Serenity Wow what a week it has been!
This has been a week of self discovery, hard lessons and new found determination ... I have been jokingly telling people that I must be a real artist now since I had found myself at my very 1st official "Artist's Meltdown" and felt like as a badge of honor maybe I was required to remove an ear or rock in a corner for a week or two scratching words into the wall. Neither sounded appealing so instead I turned to those around me ... my friends, my supporters & my fellow photographers - I am so very glad that I did.
You see I have recently found myself at somewhat of a cross road in my work struggling between the work I should do to pay the bills and contribute to our household (as any of us need to) and the work that I genuinely want to do - the work that feeds my soul and makes me excited to be in this industry.
I found myself agreeing to shoot anything and anyone in any style they wanted as well ... money is money right? it pays the bills and if I can do it who am I to say no. But it left me feeling empty and craving the Art work I love creating, planning and tentatively editing until it is just perfect.
I felt like the only answer was to A) keep going as is on my little hamster wheel, feeling like a sell out (so to speak) and fitting my art in when and if I could find the time or B) Change .....
The trouble was I didn't know what "Change" would look like exactly, what I wanted, what that would mean, how I would achieve it and if I could still find a way to make any money being the real me and doing the work that I feel I need to do.
After a good few days of going round and round in circles, making a decision then changing my mind, making a decision then getting scared and running back to what was comfortable I dared to reach out to a few people I really look up to in this industry, people who are already doing what I want to be doing - they are doing the work they want to do and clients come to them for THEIR style and come to them for what THEY have to offer.
On a side note (I do this a lot as i think of things so bare with me) I think a turning point for me that started this burning feeling of needed change was when a potential client contacted me to discuss a family shoot ... they were deciding whether to go to JC Penny for their photos (Where they had already booked) or come to me. They were looking through what I had to offer in my portfolio of children's shoots etc and kept comparing back to JC Penny styled set ups. Now don't get me wrong I have nothing against those who choose to use JC Penny or JC Penny themselves at all it's just that ... well ... I'm not them. I am me and I want people to come to me for me and MY style.
Now to tie back into what I was just saying ... I see others who have people coming to them not telling them they want a set up like JC Penny or this place or that place, they come to them as they have a fluid style that is obvious in their images, they are confident in the work they like to produce and that's what they sell not their time, not a photography package, they sell their personal style and technique. People come to them not because they are the cheapest or the get the most digital files, the most prints or JUST because their friends used them - they come to them because they love the work they do.
I have heard again and again that what you show is what you attract as a client which makes so much sense! If people see work I just produce and post because I think its what people want to see or because its what that 1 client wanted so everyone must prefer that over my own style then ... That is all people will think I do and therefore I will only attract more of those people who like that style of work and my never ending cycle of discontent continues. - Oh goodness it all sounds very dramatic doesn't it ha ha I told you its been a rough week.
It wasn't until I sat and spoke to these amazing people I admire and truly listened to what they had to say, hear them look at the work I'm truly proud of and tell me that it is amazing, that I am capable, that what I have to offer is beautiful ... It is amazing how such small words can move mountains in someone; how they can stir up so much passion and motivation, self confidence they forgot they had buried under all the self doubt.
With this newly found confidence and passion I have now plotted a new course ... a course where I will be true to myself, my work and my passion. As I get used to this new attitude my work will be evolving to show more of what I want to be known for, the style I want people to come to me specifically for.
I want to create images that people are proud to hang on their walls and treasure not just to post on their social media sites, get a few cutesy comments and likes and forget about them. I know I am capable of it I see it in the work I already do ... the work I do for myself in my Art pieces, the work that the models love to have from me and the work my clients say "wow" to.
So why cant I bring that Art feel into my everyday work? What is stopping me?
Self doubt? Am I good enough? Will they come? Even if I will have to charge more? Will they think I'm worth it?
Well after this last week I have come to the conclusion that I KNOW I'm worth it and I am excited to be able to take this step forward and finally merge my style and passion into all that I offer and not sell out simply because I feel I should.
I hope that doesn't sound too cocky I just now see that I have something to offer in what I do and I can infuse my passion for Conceptual Fine Art into my portraiture for everyone ... children, babies, weddings, couples ... everyone :)
So here I am standing at the cross road knowing now the road I want to take and excited to see who I meet along the way. Thank you to all those supportive souls who have made me hear what I needed to hear and guided me in the direction I needed to go.
So ... after all that babbling and nonsense which may mean nothing to anyone other than me ... my message to you is this: No matter what you do in your life, no matter your job, your location, no matter your income or situation ... don't lose who you are, don't be afraid to be you. You may not please everyone but you will find people who truly find joy in who you are and what you have to offer - and those are the ones that count.
I hope you stay with me through this journey and allow me to share with you all that I have to offer.
Over and Out! :)