Thomas W.P. Slatin discusses the importance of choosing a career path based on one’s interest and passions, and how to make that viable.
Thomas W.P. Slatin is published writer and photographer who maintains the importance of staying true to one’s passions and demonstrating how others can truly make a career in photography viable. His photography work is licensed through platforms such as Canva.com and 500px.com. In terms of truly doing work one loves, and being authentic in perpetuation of that work, Slatin states, “there are a lot of very perceptive people in society who will notice right away if someone is unhappy with their occupation, and unfortunately not everyone has the profession that they dream of having.” Continuing, “of course in an ideal world everyone would love their work. Many established creatives have had to pursue additional work, until they are at the level they dreamed of reaching, consisting of a viable full-time career doing work that they love. It is absolutely possible to make a career out of writing and photography for example, it just takes perseverance, determination and taking positive steps forward in pursuit of your goals.” Slatin has publicly discussed in prior interviews the fact that he picked up a camera at a very young age, and the fact that exploring was in his nature from the point of early childhood. A focus in Thomas Slatin’s photography work is urban exploration photography. This work is authentic to Slatin as, according to Slatin, he finds it interesting and often times inspiring. He carries this authenticity and love of his work forward, namely in terms of how he engages with his audience. “I also love photographing locomotives, and nature photography.” Continuing, “to be successful, one must always be genuine, and honest in their intentions and actions.”
Relating to Slatin’s photography work in the genre of urban exploration photography, Slatin discussed the importance of integrity in this work, including the importance of obtaining permission in advance to photograph various locations. “There are people who take enormous risks to venture onto abandoned properties to take photographs. Do not do that,” states Slatin. “I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking the permission of land owners and managers of properties FIRST while planning photography shoots.” I always do this and what occurs is that everyone is then accepting and welcoming of my presence, doing things as it should be.” Continuing, “this results in a high level of confidence and that shows in one’s work as a photographer, I have been told it is clearly demonstrated in mine,” Slatin concludes. Currently Thomas Slatin is in pre-production of a photography shoot that includes a cross country trip from the West Coast to his home state of New York. Paraphrasing Slatin, he plans to visit locations he has not seen before and of course, he will take interesting photographs as he explores the U.S. It took Slatin 20 years to work as a writer and photographer on a full-time basis. His encouragement to others also includes a recommendation to “pursue work that makes you happy. My father used to give me the advice to include “you should always be busy doing something where if you were not being paid, you would still be doing it, because it makes you happy.”
Thomas Slatin advises, “don’t wait to do what you love. If you love taking photographs, take photographs and if you love to write do so, with experience your talents grow and refine, especially when this is your passion and what you love to do.” He recommends to start a blog, start building an audience and engage with your audience. According to an industry peer, “opportunities truly have a way of presenting themselves when you pursue work you love with dedication and purpose.” Slatin points out that social media is a key factor in his success. He has amassed a large following and an engaged audience for his work, he attributes this to making “social media part of his work flow.” Continuing, “I use social media to engage, connect and inform my audience.” He also makes it a point, easily noticed by viewing his social media platforms, such as his Instagram @tomslatin, to return comments, and to answer questions and truly interact with his audience. “This is a key element of organic social media growth to develop interest and to engage an audience who can relate to one’s work as a photographer or writer.” Thomas Slatin sells his photographs through e-commerce solutions. His writing showcases his knowledge and expertise as a photographer, often featured on photography industry websites. His skills are showcased and this educates others who are in the earlier stages of their photography or writing career.
He encourages others who sell their photography online to “be sure to link your storefront, such as one’s profile on various platforms that provide licensing opportunities,” and to “link this directly from your blog or website if possible.” Concluding, “promotion need not be expensive. For many years I gave out free stickers with my logo and website, www.tomslatin.com which I purchased from a company called Sticker Guy (stickerguy.com). I gave stickers out to people who I would meet. This was very effective so that I could engage and interact with people about my work.” Slatin likens this “modern day” advice to advice he followed based off of a practice he read about relating to former United States President, Benjamin Franklin, regarding Benjamin Franklin’s promotion of his own work. Former President Benjamin Franklin, reportedly, was seen throughout his life pushing his written work product around in a literal cart, for all to see his good work and high level of productivity. “Social media and creating an extensive, engaged presence is much like this, of course, in the modern day world,” summarizes Slatin. “My online presence has enabled me to become a published writer and photographer and to do work I love on a full time basis, for this I am very thankful.” My best words of wisdom to all,” states Slatin, “do what you love, work hard, and do not give up, realize the importance of believing in yourself, and the importance of dedication and perseverance.” Concluding, “engage with other blogs and platforms as well, read the content, view the work and truly engage, comment! And when you comment add your website or blog url, so that your work can be seen and appreciated too.”