When I first started out, photography was purely a hobby. I never dreamed anyone would ever pay me to do it, much less that I would have anything in print or that anyone would trust me to capture their special memories. I still have that sense of self doubt that people will still think I am winging it. Photography, at every turbulent stage of the last few years has been the one constant thing and I have worked incredibly hard to forge a path forward. A lot of people never really saw the work I put in to transition from keen enthusiast to someone who calls this a profession but believe me, It was FULL ON. You never really stop learning, however and since then I have had work feature in prominent publications, worked with major high street brands, got to travel and meet some amazing people, produced a few really fun workshops and even appeared on TV to talk about my work. Not bad for someone who started out with a kit lens and no idea how to use editing software!
It is really tempting to feel that, if you are not moving forward in some way that you are failing and I read enough Photography blogs to know that I am not alone in this. I sometimes see people I consider my peers accepting amazing jobs and travelling to fantastic places and suddenly everything I have achieved seems like poop. I don’t think this is purely related to my career either, I see it all the time. And the crazy thing is it’s not like I don’t have any opportunities of my own! So why do we let other people diminish our achievements?
Sometimes, we need to look back to see how far we have come. I am so bad at this, I admit it. I am guilty of living in the present to the point where I take every minor setback so personally and sometimes allow them to affect me so acutely that it is as if the past has been erased entirely.
When I first started out, I used to say yes to every opportunity that would allow me to use a camera. I shot t shirts for a catalogue for God’s sake! Where is the creativity in that!!? I’ve learnt from that though- slowly my clients have begun to reflect my skillset. This coming year I want to push that further and have the confidence to only accept the work I truly want.
What? wait, accept SOME work? You mean, turn work down????
I do. I have come to realise that in order to maintain the trajectory you must say no sometimes. To build the body of work that truly reflects you you almost have to forget about the money and say “screw this, this is doing nothing for me creatively”. I feel that this will allow me to invest more creatively in my clients and ultimately do a better job all round.
I need to remember that standing still is nothing more than creating a great moment to look back on and really is all just a part of moving forward.