"I often wonder how a professional manages to split the thought process, apart from the money thing, and take photos for pleasure? If you have been into photography for a long time, or any other pursuit, then there comes a time when you think that you have done it all and it is time to move on to other things."
Ah, stamper, you have touched on a sticky one! I would say that for the pros that I have a personal regard for, the two, business and pleasure, are one and the same. What they do for business is what drew them into the thing in the first instance.
As for having done it all and moving on to fresh pastures, I don't know - I never reached the point of saturation. In my case, what happened was that the market vanished and there was nowhere left to go that I wanted to go. I am currently in a state of limbo - rough love notwithstanding - where I am burned up with mental images of shots I want to make but lack the opportunity, now, to do. The ability to transfer my allegiance from girls to bricks and glass is not happening, and trees and rocks have as little success in weaning me away from the main deal. So, it isn't a matter of boredom as much as a matter of opportunity. And sadly, a great motivator in all of it was the assignment-as-challenge-to-shine. Especially over the local competition.
Of course, independent wealth might have alleviated some of the angst, made some more photography possible, but that still leaves out the big buzz of being chosen
to do something for the money.
"In the ten years of shooting with thousands of journeys made I have only once went out along with another photographer. Sad? I think it is the best way to get what you want and how you want it. Moral of the story keep shooting and don't over analyse why."
Again, I think you are absolutely right. I can't for the life of me imagine the point of a group shoot - and that has to cover so-called workshops. Can you imagine the atmosphere of six or seven photographers pointing their cameras at the same poor girl? At the same little tree or saguaro, horse or goat? It's the equivalent of a bunch of student sitting the same exam, but working together to submit a single paper. Who the hell is the author? Of course, there are those seeking social intercourse, and that's fine too, no worse than spending hours here, but what has it to do with the development of one's own photographic vision or ability? I am willing to admit it might help ability, but hardly personal vision, which is a fruit best tended through one's own efforts. In the same category I would put clients who want to be on the shoot - just enjoy the holiday and let the actors do the acting; have that second lunch or G&T and let the people you pay do the work without you sitting on their shoulders like a friggin' parrot!
Regarding analysis - well, I think it makes for interesting reading, as I find this thread to be, but as you point out it has a danger built in if you apply it too personally. (feppe's rule of thirds!) But of course, that doesn't mean one shouldn't think about the whats and whys of one's actions. Perhaps the danger is magnified for a person without
a huge conviction: in that case, the motivation might really seem disproportionate to the expenditure of time, money and energy that's going into it all. In which case, why not just walk away?