Finding Myself Again Through Photography

6462862247_3bb67a6423_b_by_innatelykait-d7btqdfI’m tired of recycling old photographs. I’m also tired of never having enough “me time” due to work, school, and family. This can only mean one thing: It’s time to pick up my camera again.

I really do miss it. Photography centered me. Through it I found patience and endurance. I could sit in the heat or the cold and be so focused on my craft that I was unaffected by my surroundings. I would wait for the sun to hit the water in just the right way or the wind to blow a petal into
the perfect position.

I felt no need to rush through and be done with it. I felt peaceful in a wayrainbow_over_colorado_springs_by_innatelykait-d7khsdw that I haven’t been able to recapture since I pack up my gear for the last time. Now it feels like my life is moving at 100mph and I can’t see the road anymore. I’m missing things because I’m always in a hurry.

I’m done with that. It’s time to enjoy the wind blowing in my face. It’s time to see the sunlight hit the lake. It’s time to pick up my camera and remember why I got into photography in the first place.

It’s time to find myself again.


That Scary Moment When…

The Road Less Traveled

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.  –Nathaniel Branden

I’m a pretty honest person when it comes to interactions with other people. When it comes to me, however, I’m a pro at lying. I will lie to myself about nearly everything.

One more cookie surely won’t make me feel sick.

I don’t have too many books. That’s not even possible

Of course I want to be a professor. Grad school will be great!


Eventually, I have to look myself in the mirror and say, “You’re wrong.”  This especially terrifying when carefully laid plans get destroyed.

Last night, I decided to put off graduate school. It’s been a long time coming but I was afraid to admit it to myself let alone others. I’ve come to realize I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was planning on attending grad school for every reason except the most important one: I want to do it.

The fact is, I don’t. At least not right now. The last two years have been a struggle of trying to churn out yet another research paper every 16 weeks. The thought of starting that process over for another three years is a miserable prospect. I’m burnt out. I’m done. And that’s a problem.

When everything finally tumbled out in a mess of tears and broken dreams I did feel better. The pressure that had been crushing me gone and I could breathe again. At the same time though I am absolutely scared shitless. I had plans. Regardless of whether they were what I really wanted or not they were there in front of me to guide the way. Now that map is gone and the road ahead is unclear.

I know where I want to go and it’s uncharted territory for me. I’ve been working in Religious Studies and through the department I’ve been involved with planning events, lectures, and conferences. I love it. More than that, I’m good at it. So, I will finish my BA in Art History next May and after that I plan to pursue just that: event planning, public relations, and community outreach. I still love art history so I do plan to target my passions by looking for museum or university positions.

Of course nobody ever really knows what the future holds. I am both thrilled and frightened when I look to what’s next. I don’t know what to expect but here’s to having the courage to try.

Photographic Memory

419463_3023884438639_405342396_nOnce upon a time I was a photographer.

I bought the fancy camera.  I had the lenses, the filters, the lighting.  I set up a professional studio.  I spent a fortune on editing software and printers.  Business cards were created, scraped, and recreated.  Tens of thousands of dollars spent to make a name for myself.

301000_2262599526992_1384118705_nAfter three failed portrait sessions I realized clients were too high maintenance for the little pay they would reluctantly offer.  It was no great loss my passion was nature anyway.

I had a photo picked up by CNN.  There were a few published in magazines, one in a book.  I won half a dozen awards or so.  My photos were starting to sell.215_1016401412818_2687_n

The more people who saw my photos, however, the more I started to hate them.  As I spent more time at art shows and in galleries with my work and the work of others I came to a haunting realization.  Any person with a digital camera could take a photo just like mine.

6092_1162238178646_8039652_nIt didn’t matter that I had spent years honing my craft.  It didn’t matter that I had spent countless hours in classes and in darkrooms to learn the technical aspect of photography.  It didn’t matter that I had spent a small fortune to reach my goals.  It mattered least that I could consistently produce good work.

I learned quickly the true meaning of the proverb that claims even a blind pig kicks an apple once in a while.  No one wants to spend $150 on professional work when they can reproduce the work on their own time.  Suddenly, everybody and their brother was a fauxtographer.  Suddenly, I couldn’t bear to pick up my camera.376289_2430607327082_373775149_n

Perhaps I am jealous.  Maybe I am bitter.  I am, without a doubt, pissed off.

I trained myself as a photographer.  I taught myself how to consistently produce quality work.  A fauxtographer picks up a camera and might snap a “quality” shot every 100 images or so.  Yet, they can turn around and sell that one photo for the same price as my well thought out one.

394967_2578457463243_1795760573_nI can pick up my camera no longer.  It sits discarded in a corner of my office.  Occasionally I will come across it and I look at it in disgust before pushing it aside once more.  Sometimes I think I should sell it.  Other times I want to slam it into the concrete and watch it explode into the broken shards of a million dreams.

More often than not, though, I just try to forget.

Happy “Hallmark Wants Your Money” Day

Valentine’s Day is a weird holiday.  It’s entirely made up to get you to buy chocolate and flowers and Hallmark cards for your loved one.  Conversely, it is also made up to make those single people out there feel inadequate.


You could celebrate the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre.  I guess you could celebrate Saint Valentine himself.  They both involve killing and unhappiness.  Let’s have a hallmark card for those…because that’s what the day is named after.

Maybe if we were all a little nicer to each other everyday, we would all have more to smile about.

Instead of celebrating our love only one day each year (a day originally dedicated to death and killing), maybe everyone could make a conscious effort to be nicer, more caring, and loving ALL 365 days of the year instead.

We don't need just one day to show our love...there are 364 more days in the year...365 if it's leap year!

But, because it is Valentine’s Day, and some people might not have seen it before, I’m still totally in love with this guy…even years after living together.  He still turns my world upside down and gives me butterflies.

And no...he did not get a card for Hallmark Greed Day. He got the same thing he gets everyday: my love, respect, and admiration.


2011: A Weird Year In Review

InnatelyKait Photography on Flickr

“The Long Road Home”

InnatelyKait Photography
Copyright, 2011

Another meaningful photo at this time in my life.  It has been a long  road to get where I am today.  This post is a reflection on one year of that journey, 2011.

Despite living on my own for almost three years now and being alive for a total of twenty-four years, I feel like I’ve grown and learned more about myself in 2011 than I have ever before.  Some of the changes I blogged about, others I did not.  At the time, many of the changes felt weird and out-of-place, I have since realized they are only milestones in my life that are leading me down the road to becoming my own person.

I remembered life is fragile:  I was floored when I learned that my Uncle Bobby had died.  I was angry at myself for not spending more time with him, angry at him for dying, and angry at life for this cruel twist of fate.  I knew that he was sick, he was on both the lung and liver transplant list, but for some reason I expected to have more time with him.  It was difficult for me to realize that he was in pain and couldn’t do the things he loved anymore.  It took me a long time to realize that it was selfish of me to want him to continue going through that for my benefit.

I remembered that it is okay to ask for help:  I was depressed after Bobby died.  I was angry for months and would cry every time something reminded me of Bobby.  I was having a really difficult time working through Bobby’s death on my own.  My college offers free counseling service to students and I realized I needed to ask for help.  After talking to a counselor for a couple of months, I had worked through my depression and even some other issues I was having with other things.

I learned I am stronger than I thought:  I had been sick for the past three years (thanks to a gluten intolerance).  2011 presented me with challenges that I had to face despite being sick.  There was no curling up in bed for days on end while I let the illness take its course.  I had to be proactive about my health and my life.  Sometimes this meant that I had to say no to things that I wanted to do but couldn’t.  Sometimes I had to apologize to people when I took on more than I could handle.  I had to learn that sometimes I have to put me first even if it’s difficult.

I learned how to be happy:  Being sick really changed the way I thought about the world.  I went from being a totally pessimistic person to seeing the bright side of life, almost over night.  I discovered that life really is better when I’m happier and it really doesn’t take all that much to think happy thoughts.

I learned that the world will go on without traditions:  We didn’t decorate for Halloween this year.  We didn’t go to all of our favorite holiday haunts over Christmas.  We didn’t spend the entire day with my family on Christmas morning.  We didn’t go to any New Year’s Eve parties.  Guess what?  The holidays still came and went.  The world didn’t end.  It felt really strange for me to leave some of those traditions behind.  I went through a little depression as I felt like I was losing some distant part of me.  It wasn’t until later that I realized I wasn’t losing any parts of my past but gaining new traditions with Jon for the future.

I learned that I can accomplish my dreams:  This year I will be embarking on a new journey.  In May I will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology and an Associate of Arts in Transfer Studies.  In June, Jon and I will be moving to Minnesota so that I can attend the University of  Minnesota.  I have applied to the Pre-Vet program in hopes of attending their Veterinary School in a couple of years.  It has been a difficult road in finding my passion and purpose.  Here I am though, incredibly happy, fulfilled, and ready for the next phase of my journey.

As I said, 2011 was a big year.  I can only hope that 2012 will bring even more exciting changes and life lessons for me.