Why we all need an alternative vocation

As some of you know, part of my life has been spent as a professional photographer.  In some ways, it was my first career.  My dream in elementary school was to be a newspaper photographer.  That was in an era when newspaper and magazine photographers were appreciated, valued and compensated.  However, I got side tracked by a career in snow shoveling with my younger brother.  

Then came seminary, family, kids, dogs and mortgage.  I resurrected the photography gear and went to work in the late 90's doing wedding and portrait work, initially for fun, then later for profit in order to send my son to college.  It was either that or lay the burden of a ton of student loans on the kid.  The wedding work paid well, but it was the portrait work that I loved.

I photographed a Modern Dance Group on the Beach 

A decorated sailor who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor

Surfer's on the beach, and an Old Man of the Sea

Street portraits for anyone who came along 

In time a ventured out in composite portraits with various Musicians and Hip Hop Artitists

There were athletes

It was a grand run, a creative burst of energy.  At midlife I was able to explore both a creative as well as a technical aspect of life that was not formally connected to parish ministry.  In many ways, it kept me going in parish ministry longer.   

I firmly believe that everyone needs an alternative vocational, some call it an avocation.  If you have another area of focus (gardening, or pottery, or carpentry or learning another language or music, or acting or you fill in the blank) it allows you to see the world differently, meet new people, reframe your consciousness.  It actually improves your main work. 

With very few exceptions, the trip to Israel/Palestine, I haven't had the cameras out very much in the last year and a half.  Infact, I sold most of my gear after being elected.  But, now I'm starting to carry the camera around more and more.  I'm not looking for jobs, not at all.  No, rather, I'm looking at life, at moments and people, expressions and impressions.  Today the camera is a tool for spiritual interpretation of the world around me.  Today it's functioning as an expression of my prayer life.  

Be ready, I just might take your portrait at an unexpected moment.