"Your best work will always be ahead of you. It’s true now, and it’ll be true in 25 years.
We never “arrive.” There is only the winding, beautiful journey as we chase our changing vision
and the muse that’s always a few steps ahead, just disappearing around unexpected corners."
By now, most of you have seen the recent post of my first wedding (photographed, of course. Not MY wedding haha!). I sincerely hope you enjoyed them and experienced the love and humility that emanate from the start of Jonathan and Cathy's marriage. When I created this blog, I had only intended for this to be a place where I could share my works with everyone. While personal posts were considered, I never really found the words and courage to create one yet... until now. Growing up, I have always been a quiet person. My presence, my thoughts, my actions. However, this quiet solitude is what I often need so that my words can slowly develop and come out of hiding. I wrote this post so that I could share with everyone a glimpse of my personal journey through photography and remind myself again why photography means so much to me. This is a huge step for me to share my thoughts with you all so I'd love to extend an invitation for each of you to spend the next few minutes with me.
I recently stumbled upon a blog post that shared wise words from David Duchemin, renowned world & humanitarian photographer. Throughout this post, much of his writing stood out to me, but I couldn't help going back to the one quote that caught my eye.
"Take risks. Take more risks. Be heartbreakingly vulnerable with the world and your art. Don't take yourself too seriously."
For those who know me, I am the opposite of every sentence in this quote. I am not a risk taker. I constantly fear the thought of sharing my work, not knowing who sees it. And I definitely take myself and every situation I'm in way too seriously. Loosen up much, yeah?
Of course, I have no doubt that these are all reflections of my perfectionism. It's so scary for me because I have such a huge fear of disappointment and failure. I'm easily discouraged by my mistakes, which becomes a hindrance to the pursuit of my dreams, big or small. I hate letting down those around me, and now that I'm slowly launching myself into the photography and wedding industry, my wrestle with my abilities and talent are heightened. I often return from photographing a shoot with sadness, feeling that I could've done a better job. It's really a vicious cycle.
For those who are curious how my first wedding gig went, it was extremely fun. I wouldn't trade my experience for another because I loved everyone who was a part of it, and my bride and groom were so kind to take care of me and my well-being throughout their special day. BUT I was also learning lesson after lesson. As a planner, sometimes it's hard to not be in control all the time and let life take the reigns. (I even had a little clipboard with a detailed schedule for my assistant, haha!) Everything can change in an instant. The sunlight, the environment, the time and schedule, my own equipment, everything. I won't lie, the perfectionist in me was freaking out throughout the day. The same time I was tending to my clients and their guests, I also had to make sure I was capturing the shots I needed. I felt like my assistant's job transitioned from second shooting to making sure I breathe. At the end of the day, when I reviewed my pictures, I couldn't bring a smile to my face. I just couldn't let any of my mistakes go.
Thankfully, a week at home relaxed me. I took that week to breathe and discipline myself from throwing a self-pity party. I think that was also the time when God gently reminded me that I will never find satisfaction in my works alone. It was eye-opening for me to realize that I had been so hung up on my mistakes that I didn't even relish in the joy of that day or the fact that He kept me safe from a 10 hour drive between three cities. Heck, I even got to see some of my old friends that came up (or down) for that wedding! When I came back to Austin, I had to make a decision. I could either bury my dreams and goals away because of my fear of failure or... I can try again. And keep trying until one day, I'm called to put down my camera. Just as David has shared, my best work will always be ahead of me. In the end, I realized that while I can never reach 100% satisfaction with my work, I can always take the time to find joy in art and appreciate every little bit of this journey. Perhaps from all of the bad art I make, I'll learn enough to be able to reach a day where I start creating great art.
To all my fellow photographers, I hope this encourages you to keep going. You and I are both still so young in this craft, and I strongly believe we have great things to expect in the near future.
To all my loyal followers and clients, thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for all of the kind words you've ever said or wished to me. Thank you for creating a support system that keeps me going and growing. Thank you for making sure I'm still breathing when I freak out (:
All my love,