Another anxious young photographer in a hurry. This silhouetted assistant below was taken on a recent magazine shoot in Oakland, CA.
As a photographer now with a few freelance years under my belt, I was recently reminded what it felt like during the beginning when I fist started out. While I was a photographer’s assistant back in Baltimore, I wanted to be on my own so bad I could taste it. There was internal pressure, anxiety, and some left over teenage angst. I lost several nights sleep thinking about when my time would come to bust loose.
A wise photographer who I assisted back then and good friend to this day, Mark Lee told me “I was a young man in a hurry.” Mark is super mellow and so it is funny to reflect now on how he reacted to my anxiety. One conversation when like this:
Me: “I’m already 24. I just want to be shooting on my own already!”
Mark: “Relax Jay you have your whole career ahead of you. Your already 5 years ahead of me. What’s the rush? Keep working hard and be patient. It will happen.”
It was easy for him to say. I was on an assistant’s income while trying to buy my own gear and living in an inner city Baltimore 2-level studio apartment. My roommate and I called it “Urban Studios,” but we should have called it “A Small Studio In The Hood.” If it wasn’t thoughts of my career that kept me awake at night, it was burglars, cops, gunshots, and people holding court on the corner at all hours. Ahh, the early years.
I was indeed a young man in a hurry. Above is a photo of another anxious young photographer who assisted me on a magazine shoot. We talked about the buzz over star photographers under the age of 20. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Yeah I read about that guy. I found it interesting at some of the jealous comments people wrote online about his work. He is a talented prodigy. People can’t get upset about that.”
JN: “I was bummed to find out his age. I am already 21 and I want to be that busy.”
WAIT! Hold your horses! Do you know how ironic that sounded? It could have been the same words out of my own mouth 10 years ago. The similarity stunned me and I was not able to reply with the smooth words of Mark Lee.
“Relax Jay. You have your whole career ahead of you. Your already 5 years ahead of me before I started. What’s the rush? Keep working hard and be patient. It will happen.”
Years later, I’m still working hard and enjoying the journey.
• • • • •
Part 2 of AYMIAH:
the identity is revealed in this portrait