Over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling disenchanted by the internet and the world of internet models and photographers. What used to be this shiny, new game to me has become a blur of the same images, the same people and a constant nagging in the back of my mind that tells me I should be creating more, doing more, networking more, and so on. This is a recurring feeling that I deal with, but this time it won’t go away.
As some of you may know, I recently spent a week on the road with a really good friend and photographer and during a lot of that trip, I had no internet access or cell phone service, and when I finally did pick up reception and flip through Tumblr, all it did was annoy me in one way or another. With my phone off and nothing but the road and a friend, I was happier than anything on the internet has ever made me.
Now the trip is over, and I’m settled in and I keep wondering what I should feed to my Tumblr next, what will make people like me, what image will get me recognition or a job or something that I can qualify as being worth it. But once I stand back and look at it, here’s the bottom line: Feeding my images to Tumblr has never once got me money, fame, happiness or even a cup of coffee. Yes, I get sweet messages occasionally and I genuinely do appreciate them, but I’m tired of giving my work to the internet so that it can either be ignored, labeled as porn, or half-liked for a millisecond before moving on to something else.
Some of the images that were taken of me on my trip are fucking lovely. And I realized that I don’t even want to give them to the internet. I don’t want an image that I love to be passed over in favor of a snap shot of someone’s ass, I don’t want countless people who don’t give a fuck about me to see that moment of my life because they don’t know or care who I am anyway. When I started modeling it was just about having my picture taking and seeing the end result. Now, it’s about the art, and I no longer consider myself a model. When I am part of an image that I care about, I don’t want to give it away as if it’s nothing. I’m tired of feeding you, internet, you give me nothing in return. It’s time for me to feed myself.
I am not retiring from this world, you can still find me on Model Mayhem and you can still see a select collection of images on my website. There are still many talented people who I would be happy to work with and create with and laugh with. But I’m done with the fluff.
Harry Callahan took one of my favorite images of all time of his wife Eleanor, whom he shot for over 50 years. He produced about 6 final images a year even though he shot nearly every day. And that beautiful image he took of his wife is in my brain and will be until the day I die. That’s what I want to be a part of. I don’t want to be in 10,000 images floating around amidst the other countless millions to prove I’ve done something. I’d rather be in one that I gave a shit about. We are all surrounded by so many images that I can barely see straight anymore. We all work with the same people, make the same faces, have the same poses and at some point I have to close my eyes because I can’t see myself anymore among all of the other images.
This is me closing my eyes. Focusing on me. Creating images that make me feel something. This is me giving a shit about my work and putting my soul into it, instead of doing it just to say I did it. This is me letting go of any far off dream I’ve had of “becoming someone”, or being “internet famous”. This is me letting go and just being me again. This is a good thing.