January has flown by, I literally cannot believe it’s February today. January has been a very reflective month for me. I’ve realized my blog writing is terrible(I’m sorry you’ve all suffered through my two sentence wonders) and the only way to fix that is to get writing. So here are some thoughts from the heart on my 365 Project and some of my struggles that led to the failure of my first 365 Project.
For those of you that have been following me for awhile, you would know I started a 365 project a couple years ago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to complete it(fail:( ), I had so much mommy guilt it wasn’t even funny. I was working downtown(45-hour commute each way) being the best mom/wife/sister/daughter/friend I could be and trying to build my portfolio and my craft. When it happened. I cracked; I couldn’t keep up with anything. My house was ALWAYS a disaster(I’m not talking typical “you’ve got children” disaster, I’m talking horrified if someone pops by, pray you can block the door enough they can’t see in disaster) I had no time for hobbies and I was literally frantically editing ALL the time. On my lunch break, when I got home every night, staying up until 2am getting up at 6am for work and starting it all over again. Something had to give, and at the time the only option was to drop my personal project. I felt more relief than heartbreak having to give it up. All the pressure from life had caught up with me, I actually was starting to dread using my camera, because it would add to that horrible guilt load. My spark, my passion, my inspiration had dried up. Even on family vacation I was so concerned about the expectations I’d put on myself, that instead of being present and just snapping moments, I was trying to create these master pieces. My technical skills were still at a level that sometimes achieving what was in my mind wasn’t possible, which also added to my frustration. What in my mind was a master piece I couldn’t translate through my camera. I hadn’t yet realized that once you start nailing the technical the rest will fall into place.
As time flew by(as it always seems to) I realized I was missing that part of my life. I was capturing moments for others and still finding joy in that job. But if you flipped through my personal images there would be months where I didn’t even snap a picture on my real camera(iphone was getting some use). Even with our son being born, I was barely taking my camera out. It was as if I forgot how easy it is to just pull it out even for a second to snap a picture. I had let myself unravel to the point where I almost resented what once was my passion and creative outlet. I had lost myself.
I come from a long line of strong, hard working, determined individuals. I had been raised to believe if you work hard enough you will succeed. I didn’t want to be average, I refuse to be average. I want to create work that can adorn my walls and my clients walls as art. Pictures that evoke emotion, tell stories and speak to your heart. Images that I will cherish and my clients will cherish forever. So instead of giving up, I decided I needed to put my head down. I needed to look within, and find the spark again. I immersed myself in my work. I poured over past work and found all the things that bothered me about it. Things I needed and wanted to learn and master. Things I had known, but hadn’t addressed or spent the countless hours working on. I bit the bullet and got the gear I’d always wanted and learned to use it with my eyes closed. I joined forums, I took courses by other photographers I looked up to, respected and adored. I am still taking courses by amazingly talented photographers. This is a craft I truly feel you can never stop learning, and there is always another boundary to push creatively.
And then it happened. I didn’t just find my spark. I found my fire. Which is still burning strong everyday, with every tiny moment I am lucky enough to capture.
So to anyone out there feeling down or discouraged in whatever their field might be, it is in you. You can succeed. Sometimes the biggest favour you can do for yourself, is to let go of past failures, stop questioning yourself and go for it!
I hope you enjoy January’s Our Life, Our Love | 365 Project images, I even added some never before seen, that were left on the cutting room floor through out the month. Want to see more? Here’s December’s images.