How I Didn’t Become a Professional Photographer and What I Learned Along the Way


Life really is a journey. It has the proverbial beginning middle and end. Now the beginning is luck and the end is inevitability. It’s the “along the way” that gets you. On this lucky friday the 13th, 2011 I can’t help but think about all those things I did, what I’d wished I’d done, what I regret doing, and wondering if so far, have I made a difference.

It seems fame and fortune is such a driving force that if you don’t attain at least one of them you are a failure. Neither are important. Trust me on this. Some people are destined for fame others aren’t and all of us can make enough money to live a comfortable life.

There are things I believe regardless of what others think. Some are below:

I believe,

I’m a talented photographer able to see the world in a dramatic and artistic way regardless of the fact that I rarely sell any work or have it published in magazines.

I believe,

I’m a talented writer even though I haven’t sold a book. I image and wonder in ways most people never will.

I believe,

I have skills and knowledge to help people who are suffering with crisis even without certification!

I believe,

I have left a mark on this world. It is a better place because I’ve been here.

I believe,

Most people put money ahead of humility and friendship and when someone needs them they’re not there.

I believe,

A lot of people give lip service to God but won’t stick their necks out (or their money) to bring the message of Jesus Christ to anyone.

I believe,

We are losing the art of communications and empathic relationships. Just text it.

I believe,

With out passion you will gain nothing.

There is more that I believe but I’ll stop there.

What I do know is this:

I have raised (almost) eight kids of which, one will be a world-class photographer and everyone will know his name, another will succeed in theatre and has already made a reputation for herself in Chicago. Another child is starting her nursing career after finishing college this year and has true drive and passion to quietly give herself to the sick and hurting without awards and fame. Two other kids have wonderful children, provide for their families and carry on our traditions. All of these kids work hard and know the meaning of family. That is something that is lost today. I’ve watched another child struggle with volleyball timid and shy become a skilled player, aggressive and now being recruited by college teams. She has a gentle spirit and a peace about her that will touch the lives of many people.

I also have two children who are troubled and filled with self-doubt and pain. They lay just beyond my reach but I will never stop loving them and reaching out to them in hope.

What have I learned along the way? I’ve learned the simple things are the most important and bring the greatest joy. Reading a book, learning new things, helping others, loving my wife, watching my grand kids grow, living with honor knowing if I stepped on anyone’s back to get where I am today, I have asked them for forgiveness. I’ve learned the most important thing I can do is love God then others and finally myself. I’ve learned to forgive and forgive myself. I’ve learned that stories I write and photographs I take give me joy and the rest of the world is at a loss for not being able to experience them. I’ve also learned to not give up.  Hope is real and that I can teach better than most even though I’m not given the chance. I’ve learned not to waste time being bitter. The world is a wonderful place and learning to live with humility is one of the greatest things I can do. I’ve learned loving my wife is the greatest joy of all.

Peace be with you all on this Friday the 13th and remember 13 really is a lucky number. You just have to believe.

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