The Recycling Beach Bum

Okay, so I have taken some time away from this site just to get my bearings straight, my ducks in a row and to clear the cobwebs from my brain.  In all of this time I have come to one single conclusion.  I have no clue where to go next or what road to take.  I am a beach bum at heart and I am pretty sure I will always be this way.

To anyone who doesn’t know me, I am one of those people who tend to wear many different hats.  Some call it a Jack of all Trades but I prefer the term “Renaissance Man”.  I am a photographer, a carpenter, a musician, a writer and I have a few other skills out there that I can pull out of my hat every now and then.  My latest project has been recycling.  Not in the conventional way you might think of when you hear the word recycle.

I have been collecting discarded wood from old pallets, leftovers from construction sites and from some contractors I know.  We have so much trash in our landfills and I hate to see beautiful wood just thrown away or burned!  I am using this wood as decor at the moment.  Wood that would have been used for dirty work is now a beautiful art piece.  I will have photos coming in the near future as I am almost finished with the loft I have built in my studio space.

With photography becoming more of a side job for me I have been looking for another creative outlet to challenge me.  I think this might be the one!  My goal is to have a small shop set up by the end of the year which will be solely dedicated to creating recycled wood furniture and decor.  There are many hurdles to jump before I can make this happen, but with a little hard work and a lot of luck it just might happen!

Of course I will always be a photographer and I will still be sharing my work here on this site! Some things will never change!

Amanda by The Average Jim

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A good week.

I had a great shoot with Elise yesterday!  I must say that I really like taking head shots.  I should probably put up a portfolio of them on my website as I probably have 30-40 of them that I have never posted!

The thing I like most about taking head shots is not that I am working with actors.  I am working with actors and these shots need to represent who they really are and what they represent.  There is very little acting involved, there is just a certain sense of realism that I like about it.

Plus I get to take photos, that is really what I like about photography, the actual photography process.  You need to know more than just the technical, you need to understand light and then understand how to use it and how to get the mood out of your subject.  You really need to be in touch with yourself, your surroundings and with your subject.  Some people may think it is just pushing a button, but to get good results you really need to practice and work at it.  Like everything else in this world, it doesn’t come easy!

Enough business talk, I’m done for the night, working in the morning and then back to remodeling the studio in the afternoon.  It will be a good end to a very good week!

Here is one of my favorites from yesterday’s session. 🙂

Elise by The Average Jim

What Path are You On?

A lot of people are afraid to be who they really are.  For some reason, at least in the American society, there is this pressure to “fit in”.  But why?  I can definitely say that I am probably the oddball of my family.  I am the only one who moved away, I have never really grown up, at least not by what we call normal standards.  The way I choose to live is probably more what people wish they could live like instead of how they actually live.  I know that sounds like arrogance but I am talking about the freedom I allow myself to have from the “norm” and if I didn’t live my life the way I do I would probably go crazy.

I’m sure some people find security in having a normal job with set hours and weekends off.  I feel trapped when I have a job like that.  I like working, of course my work is always based on what I love to do.  I love music, photography, writing and carpentry.  There are days when I will do all of these things in the span of a 24 hour period.  It’s just what I do.  Today, I was working on top of a 40 foot roof, this afternoon, I am shooting headshots for an actress.  Tonight I might just play my guitar for a little while and I’m writing this blog now. It’s all about balance.

I am who I am.  I’ve tried to play by society’s rules but I always fail.  It is not in the cards for me to have a normal life.  And I’m okay with that.  I may never be rich, I may never do a lot of things.  But one thing I know for sure, I have been living a life I am personally proud of so far.  And to be honest, I am fine with that.  I will continue on doing what I do for as long as possible.  From taking photos to woodworking to whatever inspires me next, this is my path and I am taking it!

Jillian by The Average Jim

Taking it Back

For over the past year I had decided to really push my photography business.  I worked with fashion models, clothing companies and several other clients along the way.  So I was really branching out, moving away from photographing weddings and portraits.  I had worked with several models and actors over the years, but it was usually just people I knew or referrals from other’s I knew who were working in the industry.  It was never a full-time job, not to be confusing, but even though photography was my full-time job, working in the entertainment/fashion industry was not.

So for about the past 18 months I have been pursuing work in the entertainment industry.  These are some of the things I have found out about others and myself.  Networking is a popularity contest and you have to agree with everything people say if you want to work with them.  Lies are told on a regular basis so people can make themselves look and feel better about themselves.  If you have integrity you miss out on a lot of opportunities.  Self-help people and life coaches are really there just to pat you on the back and tell you how wonderful you are, most just want your money.  Sex sells, and it also gets you the job.

I tried to “play the game” for a year.  Honestly, it was killing me.  It brought out more negativity than I could ever have imagined.  I don’t like being negative, I don’t like being around negative people.  I was given unsolicited advice about how to live my life by some of the biggest hypocrites I have ever met.  Well, now, I’m done.  Not with photography, not with working with models and actors.  I’m just going back to the way I used to do it.  If you’re cool and a positive person I will photograph you.  If you’re just playing the game of trying to get likes on your Facebook page or you want some sort of weird attention from me, I’m just not into that.

I have even left many photography forums because of the amount of negative energy that is created in them.  Most of the complaints come from part-time photographers who have no idea how to run a business.  Or there are people who complain about those who do make a lot of money and the list goes on and on.

This may sound like I am complaining, but I’m really not.  This is just my own little experience and it is being told from my side of the fence.  Basically, I’m going back to my own little world here at the beach.  This is where everything is nice and peaceful.  No drama, no competition, just wonderful sunny days working with some great clients.

I will continue to photograph weddings, portraits, landscapes, my pets, and I might even still do some fashion work.  I am even doing more woodworking and construction again along with playing music.  To me it has always been about balance and I feel like I had lost it over the last year.  I want it back and the only way to get it back is to take it back.

I am a practicing beach bum.  Some people practice medicine, some practice the law, I practice living life in a positive, laid-back style.  No worries, positive vibes and good times.  This is my new goal, everything else is in the past.

The Salton Sea by Jim Minics

Want to be happy?

1 ) Stop pointing the finger at others.  You can only be responsible for your own actions.  Which also means take responsibility for you own actions.

2 ) Listen with an open mind.  People’s instinct is often to argue and to prove someone else wrong.  You don’t have to be right all of the time, and you don’t have to be wrong.  Sometimes it is okay to just not know the answers.

3 ) Have compassion and respect for all living things.

4 ) Empathy.  Put yourself in someone else’s situation and try to feel what they must be going through.  This is harder to do than you may think.

5 ) Help when you can, but do not feel guilty if you just cannot help.  Just do what you can, when you can.

6 ) Breathe.  Relax.  It does not change the course of the universe if someone cuts you off on the freeway.

7 ) Make yourself happy.  If you are only trying to please others you will never succeed.

8 ) Smile, laugh, and enjoy time with others.

9 ) Give.  Whether you give time or money, just make sure it is from the heart.

10 ) Love.  Love something, have passion about something, anything!  Just love!

 

Anyone can do all of these things in less than 30 minutes a day.  It doesn’t really take much effort at all, it just takes the effort.  It is easy to want to tell someone off, get angry and lash out.  But how does that really help you?  I do agree, some people could learn a lot from a swift kick to the behind.  But most of the time our anger takes over rather than us making a rational decision to knock some sense into someone.  Just think before you act, and if you catch yourself in the middle of doing something stupid, call yourself on it.  Nobody else needs to know, just be aware of your own actions and suddenly it doesn’t matter what other people do.

Problems

So many people have problems with so many issues.  Some of these issues are things that are 100% our of your own control.  You can only control yourself and you cannot control the decisions that others make.  Focus on what you can control and work from there.

I tell this to myself all of the time.  As a friend of mine once said, and I refer to this because of all that is going on in our country these days. “America may not have it all right, but there are many worse places in the world, we are lucky to have been born here, we are lucky we have the freedom to not like something and to be able to say so.” I probably should not have quoted that, it was more paraphrasing… but you get the idea.

Not everything will go right for you, but that is okay, it is all part of life.  Learn, live, grow and repeat.

Monique

 

A Little Randomness

I really miss riding my bike.  I feel like I need to get out and just start riding in the mornings or something like that.  I don’t really care about riding fast or slow, I just want an excuse to ride.  It would be kind of cool to just hop on my bike, ride down to the beach and photograph random strangers who will let me take their picture.  I have wanted to do a project like this for a while now.  No rules, just random portraits of people.

I may have to start doing this as soon as possible!  My new goal should be to carry my camera with me at all times.  You never know who you are going to run into or when an opportunity will arise to take a great portrait.

Robyn

Return of The Beach Bum

I have been away from this site for quite a while now.  Call it going on walk-about or just call it me trying to find out who I really am.  I guess both of those are basically the same thing.  For the past year I have been focusing on my photography career.  Working on new ideas, mostly in the fashion and commercial markets, taking some time away from weddings, although I did shoot several weddings this year.  It was supposed to be a year of work, a year of defining myself as a photographer but it didn’t quite go the way I thought it would.

There is a reason why I live where I do.  I am away from the hustle of the city, I am also away from the negativity that can and often does come from there.  I love the west coast, but if I am perfectly honest with myself, I don’t think I could ever live in Los Angeles.  I am only an hour from downtown LA, but it really does seem like it is a world away.

It has been an interesting life lesson, this whole year.  I have seen the true colors of people, some that I didn’t think I would see.  This has really made it easy for me to come to the conclusion that I really like being a beach bum.  I like not being part of “The Scene” and just being able to be me in a small town by the ocean.  There is a certain simplicity to it which makes me able to focus and look at life through my own eyes and not those of some creative director.

I like working with people.  I like photographing people.  I like finding out about other people and I really do find them interesting.  When I am on a photo shoot with someone I talk a lot, part of this is to make my subject comfortable, but when you open up about yourself they will also be more inclined to open up about themselves, and this is when the magic happens.  This happens whether I am photographing a wedding, a fashion model or one of my personal art projects.  It is all about connecting with people.  The older I get, the more I appreciate it.

The industry is not good for me.  I see that now.  I do have a few clients who will make the journey to my studio in Ventura, I will still take those jobs.  But I am over trying to compete in an industry where you have to push someone down just so you can rise above the crowd.  It just isn’t in me to be that way.  I like living a positive vibe lifestyle.  I don’t want to worry about who ripped off my idea and sold it as their own.  I just do what I do.  And once again am truly living out my philosophy of “what other people think of me is none of my business.”  All this means is that I am no longer concerned with impressing people and trying to prove how good I am at something.   I don’t need to say how good I am, my work speaks for itself, either you like it or you don’t.  Either is fine with me.

I love being a photographer, I love being a musician, I love to write and I still love to work with my hands.  Life is about living your own life, and my life is about what I call being a beach bum.  What is yours about?

Hannah by Jim Minics

Monday is a good day!

So many of us hate Mondays.  Mostly because we have to go back to work, interrupt our fun time and venture back into reality for the next 5 days.  But Monday can be a fun day.  It’s the beginning of the week, the start of something new.  Don’t let Monday get you down, look at it as a way to start what you have always wanted to start.  Today is a day that brings hope and promise of a new day.

If you want to be mad at something, be mad at the inventor of the alarm clock! 😉  Have a great Monday!

Here are some of my favorites from a shoot with Kaley just a few days ago!

Making sense of it all

There is an old saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  I know I’ve touched on this subject before but I just don’t understand this mentality.  If this is true then what was Ben Franklin?  Or how about Leonardo di Vinci?  Thomas Edison was pretty good a few things too.

I was reading an article about people who were considered Renaissance Men.  I’m not saying that a woman can’t be this way either, it’s just a title after all.

The article basically was talking about how certain people think.  How they learn and move from subject to subject.  It’s about making sense of it all and showing a genuine interest.  I was told recently how I need to pick one path and follow that path.  They could not understand at all how I could relate photography, philosophy, carpentry, music and all of the different things I do together.  Now personally I think it makes total sense.

There is a connection to photography, carpentry and music, the connection is math.  Rhythm and arithmetic and don’t get me started on all of the math involved with photography!  Another connection is how I love to work with my hands and be creative.  So where does philosophy come in…. well, I think you have to have a certain understanding of the Universe when you follow a different path.  I accept that people won’t understand me all of the time but that’s okay, I will not necessarily understand them all of the time.

Maybe it’s just about finding your place in the world, and mine just happens to be right here at the beach.