During the pandemic, photographer Chip Litherland was forced to reinvent himself so we went from taking pictures professionally to being a professional picker. And while scavenging old storage lockers for things to sell online might seem a strange new direction for a professional photographer, it suits Litherland just fine for now.
Most importantly, buying and selling the contents of abandoned storage units is a way for him to make ends meet since most of his professional photography work has dried up during the pandemic.
“Everything from weddings just went away. People had to reschedule because they couldn’t have their weddings anymore, so that means they don’t need photography. Same thing with my commercial work,” Litherland tells Denver, Colorado’s 9News in the below television segment. “[Now] I buy storage units at auction; I dig through estate sales; and I rummage around in junk trying to make photos and find cool things to sell online.”
A professional commercial photographer for the past 20 years, Litherland didn’t expect his life to become like a year-long episode of the reality series Storage Wars, but it’s the new reality for him. And as the 9News segment below describes it, “while he enjoys the collectibles, he relishes the hunt, and he does need the income.”
“This side venture is definitely reinventing myself and causing me to rethink A, how I make money but 2, what makes me happy and what I’m really excited about going after,” Litherland explains.
It’s an intriguing story and definitely worth a watch if you’ve ever thought about turning one of your photography “side hustles” during the pandemic into something more significant. And while it doesn’t seem like Litherland is giving up on photography – one of the keys to his success in selling collectibles online is the professional-quality photos he takes of them – he’s clearly exploring his options.
“I had a lot of stress when all this hit,” Litherland notes. “Money was going out the window and this has been fantastic.”