I Fell Out of Love With Photography

It was the fall of 1999. I was in my 4th semester in college and unsure of the direction of my career, but knew for sure I DID NOT want to work for a company for the rest of my life. I just couldn’t stand being told what to do.

If there was one thing in particular I knew about myself is that I was innately creative and had the character traits of an entrepreneur since I was a child. When I was young my grandfather used to bring me with him as he went canvasing around our neighborhood in Corona, Queens, NY.

He was selling countertop NASA water filtration systems, the first of it’s kind to be introduced to home owners. Buyers could connect the hose to their kitchen sink and get clean filtered water.

Despite the actions of my neighbors (nice or not so nice) my grandfather kept going. He never allowed a no to stop him. I didn’t know, at the time, that my grandfather was instilling qualities within me of a future business owner.

I just wanted to give you some background. Let’s fast forward to college…

My first drawing in class ‘Introduction to Drawing’. I drew this handsome young man from a flag in my room titled “Rasta Baby”.

I always loved to draw and doodled often (more like everyday in every class). Taking a drawing class while in college was my release through all the intense studying.

My art professor was so impressed with my art that he suggested I take photography as an art elective. I’m not quite sure how he made the connection but he was convinced I would do really well.

In the fall of 2001 I immersed myself in photography. I enjoyed being behind the camera and capturing what captivated me. I was intrigued by the process of film and print development and amazed at my new found creativity.

I was in love…

While close to graduation I made a nice niche for myself and connected with a few magazines that were interested in hiring me for future editorial shoots and peaked the interest of several media companies that contacted me to inquire about commission work. I actively participated in exhibitions, artist groups and everything revolved around creative networking.

Then reality hit…

I was really good at what I did and heard it often. I often heard, “I love your work”, yet the appreciation of it didn’t lead to many sales. And I quickly learned that although I truly appreciated the compliments, it wasn’t providing me with an income.

At a certain point, the constant compliments, without sales, brought me to a bitter place with my photography. And when I was hired for work, the constraints of what people wanted, really wasn’t something I enjoyed.


I fell out of love with the love of my life…

But how could I? I thought I was in love?

I took a break for some time, put my camera down, and switched from Government contracting (which I was doing while being a photographer) to contracting with media companies. I tried Photo Editing for a change.

Although I made a great income I quickly realized I DID NOT want to be behind a desk all day. Unfortunately I didn’t want to do commission work that was unfulfilling for me either.

It took a few years, and various business ventures (while working I did Network Marketing and was also in the process of buying a franchise), for me to discover my passion. Through my journey I learned business skills that not only prepared me for my future endeavors but also helped me to redefine my ‘Why‘.

I rediscovered my passion

See, when I fell in love with photography I was free to create what was beautiful and rewarding for ME, without the worries of being dependent on making an income from it.

In order for me to get back to that feeling, I needed my freedom back…

Instead of depending on my art to make me money, I depend on my art to give me freedom. Freedom of expression. Freedom of release. And the freedom to dive into my innate creativity without restriction.

Instead, I choose to use my talent to work on personal works such as Feminine Transitions, I Am More Than My Hair and the countless of other ideas in my head. I am still hired as a photographer (by folks I know personally or by referral). But this time around I’m performing the work that represents my style most. And I still own a construction company 🙂

One thing I have learned…

I love being happy and I love to make money. As women we sometimes have a difficult time saying that. But without it we can’t survive…unfortunately. Reading the the harsh statistics about women and money in a dear Sister’s book, Whatever Works (chapter Money and the Elephant in the Room), not only scared the hell out of me but also bought me to new awareness.

So make your money, enjoy your freedom and do what you love.

I’m in love again…


Stacy launched, CRUSH Fitness, her first online health and fitness magazine. She’s enjoying her freedom. I enjoyed the shoot 🙂


25 thoughts on “I Fell Out of Love With Photography”

  1. Wonderful narrative Alyscia Cunningham ~.
    Great Writing!
    Very Inspirational.
    You draw really well too.
    I can relate to your story.
    You are super talented.
    Glad to call you friend for many years.
    We photogs have to stick together.
    All the Best Always~
    Warmest Regards,
    Denée Barr

  2. Wonderful post Alyscia, every bit of it is true!
    Freedom of expression is the most important thing for your inner growth and for nurturing your creativity!
    Creativity can’t be confined, can’t be given dead lines to meet, it has to be free, it has to be flowing!

  3. Great piece. I can relate. After almost 30 years as professional writer and editor I have fallen “out of love” with writing. When I started, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Now I’m looking for ways to combine my passions with writing. Problem is, the work I don’t enjoy is what pays the bills, and with college looming, I can’t just do the stuff I like. Best of luck to you in following your bliss.

    1. Hi Lindsey! Thanks for reading. 30 years as a writer is amazing. It is very challenging when the things we usually don’t enjoy pays the bills. I shorted my blog because my story is sp long but I launched a construction company because I rather work for my own business if I was going to have to put in so much work. Building for me is an art and I wanted to keep it as creative as possible. Best of luck combine your passions with your writing! Somehow it always comes together.

    2. Yes Lindsey Alyscia is right. Your best work will come from what you are passionate about, enjoy, and can do well. It takes a lot of courage and risk. Step out on Faith! Enjoy the journey ~ Blessings!

  4. My experience is similar and different…and I am in between, now….Photography the field has changed, and photographs’ value is different now. I came up in the 20th century, during the film years, and it was a different experience completely…physically, mentally and spiritually…and financially too. After 10 years photographing professionally and at the dawn of the digital age, I had baby #1 and continued sporadically to work, eventually at the end of 2005 I transitioned to digital. Again as a new mom, photography was a sideline, baby #2 arrived in 2008, and the value of photography continued to decrease, and it became more and more of a desk job, where you never meet the people you work with and for, everything is sedentary and solitary. It was good for a while, but then sitting all day alone in front of the computer became annoying and then the reward is little to no money. I became discouraged. Like you I have begun to move into a new direction, and now I am in school for my MA in dance, so I can move my body and be with people…and hopefully make money….but I have a 20+ year old archive of (dance) photographs…12 years worth of work that needs to be scanned, because the film/negatives years were good, but now no one can see that work, because of the format change…. so as I may leave that part of my life behind, I still need to attend to care for the archive…and that is unpaid, and sit-down job, good for retirement years…. anyway, I’m glad you have a day job that you love and pays, and a way to create what you want too….that is the best way, I wish I had thought of it 20 years ago!

    1. Hi Julie,

      You’re definitely right about the change in photography. I grew very frustrated with the digital age because the process of film and development was therapeutic and an art by itself. Being an entrepreneur definitely has its challenges (that’s an entire book if challenges 🙂 but I would have it any other way.

      You Dance? I love dance! I wish you all the best and the money, that you’re truly deserving of, in your direction of dance and creativity. It’s never too late!

  5. A good inspiring read and ‘feel good’ story. Kudos toy you and thank you for sharing. Photography has always been my outlet and is now my business as a retired IT pro.

    1. Thanks Hayden!I appreciate you reading and congratulations on your retirement and having the opportunity to dive into your creative outlet. All the best!

  6. Thank you Alyscia. I love hearing about the photography journey and experiences of others. The truth is, turning your art or passion into a business can cause you to fall out of love and I don’t think that is often addressed. Being a professional photographer can seem “freeing” and fulfilling but it may not be for everyone. As someone who is learning and wanting to at least get to that professional skill level, it’s refreshing to hear that you can have that without actually working as a photographer (but bonus that you can still get gigs).

    1. Hi Efa, That’s exactly right! After turning it into a business (full speed ahead) I did just that…I fell out of love. Now that I own a home improvement, which for me is still art, I’m able to dive into my photography as a please. Even more so in my personal projects. It IS freeing that I don’t have to depend on it and I can do as I please. I wish you all the best in your journey! Thanks for reading!

    1. ThanK you! I loved your article as well. I remember being there when I was younger and going through the experience of feeling bitter then falling back in love after figuring it out. These are things that aren’t taught in school but I really think it should be. All the best with following your passion 🙂

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