I just finished a year long project that I dubbed, “The Hibernia Project”. It consisted of a series of three photo books about different regions and/or cities in The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The series is finished and all three books are for sale on Amazon. The last book I finished a few weeks ago, is titled, “Hibernia: The North”. As far as organization and writing style is concerned, it is the best out of all three. It is 80 pages of eye candy for the soul.
Sometimes I ask myself, why? Why do I spend countless hours of my finite time on this earth and thousands of dollars on something that the average Joe isn't going to care about, nor spend money to purchase? Let's be perfectly honest here. If I died tomorrow (God forbid such a thing to happen), there would be no great wakes or parades in Ireland or America to celebrate my contribution to America or Ireland.
Why would I waste my time on something, when in actuality, I'll probably never get any accolades, much less a thank you? Why would I? Why would you? Why would any of us waste time on something that we would probably never make a profit on?
I do these projects, because I love the work. I love to travel, photograph, and meet people. That's why I do it. While it is true that I hold a great affinity for the Irish and the land of Eire, I would do the same for any other group of people that I felt a kinship with. The truth is that when in Ireland I've always been somewhat shocked by the kindness of most people, especially the older generations. When I was cold and hungry while out walking on Inishmore, a man that gave tours (I didn't take his tour) around the island and his wife gave me scones and coffee. That wasn't the first time someone has done something for me with no ulterior motive during my travels.
I'm an American and very proud to be an American and have the rights I have. I never deny that fact no matter where I am in the world. But, we and the rest of the West have lost our way a bit. Just in the decade that I've been traveling to and from Ireland, I have noticed drastic changes in society here and there. The self entitlement attitude combined with an almost drunken fervor for social media is at insane levels. It seems that no matter where you go, people are hunched over drooling over how many likes they got for their latest selfie.
I do these projects, write these books, travel, and take the photographs to fill my heart and soul. Something inside demands that I do it. I don't do it for the pat on the back. I don't do it for a “Thank You”. I wish I could say that I do it for the money, but that would be an erroneous statement and laughable.
I do it for myself. I do it for the myriad of people that have helped me over the years. I do it for the family that gave me shelter from the rain. I do it for the people that have fed me and wouldn't take a dime. I do it for the lads that kept me from getting my legs broke in Belfast. I do it for the good Samaritans that I've met over the years. And, I do it for a woman that started it all.
It's kind of ironic that a great number of Irish that were born and live in Ireland don't want to be called, “Irish”. They prefer to be called, “Europeans”. Life is full of funny ironies like that. The most humorous bit out of it all is that I'm not even Irish. I'm an American. My fathers family is of Irish ancestry, but my mothers family is from all over Western Europe, Native American, and Jewish. They came to America for freedom. they died in countless battles and worked their fingers to the bone so that I, and all Americans, could be free and remain free. I'll be starting a new series about the American South soon.
We do these projects, whether its a piece of artwork, a book, or a photograph, because we have to. The creative sprite is very demanding. My point to all of this is that, yes, we must do things that we may not want to do, but we must also do the things we love to be happy in this crazy world. Keeping a happy balance between paid work and your own projects is imperative. Do what you love. If you are passionate and work hard enough, people will eventually take notice of you work.
Don't give up on what you believe in. Life is too short to do something you hate.