Ivan S. Harris – Turning Passion into a Profession
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Ivan S. Harris – Turning Passion into a Profession


When I was thinking of ways to introduce myself, I went down a bunch of different paths. You’ll find out quickly that I like to explore all the options before committing. So I thought the best introduction, was a reflection of where I am and how I got here… in hopes that it might inspires someone else. I’m Ivan S. Harris (I.S.H. this is important later) from San Diego by way of Joliet, Illinois.

© HB Photos
© Ivan S Harris Photography

I’m a photographer by trade. I write as a release. The Ying and Yang gives me balance. I’ve recently been approached to write for not one, BUT, TWO large format media outlets. I’m shocked… but not surprised because that’s actually how I envisioned my life going. I’ve always focused on doing something independently, and patiently waiting for someone to “take notice” and say, “hey come do that with or for us.”

I’ve been a photographer for a long time. I would never call myself a professional writer, the way I identify myself a professional content creator, photographer or social media influencer. I typically write as a release, because I had some ISH… (told you it was important) on my mind, and I wanted to release that energy in the form of written testament to a small group of my peers. This release, through rants or the random thoughts, would normally be “released” to my small Facebook network (under 6k followers) or as small scripted videos on my TikTok account.

Since these have been my sole sources of written expression, I wouldn’t consider that as “writing professionally.” So as I hit this portion of my journey and career, as a documentarian and a content creator, I begin to reflect on what it truly means to be a professional.

© Ivan S. Harris Photography

Being a professional means you have to produce a product, for example a photograph or in this case, written pieces on-demand and in bulk with money on the line. I’d even add that professionally doing something, also means it takes up a significant amount of time in your life. This is the subtle yet main difference between the pros and the amateurs.

I know people see artists and talent working in their craft effortlessly, making it look easy. That’s a great indication that this person is a pro, but the masses see that pro working, and immediately think that to themselves, “Oh, I could do that.” If you think you can, then you can. We can all do anything we set our minds to, but the question is, do you really want to do it for the long haul or is it a temporary interest that seems cool in the moment?

That’s why for instance, when people pick up a camera and start believing they can be a photographer right. As a veteran professional for 16 plus years, I don’t take it as a threat, because I know the real, authentic, professional trade photographers will weed themselves out from the trend chasers. Its simply a matter of patience and hustle through longevity, talent, determination, and of course, the level of income they can earn. The question is, can you consider yourself a professional if you can’t support yourself with this trade?

© Ivan S. Harris Photography

Being a Professional is an on going process. It’s something that takes skills, talent, experience, drive, heart knowledge, and most importantly dedication. The average person doesn’t have the drive, heart, skills, talent to do everything, so, that’s why the calling is so important.

© Ivan S. Harris Photography

What are you called to do professionally? The calling… is just that, it keeps calling. You can go do a million other things in your life and, some how, some way, still feel the desire to want to come back to that particular thing, because you felt called.

I was called to be a storyteller, via documentation and observation, and if that means telling a story in the way of video, photos, interviews, editing, producing or as much as I have avoided it, through writing, the calling is going to find me. The fact that two companies sought me out… when in fact it only takes one to give you the confidence you need to succeed, it meant I couldn’t really deny it anymore. The writing really is on the wall.

Since I currently write as a release, and in this post-Covid/2020, “with everything that’s [still] going on”, it seems I’ll be releasing my thoughts for quite some time. I never considered myself a professional writer, but as we learned in the past few years… anything can happen. I call it, the Pandemic Pivot.

Have you experienced a pivot after Covid? What have you been called to do? What are you doing toward your calling? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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