Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” — Andy Warhol

There was a time when I’d wake at 3AM, load my camera equipment in my van, and set out to chase a sunrise. The day was spent hiking, scouting, and editing. I chased a sunset in the evening, ate something, then searched the stars. Then, writing, social media, order fulfillment, and all the other boring business related things. I’d do it again after a few hours sleep.

That’s when I grew my following. Most people know me only as that person. But I’m not that person anymore. I’m married. I have a mortgage. I have lots of new responsibilities. These aren’t things holding me back. On the contrary, they drive me to work harder and make art that’s far more meaningful than ever before. My new life didn’t change my photography habits.

Victor Ellison shooting antique cars.

Victor Ellison shooting antique cars.

I did.

Passion begins with obsession. Photography was certainly an obsession. My obsessiveness kept the fire burning long enough to propel me through an intense on the job education. It was also often unhealthy, as I sacrificed body and mind and relationships. So, what changed?

I’ve played guitar for 20-some years. When I started out, I was obsessed with Hendrix. I mimicked the sound of his Strat and was engrossed by his playing style. I vividly remember the first time I saw the video of him burning his guitar on stage. For many years, I thought it was merely an act of rebellion. Only after I matured with photography, I understood.

Obsession is slavery. It’s a necessary evil that fuels our passion. Many get caught in that rut and never escape. They’re the ones who’s identity has become so entangled in their passion that it’s near impossible to separate the two. That’s not me, anymore. 

Meaningful art is made only when the creator frees himself from his shackles, and rises above his tools. Today, I’m reassured by the symbolic warmth and glow of my burning Canon that I have broken free. 

Now, it’s time to make art.