There have been a lot of times in my life when ‘what if?’ was used to explain why I shouldn’t do something. What if I failed, what if something bad happened, what if I got hurt, what if I was rejected? There have been times in my life when these questions have protected me from harm, that is for certain, but there is a point when these questions are simply the voice of fear. I have learnt to recognise my voice of fear and as soon as I hear it I know that regardless of whether I succeed or fail, the doing is what is important.
I’ve always been certain that the artistic gene missed me completely because anything artistic like drawing or painting was such hard work for me. It was obvious I have no natural talent in that area. My brother on the other hand has it in spades. So there began the problem, I would compare myself to my brother and see how much natural talent he seemed to have and how much I seemed to lack. So I didn’t try.
Perhaps as I get older and time seems to pass so quickly I have less patience for fear holding me back. Now the question of ‘what if?” is positive and motivates me to try something I would never have expected I would do, because why not? What have I got to lose? If I fail, I find what I need to improve for next time. Every imperfect result is a step towards what I want to achieve and when that achievement does come, everything I have learned along the path I have taken to reach it is what I value the most, because it is the doing that is most important.
My journey with photography has opened up a great big box of fears but I am determined to prove each one wrong. When I look back on my personal pictures from this month I can tell you I took a lot of pictures that I know were technically pretty bad and it was deliberate. I needed to study them to learn what not to do and also to let go of the idea of ‘perfection’. I wanted to get back to shooting more intuitively with what I have learnt, and give myself the space to be creative without being too rigid in my expectations. I wanted to enjoy doing it for me, just for me and for what I want my children to have of themselves. I want to look back and say every success and failure was worth the effort.
In July I said ‘yes’ to doing things creatively that I would never have expected to do. A personal project to submit for publication in The Courage Issue of ‘The Long Way Home’ was born. I had two goes at shooting for this project. The first time bombed because my son and I just weren’t feeling it. The second time we approached it as a collaboration of ideas and we had so much fun doing it together, mostly because I lightened up! The entire set of images from that day are wonderful memories of how much we enjoyed creating together, and they are some of my favourite images of my son to date. It was a project that never would have happened if I had told myself I would never be published. I was overjoyed to receive the email that my submission had been accepted but I wouldn’t have been disappointed if it hadn’t been accepted because the results were my reward for the effort. It was doing the work that was most important.
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