April 2, 2013 / Personal

Why, Why, Why?!

Yay!  Thank you Dimitra for being brave and sharing your "Why"!  You will receive the $20.00 Anthropologie gift card! Okay, so, I'm sure many of you have heard me reference Justin & Mary before...
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Yay!  Thank you Dimitra for being brave and sharing your “Why”!  You will receive the $20.00 Anthropologie gift card!

Okay, so, I’m sure many of you have heard me reference Justin & Mary before and you probably think I’m obsessed, well I kind of am!  I look to them for ideas and moral support, especially if I’m having a rough day I will look to their website for some words of encouragement.  They are constantly posting about “Why we do the things we do”.  I have decided to share my “Why”.  So, here we go:

Why am I a photographer?

I fell in love with photography when I was very young.  I loved to explore (mainly my backyard) and make up stories and live out the fantasies in my head.  I loved a mixture of nature and fashion, which led to dressing up my cat and my younger brother and photographing them.  Everything that I did, I photographed, (school field trips, family trips, Barbie doll excursions, etc.).  I wanted people to see what I saw.

Then came junior high and I had a falling out with my two closest childhood friends, not by my choice.  This had a HUGE affect on me!  My best friends for the past six years of my life just dumped me out of the blue.  I was in shock, I was so hurt and embarrassed,  I didn’t even tell my parents, I just shut down.   I felt like every word that came out of my mouth was going to be mocked, so I just didn’t want to say anything.  This of course gained me the reputation of being a snob to some people.  If a boy actually said “Hi” to me while walking down the hall, I would turn my head, letting my long hair fall over my face and scurry away.  All I could think of was, “Why would he be saying hi to me?  It must be some kind of joke!  And I don’t want to get hurt again.”

Suddenly, my camera (and my cat) became my best friends!  Since I couldn’t and didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say, I used my camera to express myself.  I could take my camera wherever I wanted to and it would do whatever I wanted, it never judged me and I could create super cool photos!  I didn’t think about my camera and photography like this at the time, but it was mine, something I could call my own and it would never  leave me!  I might have looked like just a shell of a person walking around school, scared of everyone, but inside there were all of these images just dying to come out and I could make that happen when I shot photos.  It made me feel alive again!  Like I was worth something!  My camera and I were One!  I honestly feel like things may have gone in a different direction in my life if it hadn’t been for my camera.  I’m forever grateful!

I continued to explore photography and experiment with different cameras through undergrad and grad school and received a BFA and an MFA in photography.

Then, of course, came career decision time.  I thought I wanted to be a teacher, and I did some teaching of photography.  But then the junior high and high school memories loomed over me like giant hairy monsters and I felt my nerves kick in again.  Could I do this?  I loved seeing how the students interpreted my assignments through their photos, but when it came time for me to explain things to them, my head would get fuzzy.  I knew what I was doing and how to do it, but how to explain it was another thing.  Then, when I would be in front of my class lecturing and I would look out and see several of them sleeping (granted it was an evening class) my confidence drifted.

Soon, friends started getting married and since I was a photographer I should be able to do weddings, right?  I wasn’t so sure, but my family thought this would be the perfect career for me!  I shot a couple of friends weddings, and what do you know, I discovered that this was for me and I got really excited to know that I would be able to continue to work with my trusty camera friend!  I get such a rush of energy when I shoot weddings, it is definitely my high!  Some people ask me, “Isn’t it stressful?”  Yes, it can be stressful, but what job isn’t a little stressful.  I want to do a better then good job and create the most beautiful photos that I possibly can, so there is some pressure, but it’s good pressure.  It’s the kind of pressure that makes me want to grow as a photographer and an individual; And I am!  That’s another thing I love about being a working photographer, I’m always learning something new.  There’s always another challenge for me to take on and figure out.  What’s the best lighting?  How can I make people feel comfortable with me?  How should they sit, stand, position their head?  Where should I stand?  Should I use a flash?  What about off camera flash?  (something I’m currently learning more about).  The list goes on.

So, I realize this is a long explanation to my “Why”, but photography is my life and my life is not just a quick “Tweet” or text.  I certainly don’t have anything against tweeting or texting, I’m just saying that, that would not be the correct format for what I want to say.  I honestly think that if I didn’t have a camera to reach out to in my time of need, there would be a vast emptiness in me.  I do, however have more confidence and happiness in my life now and I don’t hide behind my camera.  I can still use it to express myself but I also use it as a device to get to know people instead of blocking people out.  Since I started my business some six’ish years ago I have grown so much and met so many awesome people that I would never have met if I hadn’t taken this direction.  It may seem really small in comparison to everything that is going on in the world, but for my personal growth, it has been ENORMOUS!

Now, if you hung around and actually managed to get through all of this, I would love for you to share a little bit of your “Why”.  Why do you do what you do?  It doesn’t have to be as long as mine.

But first, I want to share another peek from the last wedding that I shot:

Leave your “Why” below and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $20.00 gift card to my favorite store Anthropologie!  It’s time to Spring up your wardrobe!  I’ll be doing the drawing… sometime.  ;)

Comments

Why am I a healthcare professional? Because I have grown up visiting doctors frequently. Medicine became a huge part of my life and I learned by observation how to do it the right way. It was really important to me to take this knowledge and these positive experiences and use them to propel me to have the same positive presence in someone else’s life. Kids’ visits to the doctor’s office can be happy and pain-free…I hope I can help to frame this mindset through my actions at work!

This is very inspiring, Tiffany! I got goosebumps as I read your ‘why’ story! I will post my ‘why’ after a few hours of thought…

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