Friday, April 9, 2010

Thank you for reminding me.

In light of all that is going on in our crazy lives, it makes sense that something had to be put on the back burner. It couldn't be Anslie. Of all things, she is the most important. It couldn't be Kevin. He is what makes our world go round. It couldn't be the baby that is growing inside of me. He is coming in 8 weeks whether I like it or not. It couldn't be cleaning, cooking, communicating with family, purchasing our home, moving in, unpacking, or church, either. All of those thing HAVE to be done. So what could I give up to lighten my burden? The only answer was photography.

Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about photography. A friend of mine called me a photography nerd the other day and you know what, he is completely right! If wearing thick-rimmed glasses with tape around the bridge of the nose, a pocket protector, and high-waters pants would translate efficiently how serious I am about photography, my wardrobe would be changed forever! Understanding that, you must then realize how hard it has been for me not to shoot.

I still take pictures, of course, to document our family life. But it's just not the same as working with a client in the unique situation that provides, creating art, making memories, and most of all, learning from each and every shoot and becoming better at what I do.

At first I was itchy. Itchy, irritable, and aggravated that I didn't have constant stimulation from my work. I didn't have any work at all! And then I got sad and angry. It hurt to be separated from something I hold so dear to my heart. (I know this sounds ridiculous, but if you have a passion, you know what I mean). I was envious of the other photographers I know and follow because they got to do what I so desperately wanted to. I felt like I was being left behind...they were working and progressing and I simply was not. And then I became apathetic. It was easier to give up than to care anymore. I stopped reading photography blogs and articles on the internet, something I spent about an hour every day on. I stopped creating projects for myself. I stopped researching equipment. I just stopped. Everything.

So, yes, it has been by choice that I have not actively pursued clients and built my business. Was that choice an easy one? Yes and no. Yes because my family will always come first. No because being a photographer is part of who I am.

Things have been put on hold with our family life for the time being with Kevin getting sent to Arizona for work for a few weeks and Anslie and I tagging along with him. It has been both a curse and a blessing. Life is hard to manage from afar! But I was given a gift:

While life at home in California demands that I sacrifice what feels like an appendage, life in Arizona has given me the opportunity to narrow my focus and not spread myself so thin. And what that has left me with is some time to pick up my camera again and create.

I have to admit that when my friend Hilary and I discussed shooting a session for her and her husband, Jeff, I was a little....unenthusiastic. I knew in my heart that I had been craving photography. But my head was telling me,"Shillawna, what's the point? You're rusty. You don't have a vision. You're not on fire anymore. You are stuck and anything you do at this point just simply won't be good enough. Why try? If you were meant to be a photographer, then you would be able to push through all that is happening in your personal life and STILL have time for this. Just. Give. Up." But I feigned enthusiasm for the sake of Hilary and my heart and our session was scheduled for yesterday evening.

I have not had the chance to go through Jeff's and Hilary's session with a fine-toothed comb like I normally would before posting my favorites online. I don't have my computer or my software available - just Kevin's PC laptop (which is NOTHING like a Mac desktop) and Picasa instead of Adobe Photoshop to view and edit my photos (which feels like working with archaic tools). But what I have been able to gleam from these photos, as I am able to view them right now, is that I've got IT. I have something. I have not picked up a camera to do a serious photo shoot in quite some time, and yet what I was able to capture moved me.

That flame was re-ignited. That driving force is back. My passion for photography has been restored, and yet, I feel a quiet confidence that all that I want to do doesn't have to happen now. My life is still going on. The demands it is placing on me have not gone away. Photography will have to wait for a little longer to be an integral part of my existence. And that fact has become okay with me.

I am now hearing from my brain,"Not right this second. Just be patient a little longer. Take care of yourself and your family and your passionate companion will be there for you when you are ready once again."

I haven't lost anything by putting photography on the back burner. All that I have worked for is mine to keep. I am glad that I realized that. It's something my friends and family have been trying to tell me but I have not been able to hear. I am so grateful to Jeff and Hilary for the opportunity they gave me to become resolved. And to realize that I am a damn good photographer-something else I have struggled with.

I know that I still have a long way to go...it can be discouraging at times. Am I where I want to be yet? Absolutely not. Have I come a long way? Yes. Am I worth what I ask for in return? There is no doubt in my mind. Do I have IT? Yes, I do. If I take a break from photography to take care of my family and grow a baby, am I ruining my career? I can finally give a resounding NO as my answer. I am a lucky woman to have finally realized that I can have it all...it just might take me a little while to get it. But my life will be richer and I will be a better person for harvesting patience and endurance to acheive all that I want for mine and my family's lives.
And here is the product of my epiphane; Eleven of my favorite images from Jeff's and Hilary's shoot. Very minimal edits have been made to these images due to the fact that my equipment is over 400 miles away (slight color correction and exposure correction). And I can finally say, whether you feel the same way or not, that I LOVE these pictures. I think they are Beautiful. And I am PROUD of them. Thank you for reminding me of who I am, even if I can't be that person right now.
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I must give credit where credit is due: Jeff and Hilary - you were incredible to shoot! I have never met another couple who has been so natural and beautiful in front of my camera. I am so thrilled to have been able to capture these moments for you, but it is not without your patience, cooperation, and good looks that they are successful. You guys rock!

6 comments:

Jessica said...

Your pictures are amazing! It's true you've definitely got IT girl!

The Van Boerum Family said...

those are cute pics Shillawna, great job! BTW I love that girl's hair, wish I could pull off that look! Miss you guys!

Diane Rane Jones said...

They look beautiful!

Oliver said...

Simply beautiful work and words. Thanks for sharing. We all go through things like in life. I'm happy to see that the fire is burning brighter in you. Best wishes to you and your family.

Tera said...

You do have "it". I've never doubted it. And the challenge in live is realizing you CAN have it all, you just can't have it all at the same time.

moliver said...

You are an amazing photographer and you can NEVER stop doing what you love. You have a true talent! Keep up the good work.