The insecurities of a freelancer
Back when I started working as a freelancer (which in my mind has the definition of ‘without a boss’ or ‘without a permanent contract’) I got nervous every time I had a period without many assignments. But than – after a couple of years – you get used to those periods and you realize they are a natural occurring part of doing business. Clients come and go based on the seasons, the financial situation of the world and your skills. Some will come back, some will go bankrupt or some will just move to others. That could be because of price or whatever other reason. And that’s ok. I’ve been in this game long enough to know that a customer leaving you for someone else is a natural thing to happen and can sometimes even be a good thing.
But recently I’ve started to feel a different kind of anxiety. One that has nothing to do with skills but more with the simple fact of getting older. In food photography especially it seems there is a enormous surge of new talent. Every blogger calls him- or herself a photographer. Sometimes rightfully so and sometimes they should maybe wait with putting that title behind their names. As an effect of all that young talent, prices are going down and the number of jobs are going down too.
Budgets – especially in the publishing world – are always under strain, at least they are here in the Netherlands. Let’s face it: one of the reasons that so many bloggers have their own cookbooks, is because it is the cheapest and most secure way of creating a cookbook. They tend to do everything. They cook, they style, they take the pictures and on top of that they also have a large network of ‘fans’ that will definitely buy the book. So an ideal situation.
But for me it kind of poses a problem of sorts. Not right now. I still have plenty to do and plenty of cookbooks to shoot (and commercial things and restaurants and such) and no complaints in that area but looking forward I am not so sure if the situation will be the same in two or three years.
Let’s face it: I am not getting any younger any time soon (god, wouldn’t that be cool? If we could do a Benjamin Button style of getting younger? Not as young as Benjamin though… but I wouldn’t mind being thirty again!) and that pesky ankle of mine is not likely to get any better over time, plus it is likely that a lot of jobs will slowly start to move to the younger generation (god, I feel like 75 saying that… 🙂 ) That is just the natural flow of events. Or at least I think so.
Which brings me to the next issue at hand: what on earth am I gonna do if I can no longer make a living by taking pictures of food? Quite a scary concept to think about I have to say but one I really have to think about now as it doesn’t work pushing it forward to a couple of years in the future when it might be too late.
So if anyone has a brilliant follow up career please let me know! 🙂 On the positive side: I am studying for my nutrition degree at the moment so maybe I can do something with that (don’t know what yet) going forward. Time will tell!