Oh, Life

       I had a birthday.  There was a cake, and it looked like sushi.

      The Baroness had a new life experience and went to the beach.

    Oh Uzi, you are cute.

This is our new car.  A 1968 Porsche 912.  The bumper needs to be reattached, but otherwise it is my ultimate dream car.

All photos © Emily Shur 2008
                                        
I’ve been having a lot of conflicting feelings about life, mine to be exact, lately.  I turned 32 recently (September 28th, if you want to mark it in your calendars for next year).  Growing up, 32 was OLD.  I thought I’d be married, have kids, have short mom-type hair, and that the fun part of my life would be a distant memory at this point.  Little did I know that 32 isn’t old at all, but it is older.  I am married.  No kids though.  I still have long hair….some of it is turning grey unfortunately.  I dye the grey out.  I mean, I wouldn’t want to look old, right?  I have certain financial and personal responsibilities that come with age – a house, a dog, a car, running a “business”, making a living.  I am very lucky in many respects.  Everyone I truly care about is healthy.  We are not in the midst of losing our house to foreclosure or anything like that.  I have a wonderful husband, and a handful of wonderful friends.  I guess my main beef with life right now, is that I feel slightly lost in my photography.  

I debated whether or not I should write about this (publicly).  I feared it might sound too negative, or come off as weak or whiny.  I decided that I would write about it because, well, I want this blog to be sincere and to be an outlet for me and anyone who might want to know what it’s like to make a living with one’s art.  I feel like I’m in one of those transitional periods where my work is shifting.  This is a good thing I suppose, but I haven’t had too many opportunities to professionally showcase this shift.  I also feel that in my work, I’m not getting the visual point I’m trying to make across, and I’m not 100% sure of what that point is anymore.  Therein lies what I am guessing is the problem.  I feel that all of my photography is intertwined in my brain.  My editorial, commercial, and personal work all has to do with and is influenced by each other.  I’ve been trying so hard to make a living as a photographer for the past 10 years that I think it has clouded my ability to shoot with a free mind.  I’m always thinking about who will see this work, what can I do with it once it’s made…all the things I know I definitely should not be thinking about when I’m taking pictures.  I need to get inspired and feel positive.  I need to embrace the uncertainty of everything.  Here’s to life with all of it’s greatness and bullshit – cheers.

10 comments to Oh, Life

  • mette/ungt blod

    :) my birthday was yesterday (the 8th) and i went to the beach with my husband and my dog :) happy birthday

  • Clayton

    take pictures because you love to do it and go on instinct alone. when you start to change instinct to please what you think people want to see you lose the power. of course, you are much more advanced in your photography career than myself and have a great body of work so who am I to tell you what I think.. but for what its worth that is what I think.

    I just saw a photo from hong kong in your personal section of your website.. a scene that I saw exactly 2 days ago.. so I was intrigued to poke around some more. I thought that was cool.

  • Susana

    happy birthday to you and congratulations on the classy ride. i see many porsche/baroness photo opportunities: the baroness eating a carl’s junior burger as she lounges in sexy poses against the chrome clad in a leopard skin bikini.
    your angst seems totally normal and very brave to put out there. sometimes we are trying so hard to be good at making whoever we are shooting for happy that we forget what we wanted to do. at least that happens to me, maybe not platon, rankin, or shur.
    everything else on the line-up sounds like it’s doing pretty well though – so congratulations on that and you’re 33 rd year, which fyi, is the year j.c. died. carpe diem!

  • nina

    Oh, I know Bee is going to give me shit for this, but I am used to it ;) Take it from your older friend:
    It's just that shift into the next chapter of your life (middle age, there, I said it).
    And the growing pains will leave you at a nicer place in the end.
    I firmly believe that. You are a trooper and you already have achieved so much (at a young age), you'll get to the next place you want to get to as well.
    XOXOXOme
    PS: Please tell me you still have the Prius too.
    PPS: Oh and I am with Susana on the photo-ops for the Baroness & her Porsche!

  • Emily Shur

    Carpe diem indeed, ladies. Thanks for all the encouraging comments, and for supporting The Baroness’ career. Just to clarify, yes I still have my Prius! We only had one car (Isac sold his and just rides the Vespa) so we got The Porsche as a back up, a second car, etc. It won’t be driven a ton, but it is damn cute.

  • Elle Perez

    you know, thank you so much for writing this. I think for me, (in college, 19, high hopes of editorial and etcetera) sometimes it’s daunting to look up to people who are doing it – and seem to be doing exactly what they want to do. It’s nice to know that it’s normal to not have direction, and that it doesn’t make you any less of a photographer. Thanks for being inspiring.

  • drew

    i agree. when i first looked at your work (like any pro photographers work), all i could think was “wow. i really hope i have it together like that some day.” and the same goes for every time we shoot. i am always amazed at how cohesive all of your work is. it all just fits. it’s nice to know that even you, someone whom, judging by you’re work and the way you work, always seems to have every photo planned as a precise piece of a larger puzzle, feel as though you don’t know what direction youre going in. it is just nice to know that i don’t need to know exactly where i’m going in order to get there.

    every time i look at my photos i feel like they all have nothing to do with eachother; like they are all just a jumbled mess of imagery that makes very little sense. it’s a nice thought to think that maybe they make sense to someone else.

    i have no idea what visual idea i’m trying to get across. i have no message. i have no clue why i even bother posting photos a lot of the time: but i keep going.

    i think you’re cool. I love your photos, too.

    congrats on getting your dream car.

  • lane

    Well, like others have expressed here, I think your work so far is pretty outstanding. Out of all the photos in a recent issue of Bust (which I savored, as I can’t typically get it in New Zealand), your photo caught my eye. It was of the actress in Towelhead, I unfortunately can’t remember her name.

    Anyway, I recently went through a period of this myself. For me, at least at the moment, I decided that trying to build both a paying photography career and my personal work at the same time is just too much. I am too single-minded when it comes to pictures, and my energy tends to go only one way or the other. I think I lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m just starting to find my style.

    As much as these periods are difficult and discouraging, I find that they do eventually give way to the next level of your work. Try to think of it as cocooning, or something. :)

    I only found your blog recently. Really glad I did. And it’s really good to see a photographer at your level, career-wise, talking about these things. Makes the rest of us feel a little more normal. ;)

  • Cassie-photo-Jones

    I could only dream to be where you are when I am 32.

    It seems as though you have a clear idea of what you want your work to be, but are afraid to “go there,” at this point in your career? That is what I gather. Don’t let the lights be too blinding; perhaps “go there” with your personal work and by doing so it will influence your professional work. I know you are getting gads of advice and you probably don’t need or want more, hence the hesitation of the post. But I thought, since I am here and I really admire your work, I’d give my 2 cents. No artist should feel like they aren’t getting where they want to go and if they are, should feel free to get there.

    Cheers! -Cassie

  • denise

    This is why I love reading your blog … I’ve never even met you but feel like I know you. Thank you for being so open and honest. It’s so refreshing, and I think it helps foster the open community of photographers who are (for most part) very giving and helpful. I think what you are going through is a normal part of an artist’s life. I think you need times like this to make you think harder and put everything in perspective. It will make you a better shooter. Maybe you need to start a little support group — a group of colleagues and peers who can help you grow and who are not your agent and clients. For what it’s worth, I think your work is fabulous!