Dream Big: Nightmare or Dream job? 

 February 10, 2014

By  Pascal Depuhl

Does this sound like a nightmare or your dream job:

Picture this – You’re over 8,000 miles from home and not one person around you speaks your language. Although you normally live at sea level, today you find yourself working at an elevation of over 9,000 feet in 25 below zero  temperatures.

You’re over 18 hours by car, from where you are going to sleep tonight – that’s if the mountain pass were open. However that pass will remain snowed in and impassible for at least another 3 months. Even if it where open, the road itself is to dangerous for you to travel on anyway. 

My dream became reality here in Lal.
Lal, Afghanistan

Your equipment manufacturers have told you that you are well outside of their operational cameras;

Your insurance company has told you that they won’t cover your gear, because you’re in a country that the US is at war with;

And most of your friends have told you that you’re out of your mind for even trying to pull off such a project. And if that’s not enough you’re kneeling on a snow covered air strip with a camera on your shoulder, while a single engine airplane is screaming towards you, flying so low, that you’d be able to touch it’s tires, if you’d just raise your hand …

Wake up in a cold sweat? Or do you live for this stuff!

I am a still photographer. Have been for 20 years. I have no formal photography training, but I cut my teeth assisting with top fashion photographers like Richard Avedon, Arthur Elgorth.

and Bruce Weber in New York, Chicago and Miami. Today, I shoot commercial work. I create photographs and films for companies to publish in their catalogs and stores and on their websites. If you would have told me 2 years ago, that I was going to film an award wining short documentary half way around the world, I would have told you:

“You’re wrong!”

You know why? Cause I had just started offering video production to my clients in the summer of 2011. Again, I have no formal training in film making either – actually I had hit the record button on my Canon 5D MkII for the very first time on New Years Eve 2010.

For me to be kneeling in the snow, in the mountains of Afghanistan, capturing footage for a movie telling the story of a humanitarian organization, would be just as likely, as for me to become the first man to step onto Mars.

Me making a documentary film? Nope. Not gonna happen.

But it did it happen. How did I get to live out this impossible dream?

Over the next few weeks, I want to share 5 steps YOU can take, to turn your big dream into your reality.

This post kicks of a series of blog post that came out of a talk I gave titled “You’re wrong!” at the “Dream Bigger Conference” in February of 2014.

  • Bogdan, true – most people thought I was out of my mind for even trying – of course now they are the same people that think this project is the best thing since sliced bread. Stay tuned – this post is the introduction to a series – the next one comes out on Monday!

  • Really nice post! The real challenge isn’t overcoming the challenge itself, but rather overcoming all the naysayers who want to discourage you. In my experience people are very eager to tell you you can’t do something, but it’s always worthwhile to try it out for yourself. Whether you win or fail, you’ll always come out on top with new confidence and new skills. I’m glad to see someone talking about the challenges from a more human perspective rather than a technical one. Great job! :)

  • Pascal, your post illustrates that there in dreams there is opportunity. The possibility needs to add a character with courage to face the unknown and a willingness to act; that is what where the dreamer and the achiever part paths. As so well penned by Robert Frost the road less traveled makes all the difference. Congrats on this dream; I’m looking forward to hearing of the next horizon.

  • Nice read Pascal … after seeing how you pulled off that job, it’ll help me with renewed confidence to tackle my next shoot in the wilds of corporate America. Without the snow and cold! Tom

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    Pascal Depuhl

    Miami product photographer, video producer, cinematographer and chief mindchanger at Photography by Depuhl I love to share the knowledge I've gained over the past two decades. Catching light in motion.