Chic or Sexy? The choices we make every day

Diamond Ring: $4873.91
Nikon D3s: $5089.95

 I took a deep breath and walked into the small elevator, pulling my light kit behind me. The doors closed but the buttons were locked. I would get off where the elevator took me. If you've never been in a private elevator you'll have to trust that it's a bit disconcerting to walk into a small box and just wait to see what happens.

When the door opened I was greeted by my client, an elegant well dressed man. Standing slightly behind him was a kind quiet woman - his wife. As I looked around at the room behind me I realized I had stumbled into the most luxurious Manhattan apartment I had ever set foot in. It wasn't decorated in my taste, but every detail had been attended to and every single item shouted elegance and high price tags. I suddenly wished I had quoted a higher price.

I relieved myself of my light kit and my camera bag and asked about the kids. "They're probably in the theater. Last room on the left." I walked down the hall and turned left. A theater. No, not a big screen TV or even a screen with a projector in the living room but a full fledged theater complete with plush couches that could probably seat 15 if you wanted to. Sitting on the floor playing were two small boys, one 2 and the other 4.

My reason for being there was that I was hired to photograph their family. We decided to do it in the family home because the boys were so young and the client felt they would be more comfortable. I worked with them all afternoon, moving my lights around to photograph them in the living room, the theater, the kitchen and eventually the roof. They had the whole roof with a private deck large enough to hold a cocktail party, a separate grilling patio and a fenced in playground for the boys.

I worked as I always do, trying to get to know the client as well as I could in a short time so that I could find the looks that represented that person the most, or in this case each member of the family as well as the group dynamics with each other. I kept due diligence towards thinking about how to light the room, compose the image, eliminate the unnecessary. I even had a bottle of no-spill bubbles to blow for the boys that I could hold with one hand while shooting with the other, a trick I learned from another fashion photographer that was shooting children's wear. At the end of the shoot I was fairly satisfied with the work and the client seemed pleased as well.

Afterwards we stood in the kitchen and talked for a while. He was an investment banker that had done well for himself. I can't remember if she also had a career or not, but what I do remember was that in this clearly male dominated family it wasn't important to talk about what she did.

At some point ages came up and this changed everything. It turns out we are the same age. I was a bit shocked both because they both looked about ten years older than me and because it was hard for me to imagine having that kind of a life so young. He also seemed surprised and I'm not sure if it was because I look younger than I am or at the thought of being a single struggling (by his standards - by mine I was doing quite well at the time) artist at our age.

I left with a heart heavier than my bags, knowing that I would almost definitely never experience a life like that. Clumsily dragging my kit through the turnstiles and down the stairs I jumped on the subway and headed back for Brooklyn.

When I got home I walked into my converted loft, with its' high ceilings, white walls and one wall of windows overlooking the Williamsburg Bridge and Manhattan. My first thought was that I couldn't really call this home as it was 90% photo studio and only about 10% living accoutrements. Then I sat down on the antique pew that lined up under the windows and looked around, and thought for a moment. The room was filled with a well thought out combination of antiques and modern furniture, set up in a way that created a perfect studio to work in but with a few simple changes was cozy enough to feel comfortable in. Next I remembered that today I got paid to do what I love and I created something permanent and beautiful for someone. Finally, I realized that this is home for me.

We all make choices in life every day, and the reason they're called choices is because there are tradeoffs to each. The problem comes when we don't make these choices consciously but act only on instinct or the advice of others. I chose this life carefully, knowing full well that for every thing I love about it there was something I would have to give up. And when it comes right down to it I know I made the right choice for me, even if it would be the wrong one for so many others.

Have you had an experience like this? Have you ever been through a moment where you regretted your choices until you remembered why you made them? Share them here.

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