From my family to yours,
A very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!
I’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 way 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.
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.
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.
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.
It 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.
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.