The Twin Cities Wellness Collective™ Podcast

#133: Josh Driver- Building a Photography Business

October 26, 2021 Alex Morrall Season 1 Episode 133
The Twin Cities Wellness Collective™ Podcast
#133: Josh Driver- Building a Photography Business
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode, I am joined by Josh Driver. After playing with his family's cameras while growing up, Josh bought his first dslr in 2016 because he just needed a quality camera better than a point-and-shoot for his trip to Iceland.

His wife’s encouragement and another professional photographer’s mentorship served as catalysts for him to start selling his images at Minnesota’s top art fairs in 2019. 

Josh’s favorite pastime is camping with his camera and enjoying all the quiet and beauty.

To learn more about Josh and his work go here: https://www.joshdriverphotography.com/About-the-Artist

Join the Twin Cities Wellness Collective here: https://www.tcwellnesscollective.com/

Josh Driver:

Anytime someone buys for me, it's both an exciting and humbling thing because they value something so much that they're willing to spend a lot of money on and humbling. Like, wow, like you chose my work. Wow. That's amazing. It's amazing. Every time. And I think sometimes when it gets really business and frantic and kind of go turnover, turnover got to sale , got to deliver, but I stepped back and go, another person wants my photography on their wall. That's really special. However, I, I didn't set out on this journey to have that be my end , the twin cities wellness collective,

Alex Morrall:

Welcome to the twin cities, wellness collective podcast. The show focused on igniting wellbeing in the twin cities and beyond I'm your host, Alex morale. And I'm the founder of the twin cities, wellness collective a grassroots community organization, 4,000 members strong. We're not a business or a nonprofit , simply a collective of individuals with the desire to maximize our wellbeing and help others do the same each week on the show, I interviewed one of our members to learn about the work they're doing to help others be well and learn about what they're doing in their own life to enhance their personal wellbeing . The goal is to share wisdom and tactics with you so you can live life. Well, if you like our show, please follow us wherever you get your podcasts. And if you'd like to get more involved in the twin cities, wellness collective, please become a member by visiting our website, www.tc wellness, collective.com and clicking the button that says join the TC WC as an official member, you'll receive my column wellbeing weekly, which explores the intersections of work health, personal finance, and the pursuit of a good life. You'll also receive priority invitations to special events and opportunities. Finally, you can find a link to our website in the show notes. Thank you for being a part of our community. On today's episode, I'm joined by Josh driver after playing with his family's cameras while growing up, Josh bought his first DSLR camera in 2016 because he just needed a quality camera better than a point and shoot for his trip to Iceland, his wife's encouragement and another professional photographers. Mentorship served as catalysts for him to start selling his images at Minnesota's top art fairs in 2019. Josh's favorite pastime is camping with his camera and enjoying all the quiet and beauty on today's episode. Josh and I discussed photography as a form of art and its intersections with wellbeing . I hope you enjoy this episode featuring Josh driver. Welcome Josh driver to the twin cities, wellness collective podcast. Great to have,

Josh Driver:

Hey, Al, thanks so much for having me. Absolutely .

Alex Morrall:

And I think a good starting point is can you give us an overview on how you got into

Josh Driver:

photography? Yeah, so there's kind of three ingredients that got me into where I am today. And the first two I would say are just passion and practice. So I've, I've enjoyed photography since I was little, I've been doing it on and off , uh , bar my mom's camera or film camera or doing the old Kodiak one click cameras that the disposable cameras, but it really didn't kick off photographing regularly until 2017 or 2016. I'm sorry, when I went to Iceland. So that kind of fueled me really enjoying it. And so I just I've , I've loved it for a long time. So I had this just innate desire to do it. And it's a hobby that's lasted. It's not just been a one-year kind of seasonal thing. Then the other part I'd say is practice. And I did a few YouTube videos, you know, and Chad got to know some photographers in the local community, but really just went out with a new camera, kind of an entry level camera and just tried everything, learn the exposure triangle learned about low lighting, learned about long exposure and just made mistakes and tried things and just worked at it. And so I spent a year basically just working at it. There was no ambitions to sell no marketing. No, I don't care if it's on Instagram, just practice. And then I would say the third ingredient was which served as a catalyst was a professional photographer who reviewed my work, a mutual friend of ours recommended that I speak to him and he had a display at the mall of America. And she was like, yeah, you should go chat with his name is Jay, go chat with Jay and he'll review your work. Well, I did that. He accepted that. And I remember him scrolling my Instagram feed and basically was like, no, no, no. Like, like , uh , like this raw evaluation, him just denying every shot. And he was right. The work was, was just bad. Like I was cutting off the top of trees. I was getting some bright colors, but there was no composition. It was just, it was awful. It's like you have too much ice, too many wintry shots. People don't want to buy this. So I had kind of a re I learned was a reality check. I didn't know what to expect, but you know, you're, you're humbled a little bit. And so I just, he's just like, go, go practice. And I said, well, I'm gonna do that anyway. So that's great. Well, six months pass, and this, this is now mid 2018 and the mutual friend recommends me again. She's like, Jay , Josh has really improved because I haven't been posting on social media at this point. And he's like, oh, okay. So he invites me over to his house and he ends up reviewing about 75 of my images for about two hours over a beer. And he goes, huh . Yeah. You know what? I think you have what it takes sent to the art fair circuit, which is where I primarily go to sell my work, show my work off to people. And I said, really? And so we talked for two and a half hours, like, what are the dollars? What are we really projecting ? What's, what's a cautious approach to launching a small business. And after that it became Josh driver photography, LLC.

Alex Morrall:

That's awesome. Few things are striking out of that. And I guess the first piece of it is persistence through first Jay kind of saying that it wasn't that good. And then you improving. So how did you work through that? Like when he was sort of telling you it wasn't good enough, like, what was your response? How did you deal with that? And then move forward.

Josh Driver:

I'm trying to remember. I don't know if I had big expectations, like he's going to read my work and stuff . I'm going to become a famous photographer because I have this guy backing me because here's the thing about me and what drives me is myself. So I Al like , I compete against myself more than competing against others and, you know, compete can be not just a negative word, but a positive word. We see someone do something really well. You want to go out and match it or do it better, but I try to compete with myself going, okay, this is what I did in 2018 . I want to do better until it's 19. So that inspires me more than anyone else's feedback or critique. Although I take that because without that, I might just be in a Josh driver bubble. So I would say, definitely influenced me, but I was going to practice and get better anyway is kind of how I would describe that.

Alex Morrall:

That's great. And I liked that idea of competing against yourself because it's not like you're comparing yourself to somebody else too much. It's more like, you're just trying to better yourself through your own practice of something that you enjoy.

Josh Driver:

That's a downward spiral too , if you , if, because you're constantly evaluating yourself to others, I think the, the negative emotions that can come with that are just not worth it because there's always gonna be someone better than you. There's always someone worse than you. And if you're always comparing yourself to others, I don't know if you're really valuing yourself. You know, I think there's a lot of pressure that way, both mainly indirect. I , I believe, but if you're motivated by what others do and saying, well, I want to get to that person's level. Maybe this gets into the artistic side of it, but are you really speaking of your, are you really allowing your artistic expression to come out? Are you really growing from what you're passionate about or have you even unknowingly started to become a copy of someone else? Or I see that influence coming around. I don't follow as many photographers as some people have asked me like, oh, you must like know a lot of people. And I do know a lot of people that don't scroll everyone's all the time, because I want to try to maintain some sort of artistic vision, which is getting away from the original point. But yeah, I just find it more helpful in the long-term to compare my work to my current work, to my password.

Alex Morrall:

That's cool. And it it's just like intrinsic that you're getting that you want to get better from where you've been. And I think that is , is a much healthier place to be, I think so in comparison. Yeah. That's great. And you also talked a little bit about Iceland and going to Iceland, and that was sort of like a point of origin in your photography story. Was there something about Iceland that inspired you to kind of start going down this artistic journey?

Josh Driver:

I sometimes leave the Iceland part out when people ask me, oh, how long you've been doing photography? Because at that point I was there for travel first photography second, but I went there. I told myself I'm not going Tyson without buying a camera. So I bought my first DSLR, but it was a small mirrorless camera, a little Olympus thing, tiny you wouldn't. If I held it in my hand to be like, that's not a, you're not a pro, but it worked. It was great. It's interesting enough. When I went to China for the first time, I also bought a camera because I knew, and you know what, when I went to New Zealand, so when I go to new countries, I end up buying camera . So that's happened three times. I don't have to think about it. So there's something about the travel and the landscapes that inspires me to capture it. But Iceland. Yeah, I went there with a buddy. We did a 13 day van tour of the entire island, slept in the van, traveled to Rwanda to go. And it was amazing. I didn't know, I didn't have skills back then. I think I had some compositional eye , but if I went today, it would be a such a different trip just knowing how to use my camera and how to work with light. But that, that was an expression of something to happen in the future. So I wasn't going there to capture images to sell Iceland was popular back then, but not even close to how popular it is today. So it was, yeah, it was a fun trip, but it was a , it was a seed in the ground. It was one step to where I'm at today and just showed it . I love photography. Even my friend, even who was there, he was like, are you going to put down your camera ever on this trip? So I kind of maybe overdid it, but it's hard. It's hard. Everyone's like, wow, Iceland so far to tenant . It's great.

Alex Morrall:

And something that always is when I'm talking about art that I'm thinking about. So for background, I am a poet slash writer. I didn't know. Then when you read really good poetry or you read really good writing, at least when I do, it's like, okay, that's really good. And people don't realize how hard it is to get to the point of the finished product that you're reading. And I'm sure photography is the same way in that. Like somebody sees an image, the lay person looks at it and was like, wow, that's really cool. But they don't like get all the work and how hard it is to just like capture that really good image. So like, I'm wondering how hard is it, how much background effort goes into capturing a really good image that you know, that you could print and show at art

Josh Driver:

Fares? Well , that's really interesting for a few reasons. I think one, a lot of people, when they come and see my work, they focus on the medium, not the subject as much because I print on aluminum metal and it's, it can be a polarizing medium. People are like, oh, that's too, it's too bright. You know , it's too glassy, too glossy looking. And I'm looking like, wow , I love it. I love how it looks like glass . I love how it pops. I love that it's already framed and I don't have to worry about framing so that it's interesting. They're so they don't even think about what you're asking me. One, the second thing is, which is interesting is we're gonna have to sell a cell phone now. So I think it's diminished the appreciation for what photographers who do it. Full-time bring to the table. I still think they recognize the effort and the journey and the expensive gear at times. But because they have a cell phone, you can hear, oh , I can take that shot. Or I took that shot. And that is kind of, one of my goals is to never hear that at an art fair, right ? Like saying, I don't know if that's , that might be unavoidable just because people might be generalizing. They might not be. And I'm a specific kind of detailed person. So they want me to say, oh, I can, I can capture that bridge. Or I might hear like, you're capturing the same exact image. I don't think you can, because actually this one was a five shot panoramic placed at this location. There's no way you can get that shot. So that's another interesting point. I think the, the work is what sets in my opinion, photographers , uh, it's it filters some photographers from like the really good photographers and maybe those who aren't as good. But I think the work in the field is something like this. I have gone to Taylors falls at interstate park, 10 or 11 times to get this one composition, can't get it. Well , I'm going to get it. And I've joked with some clients that have come into , like, I'm going to charge you guys double for this one because I've worked so hard to get it. And to me, that is, I would rather pay the gas. I'd rather spend the time. I'd rather wake up early in the morning to grab that image. Then do a sky replacement, which I've never done. I will never do that because I think that's a digital art. I don't think that's photography. And again, that's subjective, but I viewed myself as a photographer, not a digital artist. I'm a photographer, not a post processor. And I want to be in the field, not on the computer. So two hours in the field trying to get at versus two hours moving sliders and doing these , um, I don't know , wait , column , mask masking. I think that's what kind of separates my, my vision from others is some of my identity from others. Does that answer? I don't know if I answered the whole question. Yeah. People appreciate the work. A lot of people don't want to hear the whole story. A lot of people, just again, they come in and like, oh, it's beautiful. It's all over the place. To be honest, it's it's all over. So when someone really wants to hear the story or understand, those are the people that were really drawn to and want to share that because you know, part of it is part of it is a story that we're sharing.

Alex Morrall:

That's great. I really liked how hard it is and how you're describing to go to Taylor's falls. However many times it's been five times, is that right? More than 10 times and still not have their shot , like just, it shows your commitment to the craft. And that's what I want people to see is like how hard it is, because like you said, I think like people act that appreciation sometimes. And have you seen the movie? The Revenant? I have not, no, not as much about the plot of that movie, but I was reading a piece about it and the director made a choice to only shoot in natural light. That was, that allowed for a good shot. So he didn't use any artificial light in the film, I guess. So it causes the film to take years to be shot or at least a really long, I think it was years . So that was just something I was thinking about about like your commitment to getting that one shot and what's prevented it. Like it's got you from, from getting that Taylor's falls

Josh Driver:

So far as the wrong word , uh non-ideal conditions. So the composition is great, but the lighting has never worked at like it's been too cloudy or it's rained or , uh , the sun came out, but there was no clouds and I wanted some sort of cloud formation in the sky and it's also a gut feeling. So it's , it's kind of a combination of the technical and the gut. Like I know, I know what the scene will be once I see it, it'll just be a re like, this is what I'm here for. I know now, but I couldn't necessarily describe exactly what I'm looking for, which is great. I like the mystery and surprise of that. Yeah . I think the, I think the other thing with what your earlier question is not just with the phones, but just with cameras, a lot of it's running gun. So a lot of photography that I've observed is running gun. Meaning you go here, take a shot quick. We have to go over here and get the scene from this shot. And while you'll get lots of images from different locations, you know, some of I'm wondering is can I just slow down and go to one location and kind of massage the area, if you will, to find the essence of the place. And I have had a lot of pictures that have been my best. They were taken at the very end when I was about to leave because I had slowed down and even not just slowed down, but I had been there for a long time. I've been there for an hour or two, and I was able to really understand and see rather than go for that glorious moment or preconception in my mind.

Alex Morrall:

Really cool. And I like your patience and it's,

Josh Driver:

It's getting there.

Alex Morrall:

It is like , that's really rare in today's world because everything is fast paced. I need it. Now I can Amazon prime it and have it at my house in a day, or,

Josh Driver:

Well, that's the phones to the phone technology does a lot of the things that you can do on your computer. If you take a raw file, your phone is adding saturation, your phone is adding contrast. Your phone is doing a lot of the things. So that just makes it easy, like click look at my beautiful shot. And it's a great thing. You know, people don't want to deal with settings and have to spend a lot of money, even though phones and cameras are getting closer to the same price. It's a good tool, but it is doing the things that we do on

Alex Morrall:

Computer. Yeah. That makes sense. And when you're working on a shot, do you like you don't do a lot of post production sort of work it's mainly like kind of raw in some senses or , or what is that? What's your take on that? How do you approach that?

Josh Driver:

Yeah, I kind of glad you brought that up because I get asked that at the art fairs that I met tending, so to provide some context with that, my work is on aluminum metal, which the aluminum is known to pop detailed color and vibrancy more than your other mediums, like canvas and paper. And so people come up to me like, oh, you've clearly Photoshop side. Note to that is actually has made me wonder if I should continue with aluminum because maybe then it's not a real presentation of my work if it's getting that much reaction, but a lot of people love it. So it's kind of, this is kind of a journey I'm on. But again, going back to I'm a photographer, not a digital artist . So I have my limits. Like you can crank these sliders all day. And there's a lot of people that just too much saturation, too much saturation. Like it can be cool the first few times to see it. But then after be like, okay, this is, I want to go back to like the real woods. So again, I'm not a digital artist. I'm not a post processor . I'm terrible at Photoshop. The only thing I use Photoshop is for cleaning the water droplets and dust from the image that may have been on my lens and some stitching of panoramics. So I try to limit myself to like five minutes. I try to limit myself to like, I'm not going to go plus, you know , two on the saturation slider, which to bring for people that don't know I'm when you take a raw file, it captures all the data. When you import that file into Lightroom or your online catalog, it's going to look like a blank photo because you have to bring back the color that you saw, but it has the information there. It's not compressed the image yet and said, here you go. Here's what you took. So there's some bringing it back, but there is a line in my opinion, to push the picture too much where you didn't see that, or you pop it too much. And so the aluminum does that. And when, especially when the sun hits it too , it makes it really bright and Santa , which I do. Like, I really love it. So I'm not anti that, but it's , it's just something that has struck me lately. I'm like, huh ? Maybe BB , I should not do glossy aluminum. I should do map aluminum. Instead. I think the other thing too, is that filters are everywhere. You can filter on your phone. So it's not just Photoshop it's filters. I think the younger generations really are adept with, you know , computers and phones. Right. They grew up on these, so they know all the tools and they like being out. They're comfortable there , they have skill sets . They're really good at digital art. They're really good at using these tools. And again, it's not bad. It's just not my view, not my vision. I want to be a photographer first. And then I don't, I don't consider myself a digital artists by any means. Yeah .

Alex Morrall:

Yeah. I like all the detail and thought that goes into what you're creating. And I will say as a proud owner of an aluminum Josh driver print, I am a fan. Okay .

Josh Driver:

We didn't agree that you had to buy a print before I got on this . That's true. That did not happen.

Alex Morrall:

Yeah . I bought it on my own volition or my own appreciation. Maybe that would be the way to say it. That works. So I like it. And I like what you're doing. And another thing that pops into my head is a lot of your shots are of natural landscapes and cityscapes too. But I'm wondering, is there something about nature and the woods or the mountains or some of these natural landscapes that you've shot that inspires you? Or is there something that you think that nature brings out of you in terms of your art and photography?

Josh Driver:

Yeah, certainly I've loved the outdoors since I can remember , uh , family vacations out west all the time in the mountains, along streams in the Meadows, by the lakes. So my family have kind of nurtured me to brought me into opportunities to experience nature, and we live close to the north shore here. So that's a favorite destination. So I, I love it. I am, I'm an introvert by trade also. And so I kind of escaped to the quiet of the wilderness, so to speak. And I love, I love that it's a rechargeable place. Crowds intimidate me. Crowds kind of make me lose. Not patience is not the right word, but just, it's a little frenzy. It's kind of a frenzy for me. And nature is beautiful. I think one of the things that's really hard in photography is to even capture the, I want to say intimate scenes. And I don't mean that in a sexual way at all. I mean, things that you would only observe through long observation or pausing things that seem quiet, but actually are rich with beauty. Like it could just be bark in the sun. That's really gnarly and cool looking and like one branch coming down, it's just simplistic beauties. There's all these little scenes, if you slow down. And I think we, we, we all appreciate these cause we're on walks and be like, I love walking by the lake. I love the trees. I love the light . So we know and appreciate this kind of thing. I think for me, it is an extra boost of feeling peaceful, feeling recharged, and it's a place I'm a detailed person too. So I'm always looking at veins in the leaves and what bugs are around. And so it's kind of checks all the boxes. I think the favorite thing to do today is to go camping and bring my camera. And that's just, that's a beautiful hobby.

Alex Morrall:

And when , when you do that, do you look for images or to the images find you

Josh Driver:

It's both? So my process is like 50% planning, 50% spontaneity because I have an idea of what I like. I know what I like, and I have an idea of what I want to photograph, but I'm always prepared for the conditions showing me something else. And I think you can get trapped into, or if I'm just going to shoot a sunset, sunset bombs and you go home, you're like, oh man, I didn't get anything. But if you go there and you think, well, if it's not a good sunset, can I do blue hour? The time after the sun sets, can I do black and white Kennedy, long exposure? Is it going to be a clear night? Can I do astrophotography ? Hey, should I do macro photography instead? So you see I've already listed like half a dozen options. And I think that gives you the power to be creative, to be hopeful, to be positive and to feel like, you know, I went out of here for something and you're not going to get something every time obviously, but that gives you more opportunity. I think it relaxes you more to that . It's not so hyped. There's not so much pressure to get the most beautiful grand thing you can. So I love having backup options.

Alex Morrall:

That's great. And you have a lot of tools in your toolbox. It sounds like, which is sort of, I didn't even know what half those things were. So it just like gives me an idea of how broad and deep, I guess photography can be just beyond what a regular person's .

Josh Driver:

Yeah. And then this is only my, from a professional or business side of things. This is only my third year and not even a full third year because of, COVID kind of knocked out a year of at least from a selling point of view. So I'm still learning on like, I'm still asking myself these questions, like, are you an artist? What's do you have a point to your photography? Should people be impacted a certain way? Do you care? Do you want to have a niche? Like eventually, do you want to get to a niche? Because I started off with waterfalls people once in a while, referred me as a waterfall guy. Cause I constantly did that, but now I do all sorts of things. So I'm in my, do I want to be just known for trying things. So I care to be known, you know, there's all these really interesting questions on this journey from more of an artistic point of view, or like to be known or at the end of the day, if I photograph for 40 years, what do I want to get out of it? Or what would I want to have chased that would bring fulfillment mainly so and so I'm just getting started. I got hopefully years and years and years to enjoy it.

Alex Morrall:

And that sort of spurs some questions for me. Like in some of the same sort of things you're asking, like does art fulfill something in you or does it help you to feel well in some way or feel purposeful in some way?

Josh Driver:

Yeah, this is interesting because I don't consider myself an artist. I consider myself a photographer. I don't consider myself a creative and now some people are, they really take meanings of words and specific words to the bank. And I'm kind of more of a generalist, but I don't identify with creative and artists as much as photography and I am those things and I've , I've never really viewed myself. I'm going to go and create, I think through photography, it's a blessing because if I get an opportunity to go recharge, to capture something that I can enjoy later and now have other people excited about what I captured. I mean, that's so humbling. I think part of my, you, you ask kind of off air what my bio might be. And I think that one of the things that I just, I have it on my artist statements is anytime someone buys for me, it's both an exciting and humbling thing because they value something so much that they're willing to spend a lot of money on and humbling like, wow, like you chose my work. Wow. That's , that's amazing. It's amazing every time. And I think sometimes when it gets really business and frantically kind of go turnover, turnover got to sale , I got to deliver, but I stepped back and go, another person wants my photography on their wall. That's really special. However, I , I didn't set out on this journey to have that be my end, just to say, oh, I want more work on people's walls. That's I don't even know if that's a secondary goal. It's a wonderful, beautiful perk. And I love it. And I'm going to , that is a reason to continue, but I think just the love of the world and how it was designed is, and just how it's working together and what it, how it surprises us. Somehow just being immersed in that with my camera as my tool is this refueling and just kind of peaceful, blessing that every chance I can get out, it's it's really good. It's a good thing.

Alex Morrall:

Super cool. I love that you are approaching it from that lens because it's almost like you're just

Josh Driver:

Nice, nice content ,

Alex Morrall:

But you are just on this journey to like, it's not contrived and it's not something that you're doing as like a shtick to make money or whatever. It's just like something that's just sort of flows out of you. And I think that's like where the best art or really the best of anything comes from is stems from some sort of passion that you, you just like can't resist in some sense , like you have to do it. You have to create, or, or for you not a creative, you have to photograph.

Josh Driver:

Yeah, no, that's true. I like, I've had some hobbies where, and this is now beyond a hobby, but it started off as a hobby where like, oh, I did it for a summer. I did it for a year. I got into cooking, I got into gardening. And some of that, you know, it was one year in dumb . It , this is, you know , getting to be five years pretty soon. And it is just, I feel at Interpol, like every day , I'm like, oh, if I go to the lake, I'll get that. Or, oh, I should go to the waterfall today. Like, there's just this constant pull there. So that's really neat. So , um ,

Alex Morrall:

Awesome. And where can our listeners find more about you or check out your ,

Josh Driver:

So I do have a website, Josh driver , photography.com and all of my social media is kind of the same, easy to find Josh driver photography. You just searched for though. You'll find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I'm on Instagram, the most posting kind of experimental shots. And it's kind of my hero . Here's what I'm doing. So I'd recommend that one above all three. And then I , yeah, I sell some prints on website and I sell mainly through direct order, but the best place to see my work is at our fairs around the state. So I get juried into our fierce , like the stone arts festival or the Dyna art festival, Duluth art festival. I'm going to Bayfront park and Duluth in two weeks to do a fair there and upcoming, I have Lakeville eat Dinah , fall red wing , uh , after that it's about eight shows this year. And , uh, that's where I people have asked me if I have a studio. I don't, my studio is a rotating art fair booth.

Alex Morrall:

That's awesome. And Josh, I'm curious like on the photography front, what's next for you? Like how are you looking to push your work forward as, as someone that's always, as you said, competing against yourself to be better than you were last year, how are you moving yourself forward in the next year ?

Josh Driver:

Love that. Well, I'm coordinating pursuing photography with being a first-time dad seven, eight month, year old. And so that has meant a lot less time to go out, which is okay. Cause she is gorgeous. She's uh , I said eight months. Yeah. I love, I love her and that's, that's a good season to be in. I think some of the things that I am asking myself again are through everyone to become a niche photographer. Cause I pardon me, loves focus. I love maybe not being known for something, but I it's more like, I love to be excellent in an area. So if makes sense, like I love to practice so much. I can get so good in one area that I've kind of hit pinnacle. I've hit 99% or something like that. I said , I never want to stop growing. So maybe never a hundred, but that's one question or I've thought about releasing maybe only one image a month in a sense, like I'm only going for the best. And if I don't get the best, I'm not going to release something subpar . So I've even thought about doing something like that. Yeah. There's, it's funny. I I've, I don't aspire to fame. I don't aspire to like make wealth from this if it helps my family. I mean, obviously that's incredible, but if it goes back to being a hobby, I'll be okay. Well, I, what I don't want to happen is to have tried this 50% and wondered, well, what would have happened if I tried a hundred percent? So in 2019, when I started this, I, it was my first year of doing the art fairs. I went all in, spent a lot of money investing in all the equipment in the art fairs, the inventory applied for every single show I could because I wanted to see, well, if I put in all my work, what will be the result? And here I am, year three, continuing to do better in sales, meeting, more people, people still like my work, my work is improving. So that's been a blessing and affirmation. Yeah. Keep on going. It's funny. A similar example is when I played soccer in high school, my mom's like, oh, you should slow down. Don't play as hard. And I said, are you kidding me? I'm going to be a terrible soccer player. I go down. Cause she was afraid of me getting hurt. But I said, no, I , I know if I go a hundred percent, I'm going to be really good. So that's kinda my, that's how I approach things. If I'm, if I'm all in, I'm all in. If I'm going to attack something that I really want to do, I , I can only do the best that I can do a hundred percent or more.

Alex Morrall:

Yeah. It really, I think that's really powerful. And I mean anything that I'm in the same camp as you like anything that you're going to do, you should do with all of your heart and, and put all of your effort that you can into it .

Josh Driver:

Well, it's risky too, because the chances of getting injured in the soccer game go up. If I play really hard, the risk of spending that much money in a startup business at that point in 2019 , I have no clue if people are going to buy my work, I have no clue. If they're going to buy these big pieces, I spent that much money. It could be talking about massive debt, you know, and thank God that entire debt is gone. It's paid off all the investment debt . Uh , it's just been huge to look back and say, my photographs brought back in that kind of return. It's incredible. I still am like, wow, something that I've made or I've photographed or I've produced, or I've presented to the world. They've said, we, we value that. And so that's that is affirming like no, the hundred percent, the hundred percent is worth it. You just have to understand the risk. And perhaps it's not always going to be this success story. And you can certainly go out with a conservative approach and be like, well, I'm going to do 50% of that. I'm not going to double inventory. I'm only going to show so many prints that there is a conservative way to do it where the risk is not as great. And I think that does work for a lot of people. And that would be a nice test. But for me, I just didn't want to look back and say, if

Alex Morrall:

FF and Josh, when you were at that inflection point, if you will, where you were deciding to take that risk, what gave you the strength to step out and do it?

Josh Driver:

My lovely wife, I remember on the couch, in our apartment in Northeast Minneapolis. And I just found out how much money it would cost to get this going. And I'm about to go tell her, Hey, do you support this ? Just like we're, we're a year into marriage too . And we're figuring out finances and our personality types. And I'm more of a spender and she's more of a saver. I came in with college debt. She had wiped her dad out and here I'm about to say, Hey, here we go. We want to save for a house. But here's like, you know, five figure debt coming at ya for prince . So hundred percent my wife saying, I believe you can do this. I support you if she would have said no, I don't know if I would've done it because maybe, you know, maybe we got through it. But uh, her support like that is, is a massive, just massive. And some people were slow to support. Others were quick to support it. But I just remember that conversation very well. It was like a huge weight, fell off my shoulders knowing, okay. She's with me. And I loved telling her, Hey, this is what this art fair brought in. Hey, I was able to widdle away this much or Hey, I went on this photography trip, cause that she's supporting me going overnights . Like I would go, I'd be like, Hey, can I go tonight at 10:00 PM? It's like 7:00 PM. My buddies texted me. Hey, let's go chase the Northern lights . Let's go get Milky way . I said, babe, can I go? And she was like, oh my gosh. I said, I'll be back at four in the morning. She goes, oh my gosh. When I come back and I'm not kidding out every trip that I have gone on, I've been able to sell multiple images and actually can tell her these trips have produced income. And that's just part of this amazing journey. I just feel very grateful for the blessings, the support, the open doors, the good friends and the teachers that have surrounded me in this. It's, it's really special.

Alex Morrall:

Really cool. Just to hear about your journey and how, how your wife has supported you and how you've like walked through this, this risk with one another and the power that lies in that. So it's really cool thing.

Josh Driver:

Yeah. And I do want to shout out J the mentor who , who kind of was the catalyst because he, and maybe this is a different podcast at some point, but he, he really showed me what mentorship is. I mean, basically 99 of what I would want also as a mentor, giving his resources, his connections, his network, his advice, his experience from learning from his mistakes, you name it his time, his family like his honesty, his candid honesty to a young aspiring photographer. Yeah. So I mean, he is, he's been incredible. And he's , um, again, without him being the catalyst, I don't know if I'd be chatting with you here either. Super

Alex Morrall:

Cool. And since this is a podcast where we talk a lot about wellbeing , I sort of have a two-part question for you. One is, do you feel that photography slash creativity plays into being well? And secondly, what does wellbeing mean to you?

Josh Driver:

Yeah, that's , that's good. Al, I think that, yes. I think more of a more simpler way to answer that is yes, because it fulfills , it refreshes me and we all need refreshment and that comes in different ways for me. It's from the competition. I play soccer on Saturdays. And without that, if I go too long, without that, I start to ice , get really, I get stressful. I get kind of fidgety and I'm like, I need this . I need to compete with some guys and we need to score some goals. I need to Deek somebody at the same thing is true with photography. I need to go, I gotta go camping. Cause it , it is well with my soul to quote that him , it , it just, it really, I respond well to, and I come back to life, ready, ready to take care of the family, the house, the chores, it , we all need times of rest. We need time to rest. I think even, you know, Jesus in the Bible, he was like teaching all these crowds like sermons and everything. And he, he like went across the water to escape the crowds. I went to the mountain and slept like, yeah , even he was like great teacher and Lord, like I just need to rest. And I just think I need rest. And various outlets of rest. One of the outlets of rest is going out into nature with a camera, even without a camera and just sitting there and watching and w watching the blue clouds, it doesn't have to be a sunset. It could just be, you know, on a trail somewhere. And so I think, I think wellbeing is finding out what refreshes you. And I think we all have been given ways uniquely to us that refresh us. And we have to find out what refreshes a beam may not refresh you, but we all have that. I think it's important, especially in the states, I've traveled around and they rest better than we do where I , where I've been. And we're constantly doing that. So I just encourage people to find those areas where your , your attention is not being demanded from a phone from Google calendar, from your camera, whatever it may be, find that what it isn't and go chase it and being intentional with it. I think one of the embedded disciplines, but one of the ones that I've been doing consistently for a number of years is escaping quarterly to a cabin in Wisconsin, just to pray, pray, read the Bible, go on, walks, sleep, actually take lots of naps, do journaling. It's just things that I can't do, or it's a lot harder for me to do when I'm home. That to me is , is also wellbeing . And I think just doing the things that I was made to do it was born to do is actually expression of praise. And I think that's how God made me and I want, I want to be how God made me. And I think part of being a photographer as well as a man is I want my self . I want to influence others. Like my work does. So I want to be authentic and I want my work to be authentic. So I want both of us to encourage like part of my photography and just who I am to wants to encourage others. And encouragement is a gift. It's a skillset that I just I have. And I, I don't always use it because I can be an introvert who kind of wants to shy away from people. But I want whether it's a fellow photographers listening to this, or, you know, people that come into my booth, or you sitting here, I want people to feel like man, that I'm encouraging them. It could be direct like, Hey, you can do it. Or just hearing some of how I approach the business or the arts or the family. And if they aren't, that's fine. But I that's , that's a goal. I hope, I hope people can come away with three interactions going, oh, that was a positive experience.

Alex Morrall:

So much good stuff that Josh and I just really appreciate all the wisdom and the sort of the information you've shared about your process and your I'm going to call you an artist.

Josh Driver:

It's okay. Hi artists. I just identify more with photographer . Yeah.

Alex Morrall:

But I really appreciate you being on the show and I'm blessed to have you as a friend and yeah. I'm just thankful that you could be here.

Josh Driver:

Yeah. I say , and I really appreciate being able to share the long version of the story and my approach because, you know, in the art fair, it's like, Nope, got to do it in five seconds. I feel like I'm wasting people's time or, you know, such a busy time. So we appreciate slowing down here and having a conversation

Speaker 3:

[inaudible]

Speaker 4:

Wellness, collective.