A week before 9/11 2001, my good friend Luc and I started Ang'l web design. Needless to say, a week later we kinda got scared with what was happening in the world. But we hung in there; and now, 8 years later, we're still very much in business.
What used to be a two-man operation has now grown to a lean mean mini-agency of 5 people, and a turnover we can all live comfortably from.
Ang'l provides me with the necessary freedom so i can pursue my long term photographic projects, slowly making the transition to making a full living out of those. Because my approach to photography, specializing in long term conceptual documentary photography - yes that is a mouthful indeed - does not readily warrant a steady income right from scratch. You need to pave your own way a fair bit.
But who's complaining? I have a healthy balance between family & friends, Ang'l web design, BURN magazine, and my own photography here, and the balance is slowly shifting to where i would like it to settle down. And i guess the slower the shift, the more gradual the movement, the more tried-and-tested it will be once i get there. Beats any sudden life-style changes in my book.
At Ang'l we work in a hyper-personal way with our clients. and hyper-flexible. and hyper-professional. Well, we have no choice of course, being the small lean web design agency and all, but we manage to handle a few large clients and a dozen smaller ones exceptionally well.
It's hard keeping up with technology. Always is. But we try to use Moore's law to our advantage and make our web experience count, and then rely on a mega cool network of über-high-tech freelancers to do all the fancy stuff that we dream up. Less profit, but a neat way of giving back to the community...
And it spills over of course. I am a photographer who can conceptualize, design and program web sites. Conceptualize, design and print books. Conceptualize, design and produce videos. Work professionally and courteously with any media company i deliver my images to. I believe, i hope that this extra knowledge will foolproof me for the future... the future which is now, which does require more from a photographer than just to be able to shoot exceptional images.
I know, i know... It is hard enough as it is to make exceptional images... only to realize that when you finally do so, people expect all that other stuff as well. It seems unfair. But i guess it's the only way to make a difference... other than hoping that God or some other higher being will endow you with so much talent that you can forget all that other stuff.
Somehow i believe that the chance of the latter ever happening, is infinitesimally smaller than just working your #ss off and trying to make it happen for yourself.