Seven years ago, if anyone would have told me I would one day be a photographer, I would not have believed them. My journey into the world of photography quickly ended in childhood when every image I took came out blurry. As much as I loved the look and feel of that little Kodak Instamatic camera, I realized immediately that I was no good at taking pictures.
Many years passed and then one day, camera nearby, I saw an ocean scene accented by the most unusual magenta color throughout the sky. I picked up that little Kodak digital camera and took the shot. My eagerness to see the image helped me work through my intimidation with technology. As the photograph appeared on the monitor, it literally took my breath away!
I kept taking pictures. Then one day I started sharing. One at a time. First with a couple people. They gave nothing but praise. I then shared with my mother. An artist. She loved what she saw. Gradually I sent more. Very slowly. Each time it felt like a huge risk. Each time my friends and my mother encouraged me simply by saying they loved what they saw.
My mother started using some of the images in her paintings. The thought that these impacted her helped me explore and expand on my subjects. I realized my shots came from different parts of myself in connection to other people. Some connected to my mother, to my father, while others resonated with my siblings. Some spoke of memories and views, conversations with other people. Through this exploration, I found some too were meant just for me.
As I felt more comfortable being uncomfortable, I stepped out a bit more. I emailed more people. Then one day, wanting to share the beauty with a larger audience, I put my work out there to friends on Facebook. Somewhere in all of this my work was noticed and I was invited to be part of the gallery for Whidbey Life Magazine. I was then asked to show my photographs at Prima Bistro Restaurant in Langley, Washington. Then I got some work up at a few more places. One day I was sitting in a doctor's office surrounded by bare walls. I realized I was more inspired than scared and decided to do what for me was a courageous yet very worthwhile act. I put my photographs and poetry up at a nearby clinic. My poetry I now realize is taking me into other new adventures.
Presently, I am working mostly in digital photography with some film and digital video as well. My work continues to be installed in the hallway at Prima and this exposure constantly builds my confidence. My goal is to share what I see. I plan to take time to learn as much as possible so that my work impacts the viewer in a way that inspires greater appreciation of life. On a final note, I am now working on a project with a mentor, an amazing friend who has mastered the world of film and now joins in exploring the digital world. This project is one we have been creating for two years and the rewards constantly greet us as we meet each shoot together.
Seven years ago I was not ready to be a photographer. But my reason was based on an old, old experience that had no value. I write this post today to remind myself to keep saying "yes" to life. I write this to keep stepping into uncomfortable spaces and saying "yes" to the new life that is there to greet me. I write this as well to encourage, to share this journey with others.
I am curious to learn from those who read this post, what old or even recent experiences might you be willing to try again? What moments made you feel uncomfortable, yet propelled you into a richer, more sensation filled life?