In just a little over a month I will be celebrating the 1-year-anniversary of my fledgling photography business. I have had no regrets and no big surprises but I have struggled. While everything is going as I thought it might, I am being painstakingly honest when I say that there have been, and still are, moments when I feel completely and utterly lost and have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. It feels eerily similar to being blindfolded and trying to feel your way through a maze. Exhilarating when you find an opening and then painful when you run headlong into another wall.
Winter has been especially difficult as I wait out the weather and try to map out the next steps of my journey. (Not easy to do when you’re not exactly sure which direction you are suppose to be headed.) Sitting at my desk one night, staring at the blank pages of the next weeks calendar, pen poised inside the little box under the heading ‘Monday’, I broke. I had nothing. Nothing to write. No “next step”. Not one single thought about what I could, should or might do to get me any closer to my dream. And was it any wonder? I laid my pen down and starred at the neat little piles of unsorted papers, half read books. Sticky notes of random thoughts, songs and recommended books to read, webinars to watch and YouTube videos that would spell it all out in six easy steps. My winter hibernation had brought me to information overload and what I really needed and wanted was to just take pictures.
Starting my own business, for me, means that I still have a day job so I don’t have the added pressure of money issues. For some people that’s a great motivator. For me, it’s a give me the paper bag, I’m going to heave. Anyway, the following day my prayers were answered in the form of a text giving me the option to have the day off. After a quick prayer of “Thank you’s and hallelujahs!!” I sent back a response of “thank you, I really could use the day.” Then I loaded up my camera and soon found myself lost on a gravel road, singing country songs at the top of my lungs and snapping pictures of anything that looked remotely interesting. I was a crazed photographer who had been cooped up for way too long and needed to just do. No more reading, planning, guessing, wondering…just letting myself remember exactly why I started this journey at all.
I had only been out for about an hour when I saw a cool mailbox that I wanted to get a picture of so I could show it my husband and see if it might be something we could put in our driveway. Trying to get turned around, I eased into a little grassy drive and forgot all about the mailbox when I spied this sweet little abandon camper. Looking though my camera lens I remembered comments from a conference I had attended about how pictures tell a story, or at least the good ones do. What story would this photo tell? The story of how someone had come there with the dreams to build a home only to have them dashed by money problems or the loss of a loved one? Or maybe it’s not a dream abandoned but a dream-in-waiting. Maybe it will become someone’s project, someone’s labor of love and it will be restored and given a new life.
That’s the joy I find in photography. It’s not about the planning and paperwork, though those things are obviously important. It’s about seeing beyond what is in plain site, (i.e. a home for raccoons and other unsavory characters) and daring to see more. It’s really about sharing the beauty that I see and letting the story be told or imagined through the eyes of those who are willing to look.