July 17, 2015      v.      May 31, 2011

I realized a couple days ago that I hadn't created a single personal piece yet this summer. And that thought freaked me out a little bit. That's not to say that I haven't loved what I've been shooting; honestly I feel incredibly blessed to have worked with a ton of great, easygoing couples for my first summer of consistently shooting weddings. But you just have to continue creating pieces for yourself or else you'll go insane. 

My life has entered--and will continue to enter--a lot of huge transitions. I'm paying for my own apartment, I'm going into my senior year of university, I'm working a full time job that I created for myself, I'm going to be going out into that world that everyone has been telling me is called "adulthood".

The more I grow older, the more I truly realize how nonlinear time is. The younger version of myself, even the six, seven year old version, knew that this day would come, but I don't think she knew the extent of which it would arrive, or the potency that which I would feel. My 2010-2011 phase was a burst of creativity. I had discovered the camera. I had limited tools which pushed my creativity and I'm still proud of a lot of the pieces I produced. It was a sudden explosion of so much art and creative thought and I consciously immersed myself in this land of art and made myself queen. They say (whoever gave them the right?) that very few people in the world can successfully merge their passion and their career together to create this homeostasis of continually being creatively (or scientifically, or what have you) satisfied. I haven't reached that point 100% yet but I'm on my way, working with wedding clients who love creative photos, collaborating with directors and athletics and working with musicians and models. I would love to continue in that direction and serve those that are most creative and hardworking.

The other side is that innate need to create. I felt that strongly too in those beginning years, with the move to the other side of the country and struggling to be comfortable with myself in high school. As with many other people, photography was my therapy. It was what I did when I felt most depressed, or most happy; I had to create.  My heart literally hurt when I had a desire to create something but didn't. When any significant or insignificant event occurred, I had to document it. And I could freely because I was still exploring this new craft and pushing my limitations and was often by myself, without the hindrance or watchful eye of others. 

I wouldn't say that older me severed from younger me, because I'm almost always in communication with her. But I will say that I think somewhere along the way, from mid-2014 until now, I had been veering away from those things that first drew me to this art form: the way the light trickles down a wall, the intense emotions I feel in the dark with my thoughts, and those tumultuous events that bring me to my knees where I'm better suited to pray and get my hands in the clay or charcoal.

I had begun focusing on the career portion--how can I make a living doing this? What do I have to change to build a successful business and make my clients happy? (And this is just a personality flaw, that I'm never good enough so I constantly worry that someone won't like this or like that, so I have to remind myself that my clients hire me because they already like my style just the way it is at this point in time and will be happy with whatever I give them because it's me that I'm giving them. And that's another thing, all of this art that I create is a piece of myself. Ansel Adams said "there are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer". My clients know that they will be viewing a tiny piece of my soul in every photograph they receive, and I have to remind myself that that's what they want.) 

So it all goes back to the fact that I haven't really created anything for myself in a long time. That's my lifeblood and I had forgotten about it, despite its necessary qualities for my wellbeing.

All that to say, here's a piece I created for myself--my current self, my past self, my future self. A perfect equilibrium of photographing (read: giving away my soul) and receiving it back renewed, as through a purifying filter. This is to remind myself that I am a creator, therefore I should create--never for anyone else, but first for me. Whether I feel like it or not, whether I'm in complete darkness or the greatest light.

Hello, May 31, 2011. You knew I was going to write. And here I am. We've made it to July 17, 2015, and despite all our differences, we are still the same person, scared, terrified of the future, and ever hopeful that the world is as bright as we pen it to be. Never stop creating, past and future me, I know you won't, because I know you. You have a unique life and it will be confusing and constantly heartbreaking, but you will feel the greatest joy and ecstasy and your life will be filled to the brim with riches. This life is wonderful. Your humanity is wonderful. Every emotion that you feel tumbling in your gut is wonderful. Your body is wonderful and you should never be ashamed of it or your personality or your inner perceived lack of creativity. Because you are just the amount you need. This is what you can handle, and this is what you can push yourself to do and become. I believe in you, and I know you believe in yourself (despite your attempts to not believe yourself). You are a creator, and that's in your core, so don't try to dig it out, but cultivate it, and I swear the world will become overgrown with so many beautiful vines.