3: 2019 Work Review
In the previous two posts I wrote about the mechanics of making photos for work and the types of relationships needed to be successful at my job as a government photographer. As important as these two elements are to get my job done, I wouldn’t still be in this job if I didn’t feel that my work had value. In other words, it’s important to me to make images that matter.
I suspect that most of us define what matters differently and certainly those of you of a different political leaning will question that any photos that I make for government qualify. Yet, as I have photographed for three different governments, I would argue that aspects of my job are relevant regardless of which party is in power. And, there are also aspects of my job that have been made infinitely better and more meaningful under the current government.
Documenting how government works and the events that mark the year for any government forms a large part of my job and has remained largely unchanged in the past 10 years. Photographing the Speech from the Throne, the Budget, the investiture of the Order of B.C., and the occasional Royal visit forms a large portion of the historical documentation of government. That alone seems worthwhile.
From the outside, one government may appear similar to the next. Yet, there are some subtle and not so subtle differences that can make a huge difference in my job. First of all, returning to the theme of my last post, relationships have a huge impact on making the job both fulfilling and worthwhile. I have never been busier as a government photographer, but my job has been made easier because of the current client/subject relationships. This is true from the very top to everyday, government staff. This makes a difference and it enables making photos that matter.
Equally important to the role of making meaningful images are government priorities. As I cover events, interview and photograph individuals, or shoot ad campaigns, making photos that promote priorities that align with my own values is critically important to my professional happiness and success. This can not be overstated. And, it makes my job so much easier too. When the people I am photographing are benefiting from a new childcare program or affordable housing, or know someone who is, then it is much easier to form a relationship with them. And to make images that matter.
I know that through very good luck, some happy accidents of history and no small portion of privilege, I have ended up as staff photographer for the government of B.C. The challenges and rewards have been many, yet I feel fortunate to do this job and to make images that matter. That matter to me and, I hope, that matter for the greater good.
That’s it for my review of the past work year. Thanks for reading. All the best for the New Year!
NB: All images captured with Fujifilm X-series cameras, fronted by Fujinon XF lenses. Well, actually, there are a few images sprinkled through this post captured with the Fujifilm GFX 50S, fronted by GF lenses.