Leading Indicator of Better Times

Before 2008 when the stock and housing markets crashed, there were indicators of the choppy seas ahead. My wife and I were involved in three businesses, unfortunately all non-essential to daily life. She had two businesses, mobile disc jockeying in the wedding industry and the online and physical sales of collectibles at a store we rented. I of course was a contributor in the stock photo industry in addition to employment as a software engineer at a major defense contractor. At least as far back as 2006 these once thriving endeavors began to falter… Now, ten long miserable years later, two of those businesses and my wife are  gone. She of course lost her battle to cancer and I was forced to liquidate her two businesses, which by that time were completely worthless and a storage expense liability only. And right when I needed it the most, the demand for photography was near zero.

large-line-item-1384383.jpgThe much touted economic recovery, mostly in minimum or near minimum wage jobs during the last decade has not resulted in an improvement in the business climate. In fact, looking at my print sales, it has been over a year since I made a real actual print sale, other than my mom buying gift cards from me of course 🙂

However, times may again be “a changin‘”, this time for the better.  The new year has seen a definite uptick in photo sales. I have always heard the stock photo business is a “leading indicator” of the economy. In other words, sales show the direction of business. When there is optimism and opportunity, businesses advertise. When they advertise they buy pictures for those advertisements. Another indicator of better times is a recent uptick in print sales. Like this one of the now defunct Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival, a longstanding Denver event which also did not survive the lost decade. When people are feeling confident about their position in life they spend money on non-essential things, items purchased mainly for enjoyment.

It is just a glimmer of hope at the moment that could easily be snuffed out by any number of natural and man made disasters but it is a glimmer of hope, something I have not  experienced in a long time. Maybe the good times are not “Gone for Good“, to which today I offer a toast to a promising future: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items

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The Lonliest Job

We have been on many an adventure over the last 25 years together. Sometimes we won and sometimes we lost. I can remember several times in the last few years when our business wasn’t working out in the location that we found ourselves in and we had to scramble to get out. It isn’t easy to move an entire antiques store with all it’s inventory and usually we were up until two or four o’clock cleaning and carrying out the last few items in order to meet the deadline for getting our deposit back. Three times I remember toiling for 24 straight hours. She was an expert packer and I just carried boxes… as fast I I could carry them and load them in the truck she could pack them. It was hard work but it didn’t matter, we still had each other, we still had our strength and we still had the will to go on. Often we were already planning our next big shot and we whiled away the hours discussing our plans as we cleaned up the current big attempt at success.

This time is different. The work cleaning up is just as hard, harder since I don’t have my steadfast optimistic partner. This time there is no one to talk to, no plans for the future to discuss, no big shot to look forward to. We were so excited to get this cabin in the mountains, now every sound echos through the hollow rooms as a reminder to the gigantic empty hole in my soul left there by her loss. I am so tired and I don’t want to be doing this. Without her at my side and without plans for the future there seems to be no point.

There is one verse in the bible, a vague hope that I can cling to from the book of Ezekiel, “I will settle up your estates and do better for you than I did at your beginnings.”. As I watch 25 years of my life go down the drain it is hard to believe that, but with God all things are possible.