Whenever I see a good photography, a smile comes to my face. This is the proof of how photographers can capture a moment so vividly. Photography is one of those things that can speak to you; it is a form of art. And that’s why photography becomes more than just a hobby or job, it becomes their lifeline.
To prove these words, here I present top incredibly inspiring stories of those people who quit their well-established jobs to pursue photography.
Jackie Nickerson – She has recalled thinking, “You’re wasting your life. If you want to do photography, you’ve got to rethink this whole thing.”
This famous photographer from Boston used to work in the commercial fashion industry. But after shooting for Vanity Fair and Vogue for 15 years she started to question her life-choices. Then when Jackie and a friend go to a trip To Zimbabwe in 1997 for couple weeks, she stayed there for the next four years. Why? You ask? Because she was busy there taking pictures of everything.
She made photography a way of connecting with the rural landscape and with the local residences. Then not making any delays, she bought a truck and travel all over the country. She also travelled South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique to shoot some unforgettable memories. Then in 2014, she became the first women to shoot the Person of the Year in the 87-year magazine history.
Sebastião Salgado – “I’m not an artist. An artist makes an object. Me, it’s not an object, I work in history, I’m a storyteller.”
Sebastião was a simple man working as an economist and sharing his life with his wife Lélia. But then he knew that something was missing in his life. He first discovered his passion for photography back in 1973. That time he started travelling to Africa quite a bit it was then when he started to take pictures. Then he became so awed with photography that he decided to quit his job and start his career from the beginning.
With his wife, he came back to Paris so that he can begin his life as a photographer. At the beginning, he started to work as a freelancer. Then as the time passed by, he soon started to become known for his photography. Despite the fact of him leaving his work, he never cut the thread with his economic background. And maybe because of that, there is a reflection of the society in every single of his photographs.
Carolyn Drake – “I was about 30 and I realized I didn’t want to work in an office for the rest of my life, in New York’s bubble,”
Drake was born in California and there she studied Media/Culture and History. Then she got a job in “New York Alley”. But at the age of 30, she left everything to be a photographer. And after leaving her job, she started travelling to Central Asia to the base of Istanbul for two projects, which soon became photo books.
The first one is Two Rivers, showcasing the ecology, culture and political situation between Amu Dary and Syr Darya. It is a photographic record of a place where political allegiances, ethnic bonds, national borders, and physical geography are in constant flux; a vast ecosystem where nature, money, and history are intertwined. The other one Wild Pigeon was made when Drake started travelling with a box of prints, a pair of scissors, coloured pencils, and a sketchbook, she asked willing collaborators to draw on, reassemble, and use their own tools on her photographs. This one is filled with drawings, cutting of various pictures and of course photographs.
Michael Levin – Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”
Mark Levin is best known for his work of black and white landscape photography. He had a Restaurant of his own, which was pretty successful. But then Five years later, he sold his business and started taking pictures.
His photographs were inspired by Mark Rothko and Michael Kenna. Mark’s also the first professional photographer to earn the Paris-based PX3 Award twice. He also inspired many aspiring photographers to achieve their dream.
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Marc Riboud – “Photography cannot change the world, but it can show the world, especially when it changes.”
Marc Riboud was a photojournalist. Best known for his image documenting East Asian and Soviet Culture. The first photograph he ever took was at the Paris International Explosion 1937, from the vest Kodak camera that was gifted by his father.
Even after receiving his mechanical engineering degree and having a well-established job, he decided to quit and then moved back to Paris. There he got accepted in MAGNUM, the same year when his Eiffel Tower Painter photograph was published in LIFE. Between 1968 and 1969, he was one of the few photographers allowed to travel in South and North Vietnam. Mark also captured the iconic anti-war image Flower Power. In his career, Riboud received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sony World Photography Awards in 2009.
Joel Meyerowitz – “[The small camera] taught me energy and decisiveness and immediacy … The large camera taught me reverence, patience, and meditation.”
After working as an art director at an ad agency he started gaining interest in photography. Joel is a very inspirational photographer who taught himself street, portrait and also landscape photography. He studied painting and medical drawing at Ohio State University, and then at 1959, he worked as an advertising art director in New York City.
Later, he started teaching at Princeton University, in New Jersey about colour photography and the Cooper Union in New York. His works have been displayed in more than 350 exhibitions worldwide. Also, his photographs are included in the collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among many others.