Navigating a life photographic, finding your way from first love to a life-long relationship of creativity is one of the most challenging things you will ever do, and potentially the most vital. How do you do it? How do you learn this ever changing medium, keep ahead of the trends, keep the enthusiasm alive when it feels like you spend more time on everything but photography?
How do you choose between turning your photography into a sustaining business, or staying true to the word "amateur", "for the love" only? To me, the only way to truly navigate the life photographic is to never stop photographing. No matter what you do, no matter how you 'make your living", always photograph, always explore, always create from your own inner voice.
Make the time, however nominal, to do this. It is vital! Joseph Campbell talks about the very necessity today of finding some time, an hour or so a day even, to cultivate your own inner self. He talks about putting on the music you like, even if no one else likes it. Do it for you. Give yourself the time and place, where you don't know what is in the news that day, where you don't know or care about what anyone else thinks, and create your images.
Vivian Maier is a wonderful example of navigating this life. Not a profesional photographer in any way, she never stopped creating images, and what a photographic life she lived! For those of you who choose to turn professional with your photography, I have found that those professionals who make the time to create for themselves, who choose to make some images solely for their own pleasure too, out of their own deep creative selves, are the happiest in the long term.
Don't burn yourself out always doing work for others; the field of photography is littered with the bodies of photographers who have done just that! If you want to navigate a life photographic, keep bringing the camera to your eye...