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The Road Less Traveled

The Blog

The Road Less Traveled

Chris Nachtwey

So a crazy thing happened two Wednesday's ago, I turned in my two weeks notice at my full-time job. Yesterday was my last day and as I drove away I officially left the comfort of a steady paycheck for the uncharted path of self-employment.

As many of you know, I was at ESPN for just shy of six years. My time at ESPN was marked by up’s and down’s, but overall it was a good job and was one of my two dream jobs. Having the opportunity to work at the highest level in television right out college was a privilege. As I said, ESPN was one of my two dream jobs; you can probably guess my other dream job, owning my own creative business.

How I got to this point

 Long before I set foot on the campus of Lyndon State College I always knew I wanted to run my own business. I originally thought I wanted to own a video production house, but as the years at college flew by I found myself drawn to still photography. I can vividly remember my first time in a darkroom, and the sheer enjoyment I got out of enlarging my own negatives and developing an 8x10 print on my own. If you have never set foot in a darkroom, watching one of your images come to life in front of your eyes is enchanting. From that moment on I knew photography was something special and dived head first into it.

A trip to Australia and New Zealand my junior year brought me into the digital age. I saved all the money I could from my part-time job at the college theater to buy a Nikon D40 kit. It was halfway around the world with my little entry level Nikon D40 and a cheap kit lens that I knew I had found my passion.

As college came to an end, I was offered a full-time job at ESPN before I graduated. I instantly accepted the job and started less then a month after graduation. It was during my first two years at ESPN that my little Nikon D40 sat on a shelf collecting dust. It was not until my girlfriend (April) gave me a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens for Christmas did I throw myself back into photography.  

A little over two years ago in the spring of 2012 I saved up enough money to buy better gear and filed all the legal documents for a LLC in Connecticut. From that point on I made it my mission to become a full-time photographer. It took me two years of hard work, late nights, and lots of fighting with myself to muster up enough courage to walk away from ESPN to take the road less traveled.

Where I’m going

I’m happy to say that when I was driving away from work yesterday, I knew I was making the right decision for me. I felt free, for the first time in six years I felt like myself again.

Moving forward I will be working with wedding and portrait clients for my main business Chris Nachtwey Photography LLC. I will continue to build up, a blog dedicated to showcasing the best film photography in the world and managing my team of six writers. I also have the pleasure of writing full-time for, one of the largest photography websites in the world dedicated to photography news, education and inspiration.

I have to thank my parents and April (my girlfriend of almost seven years) for all the love and support in my decision to go full-time. Without their help and support I might have never made this decision. Thank you guys!!!

I will end this post with a quote my Dad sent me last week.

"There is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures."

From: William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar