's beautiful. Here, I drive somewhere, prowl deep into the locations I've used a thousand times before, searching for something new, and then I hope it comes out well, at least enough so to be Instagram worthy. The misfortune of an over-discovered location.
So does location matter? Yes. But does it dictate talent? No.
So all we have left to do is continue to create with what we have, never letting what we don't have stop us from reaching our true potential. And although at times I melt with jealousy as I click on yet another YouTube video of the day in the life of a photographer in LA, I still peel the inspiration from the jealousy and plan a new shoot. All we can do is continue.
Feel free to share your thoughts below.
Just some ideas and thoughts I have as a young creator.