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Famous Photographers Reveal the Surprising Careers They Almost Had

by Topher Kelly
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Clockwise from top left: Jared Polin, Sue Bryce, Peter Hurley, and Bambi Cantrell.

Clockwise from top left: Jared Polin, Sue Bryce, Peter Hurley, and Bambi Cantrell.

This week is all about committing to our New Year’s resolutions — committing to improving ourselves and getting the most out of life. Yet, it’s also the time of year for reflecting on the choices and events that shaped the life you have now, and wondering about the other lives you could have led. What if you had studied mathematics in college instead of art history? What if you decided against starting your own company? What would you be doing now if you hadn’t married when you did?

These thoughts can hold us back, trapping us in an idle world of hypothetical, long-gone scenarios. However, they can also help show us how lucky we are now and how far we have come. More often than not, charting our history of ‘almosts’ uncovers lifelong drives and interests.


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In the spirit of the new year, we reached out to some of the industry’s best photographers to learn what they would have been if they hadn’t stepped behind the lens. Sure enough, their answers proved that it’s just the name of our careers that change — but our eyes and hearts remain fixed on the same subject. The girl who wanted to be a fashion designer became an internationally-renowned glamour photographer. The former actor went on to become the photographer who taught the world how to squinch. Here’s the full list:

Sue Bryce: “A fashion designer or a shoe designer.”

Jared Polin: “I would have ended up in some kind of sales and marketing job. I love ideas and problem solving, it is fun for my brain.”

Peter Hurley: “I trained for 2 Olympic Games in Sailing, so most likely a professional sailor. I did try my hand at acting as well, but the camera sidetracked me.”

Bambi Cantrell: “Easy question. A fashion designer. I love fashion, cloths, and the theatrics of it.”

Mike Corrado: “I would probably like to be a firefighter or drummer.”

What would you be if you didn’t have the job you do right now?

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Topher Kelly

Topher Kelly is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and editor at CreativeLive. Follow Topher on Twitter@Topher_LIVE.