2015 has been a difficult year for me so far.
I am not saying that to garner sympathy or ask for any kind of help, it's just an honest admission.
I have felt discouraged on more than one occasion, deeply lonely much of the time, and have considered putting photography on hold for a "more lucrative profession" more times than I care to admit. Of course I have had adventures and made new friends in the past few months, but much of this year has been spent poring over my computer, focusing on getting more clients, collaborating with more companies, and trying to make plans that have too often fallen through. I have compared myself to other artists constantly--pitting my work and my travels against theirs and feeling like I'm not as good or as beautiful or as adventurous as them.
Often in these moments, I ask myself why I am even doing this. Why have I given up a stable job, health benefits, and a steady stream of income, to instead run around taking pictures for a living? Why do I spend so much of my time straining my eyes over a bright screen, writing to companies that I might never hear back from? Why do I pour so much energy into retouching my photos to perfection, beating myself up for forgetting to take that one picture, or writing up contracts over and over again? It sounds crazy to most people, and even to myself sometimes.
But, the question always comes back to, is it worth it? Even on the gut-wrenchingly hard days, when the phone doesn't ring, my inbox lies empty, and I only have fifty likes on my photo?
Yes, it is worth it. It is so worth it.
Because this is what I chose to do--this is what my heart beats for. I live for the squeals that echo from my mouth when I take a photo I love, or when I see a beautiful sunset and rush to grab my camera, or when I see something special in a client's eyes. I love the conversations about art and life that I have with fellow creatives, and I love the opportunities I have to travel to beautiful places, and often get paid to do it. I love creating a photograph that resounds not only with me, but with the audience who sees it. I love thinking and dreaming about all of the opportunities that still lie ahead of me, just beyond the horizon.
It is a beautiful life. Photography has brought some of the best people I have ever met into my life. It has taken me to places I could only dream of seeing. It has helped me to see the beauty in human interaction, in a small gesture or an offhand expression. It has also given me a way to look squarely at the heartbreaking emotions I often experience, and turn them into something powerful. It has helped me to find beauty in myself, and given me the confidence to keep creating. It has given me purpose, and direction, and appreciation for life like nothing else.
It isn't always easy--in fact, most of the time, it isn't. But I keep pressing on and I keep creating because this is my life. Photography is a part of me, and it always will be. It is a journey that has no end; it is often rocky and sometimes the sun burns my skin, but oh the sights I have seen along the way.
Thank you for following along with me on this journey. I will be forever grateful for your company.