los angeles

I'm Scared...

Hey guys,

A lot of you might know this already, especially if you follow me on Instagram, but over the past month, I’ve made some major life decisions. I recently quit my day job in Los Angeles, and moved in with a few of my friends in Seattle. Everything happened extremely fast, and I’ve been busy trying to get my life together ever since making that decision.

Let’s start with why I quit my job. As you guys should know, I was an Assistant Manager at a luxury apartment community in Los Angeles. It was in no way, shape, or form, my dream job. I wasn’t happy with my life there, but it paid the bills, and worked for the place I was in life. I had great benefits, I got a discount on my apartment, and I lived where I worked. On paper, everything was great, except the fact that I hated it.

The main reason I stayed there for so long was the fact that I got a discount on an apartment that was REALLY nice! It was in a great location in the valley, near tons of shopping and restaurants, and had amazing amenities like a free gym, and even two pools. Another reason I stayed was because I wanted to eventually become the Property Manager, since they get a FREE apartment, not just a discount.

The current Manager did her best to train me to make sure I was ready for whenever the time came that I would become the Manager, and we had a plan that whenever she left, I would be the one to take her place since I know the property so well.

Well, not to get into too much detail, but around the beginning of September, she had some things going on in her personal life which led her to need to move to a property in a different location. While this was surprising news, it was also great news since I knew I would be next in line as Manager (or so I thought).

When she notified the office that she would be transferring properties and would no longer be the Manager there, she also notified the team that a new manager will be taking over in her place, and that the new manager would be coming from another property to take over her place. The second she said that, my heart dropped. I had been working so hard to be the one to take her place, and out of nowhere she tells me that some random manager from another property will be taking over instead. She looked directly in my eyes as she made the announcement, and I was in shock.

After we had the meeting where she made the announcement, I rushed to my computer and drafted my resignation letter.

I know it might have been something I did based on emotion, but after feeling backstabbed, it made me really put things into perspective. Why was I fighting so hard for a promotion at a job that I really hated? I literally sat in an office for 3 years, working my ass off just to pay bills, and only did what I loved when it was convenient for my schedule. After realizing this, I figured that it was finally time that I took the leap to do photography full time.

Well, I know you might be thinking: “Well why not do photography full time in Los Angeles? You were in the perfect place to do it, and you already built a name for yourself there”.

See, while that might be true, I also didn’t really love Los Angeles. It’s a great place to make a name for yourself, but not only did I not love the city, I also didn’t love the people. Everyone there has this way of thinking that they are so much better than you, which results in little to no paid work. It’s also extremely competitive when it comes to working with agencies, which resulted in hardly any work from them, let alone paid work. I would have also needed to find a new place to live, and a part of me wanted to finally be away from my family.

I had a few friends that were looking for a roommate in Seattle, and figured it would be much easier to just move here and start fresh. The rent is cheaper, I can afford nicer place and still be paying less than if I was in LA, and it’s still a great market to be in for photography. So, I packed my things, got movers to store most of my big furniture, and I moved.

I’ve been here for a little over 2 weeks now, and I’ve already started making some big moves here in photography. I contacted a few agencies, and two already got back to me saying they’re interested in working. One already sent me a package, and I shot with one model so far, but I want to set up a few more test shoots so that I can get them to add me to their team. I’m still waiting to set things up with the other agency so that I can start shooting some of their new faces, but it’s taking a little longer with them for some reason.

So basically, how it works with agencies is that they send you a “package” of their new faces that need more shots for their portfolio, and you choose the ones you want to work with. It’s essentially a collaboration where the model and photographer work together to show off their skills. What I need to do is show the agency that I work well with different models, and can produce great work regardless of model or location. Once I prove myself and the agency is interested in working with me regularly, then we start talking about paid work. I’m in the stage where I’m shooting with different models, which is great for only being here 2 weeks, but I’m still pretty far away from getting paid to shoot with models.

All of that being said, I’m at the point where I’m running out of money, and need to figure out what I’m going to do to pay the bills. Luckily, I paid rent for November already, so I still have some time, but I just bought a car and needed to get insurance as well, which is only adding to my expenses. I also still have to pay the remaining balance for the moving company to bring my furniture from Los Angeles to Seattle this Saturday, and I need to buy lighting equipment for a home studio. When all is said and done, I’m going to be absolutely broke by the beginning of November, and for the first time in my life, I’m scared financially.

I’ve always had a secure job, and I’ve always had a way to pay my bills. Now, I have bills to pay, and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to pay them. I can easily apply for a day job here, but then that’ll put me right back to where I was in Los Angeles; working a job I don’t want to pay the bills. While it might be the most logical thing to do, I still want to wait a while before falling into that same trap again.

So what are my options? Well, I have to put my heart and soul into my work (as if I wasn’t already), and create such beautiful content that the agencies will have no choice but to hire me. Obviously, that would be the best case scenario, but it’s really hard to tell with agencies whether you’ll actually get hired or not. In addition to that, I’m thinking of maybe signing up for Uber or Lyft to make some extra money on the side during my off-days. The only issue I have with that is that I’ll be driving a TON with a new car, and will eventually have to worry about maintenance and miscellaneous repairs. I’m also going to be working a lot harder on my Patreon, providing content for people that truly want to support me. I’ve been neglecting it for a while, but it’s time that I started taking it more seriously.

I also have a little side hustle where I’m working on my own swimwear line. I know it’s totally out there, but it’s something that I think can make me some passive income on the side once I get everything sorted out. If you wanted to check it out, you can take a look at www.offtheclock.shop.

For some strange reason, I also want to start a twitch channel where I edit photos and chill with people that are interested in how I edit and which techniques I use. It might be a good way to connect to my audience a bit better.

I think I’m done ranting for now, but I definitely wanted to keep you guys in the loop since I’ve been missing for a while. If you have any other ideas, please leave me a comment! Trust me, I’m all ears…

Until next time,

Tristan

Dating in Los Angeles

Hey guys,

As promised, I'm going to be blogging more often now! It seems like a lot of you are VERY interested in my personal life, so I guess I'll blog a bit more about it.

The last blog post got a lot more attention than I thought it would, and I want to thank everyone that reached out to me after reading it! It really meant a lot to receive such kind words from people that I didn't even know paid so much attention to my life and my work. It was truly humbling and I appreciate every message that was sent!

Today I want to talk about what it's like to date here in Los Angeles. You know, being a photographer in Los Angeles, you'd think dating would be so easy because you get to meet so many beautiful and talented people. In fact, every time I tell someone that I'm a photographer, they always ask if models let me sleep with them after a shoot. It's bizarre to me how many people associate photography with sex, and I don't understand where that idea comes from. Even when I shoot nude photography, it's more about connection and making the model comfortable in front of the camera than it is about me trying to get in her pants.

That being said, I have met some incredibly talented women through photography, and of course the idea of dating them have crossed my mind, but to be completely honest, I don't think I'm quite ready to date anyone. Over the past few years, and my last two relationships, I've come to realize a LOT of my flaws, and I really need to work on myself before I can even entertain the idea of being in a relationship with someone.

Let's take a step back for a minute. My last two relationships were easily the most important relationships in my life. I learned so much about myself, and even more about how real relationships work. Back when I lived in The Bahamas, I was dating someone for 3 years, and that's when I experienced what a true relationship was like. The time and dedication we put into the relationship was something I wasn't used to, and it honestly made me so much stronger as a person. There were a lot of ups, but even more downs, and it felt like the last year and a half was just a constant battle to keep us afloat. It felt like every day there was something new to argue about, and it really started to exhaust me mentally.

The worst part about that situation was that we were perfect for each other in bed, and to me, sexual compatibility is 50% of the relationship. Our sex life is what kept us fighting because we knew how hard it would be to find something better, but in the end, I just couldn't take it anymore. The relationship was toxic, and to top it all off, when it finally ended, she started dating one of my close friends. I fell into a deep depression, and this is what made me finally make the jump to move to Los Angeles.

After slightly recovering from that relationship, I ended up meeting the woman of my dreams on Instagram (yes, you read that correctly). We both had mutual friends from The Bahamas, but just never met in person. I sent her a DM, which led to me getting her number, which led to constant Facetime sessions, which led to me falling head over heels for her. We had never met in person, but I absolutely fell in love with her personality. She was everything I wanted in a woman, and more.

To make things more interesting, she went to school in Scotland, so it took a lot of effort to keep in touch with the 8-hour time difference, but we both made it work because we wanted it to.  Actually, our first date was me booking and planning a trip to Scotland, then to Rome, then back to Scotland (yes, I know), and this is when things started to go downhill.

We had been planning what our first time in bed would be like, and we were REALLY looking forward to it. Our first night in bed is where the problem started. I was too big to get it in, which made it extremely painful for her, and made it impossible for us to have sex. We kept trying over the course of the 10-day trip, but with no success. Like I said before, sex is 50% of the relationship for me, and knowing that we couldn't really put up a mental block in my mind. After the trip, it was hard for us to even flirt with each other because we knew the truth is that it just probably wouldn't work in bed. We tried to make it work for a few months, but between the distance and me knowing we couldn't have sex, it only made sense for us to end.

In one relationship, I had a woman that I was completely sexually compatible with, but who had a horrible personality, and in the other, I had a woman with the perfect personality, but I couldn't have sex with her. As you can image, fighting for both of these relationships taught me a lot about myself and my needs, which makes it extremely hard for me to find someone that would be perfect for me (or even close to perfect).

So now that you understand that, let's jump to the present. When I'm looking for someone to date, I'm looking for someone with an amazing personality, and one that is amazing in bed, but on a deeper level than the average person. I know what it's like to be in a relationship with someone that has a personality that doesn't compliment mine, and I know what it's like to be with someone that can't fulfill my sexual desires, and I'm at a point where I just simply don't want to waste time anymore.

Unfortunately, for me, this makes it extremely hard for me to date anyone given my current circumstances. First of all, Los Angeles is HUGE, and if you don't have a car (which I don't), that means you're going to need to spend some money on Ubers just to go out with them. On top of that, you'll also need money to go to dinner or for drinks or whatever, and that all really adds up. Also, I live in the valley, which means I'm further away than the average person, so I REALLY have to make an effort to see someone.

On top of this, my parents have been staying in my apartment for almost a year now, which makes it hard to bring people back to my place. When we moved to Los Angeles, my parents had planned on buying an RV and road tripping throughout the states, however, after a few months, they decided this wasn't the lifestyle they wanted anymore, sold their RV, and moved in with me and my sister. I don't know about you guys, but I hate mentioning that my parents are staying with me because I feel like it sounds like I'm still living with my parents, and I hate it. I don't want to be on a date with someone and then tell them my parents are back at my apartment. That's just awkward. What's even more awkward is that they sleep on the couch, not in a room, so if I bring anyone home, there my parents are sleeping on the couch or watching Netflix or something. It's just not the ideal situation at all.

That's just the basics, so let's get a little deeper into what makes dating hard for me. We live in an era where everyone has access to everyone. With Instagram and online dating apps, there's an endless amount of options someone has. If I don't keep them interested in what I have to say, they're just one swipe or DM away from another option, and this makes it hard to keep someone's interest. This also applies to me in the fact that if I meet someone that I might be interested in, I stop myself from really opening up because I know that there are more options out there, and I don't want to put all of my eggs in one basket.

It's so crazy how social media comes into effect when you think about dating someone. For example, I've been going out with a photographer that I truly like and relate to. I've gone on two dates with her, and we occasionally talk over Instagram. I constantly see her Instagram stories of her doing photoshoots and going to photography meets etc, and a part of me always wants to start a conversation by saying someone about how her photos look or how the meet looks like so much fun, but at the same time, I don't want to come off as needy or begging for attention, so I find myself stopping myself from actually sending these messages. Social media allows me to keep up with her life on a daily basis, but it also makes me overthink because of how often I can message her.

To make things worse, she tends to not answer me when I ask her about meeting up again, and because of social media, I can see that she's on her phone and being active on Instagram, but just choosing to ignore my messages. This gives off the vibe that she's just not interested in me, even though she might genuinely be busy and isn't able to get to my message right away, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm thinking I'm not good enough for her attention. It's an extremely hard situation to deal with mentally, but that's just the way it works these days.

Taking all of these things into consideration, I'm not sure what it'll take for me to actually be able to date someone again, but to be honest, I'm not getting any younger, and this is something I need to figure out soon (or at least that's how I feel). 

I'll keep you guys posted on how my dating life is going, so if you're interested, be sure to subscribe below!

Until next time,

Tristan

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Opening Up...

Hey guys,

I know, I know, it's been a while, but words can't describe how busy I've been. Between my day job, photography, and just life, things have been PRETTY crazy! There's been quite a few highs, but also a few lows. Basically, there's been a TON of work for me, both at my day job, and with clients booking me for photography, and while that's been great, I still feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be. It's hard to explain, and I usually keep these kinds of things bottled up, but I decided to turn to writing to get my feelings off my chest. That being said, I'm going to start blogging again, once a week, on not only my photography, but also my personal life.

This first blog post is going to focus on one main point that I just need to get off my chest. In short, I'm not happy.

Let's start from the beginning. Growing up in The Bahamas, you'd think I'd love my surroundings. When you think of The Bahamas, you think of the beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and drinking pina coladas on the regular. While that might be true for people with an endless stream of money, people still need to work for a living, and from an early age, I knew that The Bahamas wasn't the place I wanted to live forever. In addition to that, The Bahamas (at the time) wasn't known for supporting the arts, and I knew that I wanted to be in a field that had to do with creativity, whether it be writing, videography, or photography.

I grew up on an island that was only 21x7 miles, which made everything feel very suffocating. Everyone knows everyone, and it just didn't feel like I had any privacy. If I was dating someone, literally everyone on the island knew, and if someone saw me talking to another girl by chance, they would run to my girlfriend and start drama. Suffering from social anxiety, this made things very hectic for me in my mind, and I knew I needed to get out.

I begged my parents to send me to boarding school in Florida, and when I was there, it became clear that I just really didn't want to be in The Bahamas anymore. The hardest part about being exposed to the "outside world" was the fact that I had to return to The Bahamas to start working. I studied and took the exam to get my real estate license, and once I got it, I started working for a luxury real estate broker. I knew this wasn't my calling, but this was when I started to make money outside working for the family, so I stuck with it.

The job itself was very draining, so I decided to take up a hobby in videography. I started to create comedic YouTube videos mocking Bahamian culture, and it blew up. Some of my videos were getting over 30,000 views, and people started treating me like a celebrity, crying when they met me etc. The whole thing was pretty crazy, but it was fun, so I stuck with it. I actually shared my YouTube channel with one of my close friends at the time, and together we took The Bahamas by storm.

It's so funny how even though I was having fun and getting all these YouTube views, I wasn't making any money from it. It was hard for me because I knew I wanted to create, but The Bahamas wasn't ready to support that kind of content in a way which I could make a living from, and it really started to get to me. A lot of my skits would involve me putting on a wig and mocking Bahamian women, which also led to a lot of death threats, and people accusing me of being gay. This made it harder for me to feel comfortable leaving my home, and over time, I was just over everything.

Fast forward a few years, and I just couldn't take it anymore. I needed to get off that island, and I couldn't find a better time to do it than right after a breakup with my girlfriend of 3 years. We broke up and about a week or two later I found out she was having a 'thing' with one of my friends, and I lost it. I packed my bags with my family, and we were off to LA.

When I first I moved here, my main goal was to find a job so that I can afford rent, but I knew I still wanted to be a creator of some sort. After landing a job as a furniture salesman, I decided to start my blog where I wrote about fashion, and started an exciting series where I interviewed my favorite models. Things really started to look up when I interviewed Amanda Cerny, who had about 6 million followers at the time of our interview. When she shared the interview, my blog blew up!

I started getting emails from models that wanted me to interview them, and things got exciting when I got to interview a model that was about to be signed with Sports Illustrated. I went through the motions and got all of my questions answered, and right when I was about to publish the interview, I got an email from Sports Illustrated saying I couldn't use the photos she sent me until they were published. This put a hold on publishing the interview, and it really got me thinking. I should be taking photos of the models I interviewed! That's essentially how I got into photography, and ever since I picked up a camera, I never wanted to put it down.

Whenever I had a long day at work, instead of coming home to relax and get in bed, I wanted to come home and study photography. I watched tons of YouTube videos, and studied my favorite photographers until I developed my own style. The thing about my style is that I edit photos based on how I'm feeling, and if you look at some of my previous work, you'll see that my style was very bright and colorful. I bring this up to point out that over the past few months, I noticed that my work has gotten very dark and moody, and even though this isn't a bad thing, it made me realize how I truly feel deep down.

Over the past few months, I realized that I'm not as happy as I was when I first moved to LA. All the excitement of being in a big city is gone, and my days are starting to feel repetitive. I landed a great job as an Assistant Manager at the luxury apartment community I live in, but the job itself is destroying a part of who I am. I like to think of myself as a kind, generous, and most of all, empathetic person. I always put myself in someone else's shoes to understand their point of view, and try my best to make sure they're happy. I guess this is how I cope with my unhappiness, feeding off of making other people happy. The reason I bring this up is because my job description requires me to be, well, an asshole.

My literal job description is to do things such as send people to evictions, send people to collections, and enforce the rules and policies of the community regardless of someone's personal situation. Some of the things I deal with on a daily basis are having resident come into my office and cry to me because they just got let go and have no way to pay rent, and I have to look at them in their eyes and tell them there's nothing I can do to help. I literally have to tell them that no matter what their story is, if their rent isn't paid by a certain date, I'm going to be filing for eviction, regardless of how this is going to affect their life, credit, or even children. 

One day I towed a car that didn't have the parking pass it needed to be parked there, and later on that day I had the owner come into my office crying saying that her daughter missed her speech therapy class because of this, and that she didn't have the money to pay the tow company for the ticket, all because her parking pass slipped off her dashboard when she parked. I had to look her in the face and pretty much say, "Oh well, you should have followed the rules".

Situations like this don't feel like much at the time, but when things like this happen on a daily basis, it starts to numb you. I'm becoming an asshole that I don't want to be, just because it's my job description, and I hate it. It's starting to affect my mental health, and I'm just not quite sure how much I can take.

To get my mind off of work, I've always turned to my photography, and now even that is starting to depress me. My severe hatred for my day job has given me motivation to make photography my primary source of income, but things just aren't happening the way I'd like them to, and it brings me down. It's hard to be in Los Angeles as a photographer and try to make a living, because there's simply too much competition, and it's not easy to accept. Everything is a "collab", and hardly anyone values your work enough to pay you because they know they only need to send a DM to another photographer and get to shoot for free. The whole system is very discouraging.

On top of that, I scroll Instagram and see so many photographers hustling and creating amazing art, which, in turn, makes me feel like I'm not successful enough, like I'm not good enough. It's gotten to the point where I start to get anxious when I open Instagram because I don't know if a post is going to trigger depression or envy. Something that I never thought I'd ever speak about (or write about in this case), is that fact that I've been having suicidal thoughts recently. Before you get worried, I would never do something like that because I know that there is too much of the world I want to see before I die, but that doesn't change the fact that the thoughts are there. A few weeks ago I had a photoshoot on a railroad, and as the train was approaching, I found myself thinking how easy it would be to just step in front of it as it flew by. This wasn't the first of these thoughts I've been having either, but now it's really starting to get bad.

All of this being said, I haven't been motivated to shoot as much as I used to, and life is just starting to seem like a downward spiral into some dark and depressing abyss, and I'm not quite sure how to cope with these emotions. This is why my recent work has been much darker than it used to, tapping into a part of me that I didn't even know was there until it was brought to my attention. One of my followers actually asked if everything was ok with me because they could tell through my work that something was up.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, I'm also tackling some debt that I've accumulated since moving to LA which is just extra weight on my shoulders that I really don't need right now. Over the years I've had to pay for Ubers to photoshoots, camera equipment, maintenance etc, and it's really added up. I'll write about this in more detail in another blog post, but the debt is what's stopping me from quitting my job and moving to another state where expenses are less expensive, because my job is safe and it pays the bills. This makes me feel trapped. I went from being trapped on a 21x7-mile island, to being trapped in a job I hate, and it honestly feels like there's no escape.

One of the things that really got to me was the fact that I felt like I had no one to talk to. Ever since I've moved to LA, I haven't really invested in any sort of friendships. Don't get me wrong, I made a LOT of friends here, I just never allowed myself to open up to the point where I can go to someone about these kinds of things, and it's really starting to bite me in the ass. That being said, I've made it a point to try and get myself out there more, accepting invitations to parties, and even starting to date again, which honestly feels a bit foreign to me. After my last few relationships, it's been extremely hard for me to really open up to someone, and be vulnerable. A part of it has to do with trust issues, but I think it mainly stems from me not being able to handle another heartbreak right now. That would be the thing to really push me over the edge, and it's just something I'm not prepared to handle, but I'm still trying.

Going in to this blog post, I was only writing it because a lot of my followers were genuinely interested about my personal life, but after putting my feelings into words, I think I'm going to make this an ongoing thing. I want to document my progress from this depressed state of mind to whatever state of mind the future holds. I want to turn to writing as a way to get things off my chest, and I want to document my highs and my lows. I'll be blogging about my personal life, and also about photography. I want to make this my main source to showcase my work, gravitating further and further away from Instagram. If you want to tag along for the journey, feel free to subscribe below.

Until next time,

Tristan

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