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Standing At A Crossroad; And Growing Up By Letting Go

So, what do you do when the thing that you love to do is considered to be a waste of time because you have so much perceived talent and potential in something else?

That’s the dilemma I am dealing with right now as I type this out.

I left the office a little early yesterday to hang out with a good friend of mine. We grabbed a couple of beers and talked about the current photo projects we were both working on.

After pouring out my soul and talking about the upcoming projects that are exciting me, my Friend told me that I “needed to stop wasting my time painting those little miniature figures and put that time into your photography.”

Now, if you don’t know me very well, I have a lot of hobbies. But there are none more prominent and rewarding in my life than tabletop wargaming and miniature figure painting. If you’ve ever seen the movie “The 40 Year Old Virgin” where Steve Carell has on his magnifying hobby light and he’s painting these tiny plastic soldiers—that’s me. (Although I feel I am way cooler than that scene portrayed the hobbyist…)

I have played a number of gaming systems from 40K to Malifaux to WarmaHordes. I have more points accumulated in just my 40K Chaos army than most people have in their entire collections. …and that’s just 1 of over two dozen different armies… I am a PlamoJunkie!

You see, I am an introvert. Perhaps an extroverted introvert, but an introvert nonetheless. What do I do to recharge my battery? When I need to get back to center, I go to my mancave with the latest box of whatever models, I throw on some Frank Sinatra, Tricot or Ab-Soul and I go to town. In the end, I have these beautifully painted 2-inch plastic figures. For the last 12 years, this is what makes me get up in the morning. It’s what I think about when I am at work and what I visualize on my commute home.

So, imagine the way I feel when a well-respected Friend tells me that I need to part ways with that hobby and put my energy into my photographic and cinematographic endeavors?

How do I respond?

I am having trouble even imagining my life without tabletop wargaming and the art I put into the assembly and painting.

What troubles me more is that I have never really seriously considered WHERE to wanted to go with my photography. Sure, I have the dream of booking shoots all over the world and shooting gorgeous women of all shapes, shades and styles… But what do I actually want to accomplish?

Some smart person—much smarter than me—said that “it’s impossible to get anywhere when you have nowhere in mind.”

It’s funny that I encountered this fork in my road now. Just 3 days ago I wrote in my journal that I wanted to be a gallery photographer. I want to create photographs that hang in galleries and get sold online as prints. I want to build custom sets and work with amazing models and other artists and stylists for weeks on end to get that 1 awe-inspiring shot. Then break it all down, recycle the bits and do it all over again.

But where do I even start? HOW do I even start? I am not sure I can quit the wargaming hobby cold turkey. Actually, I KNOW I cannot. I have forged so many relationships and meaningful rivalries through this hobby. And for an introvert, having that common bond is so much stronger than just going out and networking. Fuck! I don’t even know HOW to network. I hand out cards, only to never be heard from, or hear from the other party altogether.

What do I do? How do I even make the change?

I know I am not where I want to be with my photography. I say that I want to learn to fly a drone. However, I received a drone for Christmas last year (a cheap one—not a DJI or anything), but I have not even removed it from the box… Rather than go out and practice flying this drone, I sit at my dining table with boxes of models stacked up awaiting my skilled hand.

At one point, my dream job was to work as a designer/photographer/video producer for a miniatures company. Then the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show comes on television and I am inspired by the production crew. Or I stumble across an Agent Provocateur commercial on Facebook or a glamour video shot by Jonny 5 and I envision myself doing those projects.

But when the time comes to decide what I am going to do with a spare hour or two, there I am—either at the dining room table or you hear Ole’ Blue Eyes through the hardwood floors.

I am at  a serious crossroad. This is possibly one of the toughest decisions I have had to make in a long while. Stay tuned to witness the results.

If you’d like to chime in, catch me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Have you faced a situation where you had to give up something you loved for personal growth? Talk to me. How did you do it? Any regrets?