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Written by Serge

Changes are Coming

And so, life happened.  Last post and update that I had officially made to my photography portfolio has been in October of 2015.  “Serge, what the gosh darn heck?” you may be asking.  Your answer lies in the first sentence of this post.  But I owe my followers an answer.  So, I will tell you what happened!  I found out that I was going to be a father.

I fought valiantly against corporate greed and seduction of time sucking activities.  But, when it came time to help my wonderful wife to prepare for the birth of our amazing son, there was no battle to fight.  Do I still love photography?  Yes, I do.  Am I planning on returning to this wonderful medium?  Less planning, more hoping.

So, what have I been doing with my life?  Well, I have been writing a story.  “SERGE!” you may yell, “HOW CAN YOU WRITE AND NOT TAKE PHOTOS?!”  That is elementary, my dear reader, I write on the train if I manage to stay awake.

Writing has been my passion since early childhood.  I always felt inspired and had ideas twirling around in my head like tiny little ballerinas.  But twirling was all they did.  Not until August 6th, 2013 could I put together ideas and thoughts into one coherent package.  What happened August 6th?  I decided to play a joke on my friend and I started a blog called Chronicles of Bimbly.

Little by little my audience and my content grew.  What started out as a joke lead to well over a thousand pages of verse, poetry and pictures.  This is also the reason that I will be rebranding my site and social media to not just reflect my photography work, but also my writing.  Mainly my writing for the next foreseeable future.

When I started with photography, I was completely clueless about the industry and the challenges that I had to overcome.  All I had to go on were my skills the following advices I heard either from my parents or some cheesy TV show: fake it till you make it, practice makes perfect and when taking each picture, take it with intent of making others weep with joy when they look at it.

Now, as a completely green, about-to-be-self-published author, I am entering the book industry with about as much information and guidance as I had with my photography.  I was told that I had to have a blog to help my readers connect with me.  So, here goes nothing.

Well?  What are you waiting for?  Start connecting!

Sincerely,
Serge Sanin

Selfie-loathing

The more time I spend on the internet the more frustration I find towards these horrible things called selfies. Let’s start from the beginning. What is a selfie? A selfie, is a picture someone takes of themselves and posts it onto a social media site. It is, in my opinion, a way for pretty people to get other people’s opinion on how pretty they are. So if the selfie craze started of someone taking just a quick picture of them at a certain location, then now we are at a point where people just stand in their bathroom and take a picture of their abs or rear ends.

Ladies, you know how there is this big problem going on with women being treated as objects, not given equal rights, and pretty much used only as an eye candy and stuff? Yeah, these selfies of you in a G-string are really not helping. And yet, the funny thing is that if any of these women would catch a guy doing a bit of window shopping, they would be offended. Why? WHY? You are the equivalent of Amazon.com, showing all your goods for the world to see, so why get offended when someone does it in front of you?

But hey, I’m not the one to preach. I genuinely would like to understand what is to be gained by these photos. Are modelling agency scouts out on the hunt in Instagram for the hot human population? Is this how Hollywood is recruiting? If it is, that would certainly explain the ever-growing decline in acting abilities. “Hi my name is Doesn’tmatter, I never acted before, but it is my dream to be on the silver screen. Just look at my butt! It belongs there!” I mean if this is the mentality, then I’m actually afraid for humans as a species.

In conclusion of this glorious rant, all I would like to say is that I am not a hater. I think that selfies, just like everything else, can be smart, witty, and inspirational just as much as dumb, demeaning and plain stupid. It just makes me sad to see so many talented women fighting to be noticed for their intelligence rather than their T&A.

As always thanks for reading.

Endgame

Someone recently asked me: “Serge what is your endgame?”  I was very confused by the question.  Obviously, my endgame is to be rich and famous, living on top of a mountain in Tibet.  I will own a twelve story mansion with my family.  I will have high speed internet access and American cable.  I want to own a llama, a motorcycle, a photo studio, a martial arts dojo, and seventeen 120 inch televisions.  The temperature of the mansion will adjust pending on my mood.  I won’t even get into my preferences for a computer system.  Let’s just say I want to own Skynet (this is for those Terminator fans out there).  After spending another half an hour listing my end of life requirements, I was rather rudely interrupted.  What the person actually meant was my endgame for my role as a photographer.  I don’t see how the above things don’t apply but fine.

My endgame for me as a photographer is not to sell out.  It also includes an overwhelming desire to not run out of creativity, passion and drive.  Like any artist I want my work not to go unnoticed or underappreciated.  It is my dream to be able to be a photographer as my career and doing what I love for a living.  But sometimes I wonder if that is actually possible.

Oscar Wilde had a great quote: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”  What I am trying to say is that I do not know if I would enjoy photography the same way if it was something that I relied on in order to sustain my family and myself.  I believe that in that particular situation you do not work on your own terms.  You have to take jobs that you normally wouldn’t simply because you need the money.  And suddenly you see your passion turn just into another job.  You wake up groggy, shop for caffeine in Costco on a weekly basis, and finding yourself thinking about the awesome green lawn on the other side of the fence.

Despite everything I still find myself desperately wishing for that life.  I want to see one of my photographs on a cover of a magazine.  I want to grab my camera every morning and go have fun rather than go to work.  I want to sit back in an armchair of my own studio and look at the walls that display my life’s work.  So I will desperately strive to reach my goal as a photographer.  The other one would be great too, but one thing at a time.

Corporate America: Death of an artist.

Alright, I am willing to admit that the title may be a bit too dramatic, but it is my firm belief that is also true in many ways.  Unlike many artists, I work for a big corporation, getting a steady paycheck and still attempting to fight an epic battle with the biggest adversary out there named Time.  But more and more, it seems, I find myself on the losing side.

While working for a company in New York, especially if you are a salary employee, it is considered normal to work sixty plus hour weeks.  It is considered normal to receive phone calls in the middle of the night, weekends and holidays with work related questions.  It is also considered normal for people not to take an hour for lunch.  In fact many companies invest into a nice little snack bar on the floor, or cafeteria or a small kitchenette only to discourage people from leaving the building.  Obviously if a person will grab a bag of chips and eats at their desk they will get more work done.  It is a sneaky ploy, but it works.

Working late nights and weekends is also quickly becoming part of everyone’s job.  If you are salaried employee you are most of the time exempt from receiving overtime pay or late night pay or anything else other than a pat on the back for that matter.  And it is better for a company to have one employee overburdened with work and forcing them into such a routine than hiring someone to help.

Where am I going with this?  Very recently I caught myself asking my boss if it was alright with him if I do a shoot on a weekend.  Luckily I realized how stupid that sounded before the words left my mouth.  Why should I run my personal time off with someone who in no way, shape or form should have a say about what I do with it?  But it seems that once you join a company you eventually get beaten down and broken down to the point where you give your time freely without even realizing it.  Your job is no longer your second home.  It is now your first.  People take time away from family, from hobbies and from their passions just to keep up with the firm’s ambitions.

I have met a lot of people over the years who were painters, poets, writers, photographers, sketch artists, actors and so on.  And when I asked them why they weren’t doing what they loved to do, I got the same answer in return: “No time, have too much work.”  And I will openly stand up and salute anyone who has managed to unshackle themselves from the comfort of a steady income to take a risk and to follow their hearts.

Unfortunately the term ‘Starving Artist’ is not just an expression and certainly not a joke.  There are so many people out there who have nothing but their art to sustain them.  And when that disappears, they find themselves on the street not knowing when they will eat next.  Once you fall down that hole, it is close to impossible to climb back out.  Your credit score is destroyed, you have no phone number or home address and you can forget about getting any prestigious jobs.

In today’s economy it is almost impossible to sustain yourself on gigs that could be here one day and gone the next.  The security blanket of a steady income is too tempting and too difficult to leave especially if you have people that you must care for.  Is there a solution to this?  Is there a plan of action other than standing on the rooftop doing a Howard Beale impersonation and screaming “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore!”  Each of us must decide for ourselves on how to balance our lives.  The only suggestion I can give is a small quote from the movie Home Alone:  “Never give up!  Never surrender!”

We are artist!

 (Rebuttal to THE STORY OF REMORA AND THE SHARK.)

Are photographers artists?  Gosh darn right we are!  We are the seekers of truth and makers of history!  Do you see a painter on the battlefield, charging in right behind the troops and dodging bullets?  Do you see a musician help improve the fashion industry?  Or is there a sculptor who would go out and create a long lasting masterpiece in an abandoned and forgotten factory?  And even if he does, who would be there to capture his work?

Yes, my dearest readers, photographers are artists and so much more.  Art is not just about creating something from nothing.  It is not just about turning gelatinous goo into David.  Photography is a different medium.  It is a medium of freezing history in its tracks.  It is a medium of proving the unbelievable.  Photography will take the simplest garbage and turn it into a masterpiece.  Granted, there will always be Marcel Duchamp and his Fountain.  That sculpture makes me think that Marcel was a photographer at heart, but that is just me.

Yes, the photography world has been simplified and saturated by all those who wish to be those amazing artists whose names would ring through generations to come.  But which art style hasn’t?  How many would-be painters and sculptors roam the streets hoping to be the next Dali or Michelangelo?  Here I am hoping to be the next DeRuiter with this awesome blog.  Speaking of writing, how many millions of books and stories are out there?  Every genre is filled with writers with their unique styles and forms and ideas.

Photography is just the latest greatest format that has become accessible to the general public.  We, as photographers, should not get upset or discouraged that our, once fairly small, world is being invaded.  We are artists.  Each one of us has our own style, our own view of the world and our own way to capture it.  Do not be discouraged.  Learn from your peers, improve, and never try to be like anyone else.  Because art is about showing who you are through whatever medium that best represents you.