For most people, getting fired from a job is a terrible life experience. But for Steve Sweatpants, it was a godsend. That may sound strange, but as Steve tells it, getting canned from his nine-to-five gig was what finally made him fully commit to his true love: photography.

His journey behind the lens was anything but traditional. He never went to art school and didn’t so much as touch a camera in high school. Steve’s big “aha” moment came when he learned to shut out the naysayers who kept telling him what he shouldn’t or couldn’t do. “I really tried to zone out all that stuff and focus on what I truly love,” he says. “And I found that I really love photography.”

Not long after, Steve and a few friends launched the photography-centric Street Dreams Magazine, of which he is now editor-at-large. Although the concept and content of the mag are inspired by his hometown, Steve says you don’t have to be from New York—or even a city at all—to enjoy the publication. “Street Dreams is just a state of mind,” he says. “It’s about the essence of doing things you’re passionate about, and that’s everything we want to represent.” 

And represent it he does. If there’s one thing that’s clear to Steve, it’s his passion—and wanting to share it with others. He says he feels compelled to offer positive reinforcement, as so many people did for him. Ultimately, his mantra is quite simple: “Wake up and do what you love.”

For more about Steve Sweatpants, be sure to watch the new installment of “Then/Now” above, brought to you by Honda.