Last year was a rough one for me. I mean I learned a lot and nurtured my newfound love of film and still had my insanely good luck connecting with amazing clients. But I was internally... um... strifed? Is that a word? Strifey? Filled with strife?
I just felt unfulfilled on a weird level. Like... lost. I felt... well... VANILLA. Which is NOT a good feeling when you're a creative for a living and you, in your core, are super NOT vanilla, but started feeling like to be successful, you had to be vanilla.
I was so conflicted by this, that I actually decided to quit photography. Yup... just two weeks ago I was like... okay... there's no sense in taking something that you love so much and abusing yourself with it. This isn't worth it. Just stop. Finish the shoots that you have, and then be ready for whatever is next.
I totally gave up.
And do you know what? That was THE BEST THING I COULD HAVE EVER DONE for myself! I gave up on trying so hard. On trying to be something that I wasn't. And IMMEDIATELY, I found that fire again. That thing that makes me inimitably me. I don't even know what it is. But it was gone, and now it's back and one thing is for sure... this year... I am going to be a force to be reckoned with.
One of the things that I knew I had to get back into was playing. That's one of my favorite things about photography. Trying new things, learning... feeling like a beginner again. So I gathered a bunch of photographers that I know and we're working on a monthly project. Each month has a theme. Each month you play and shoot in that theme and see what happens.
So January's theme is SHADOWS. And it's actually kind of poignant... because it's what I was battling internally all last year. And do you know, when I was dropping off my rolls of film with all of my shadow photos on them, the guy in front of me in line turned around, looked me dead in my face and was like "You have a shadow."
When I was done having my "wtf was that" moment, I realized that was kinda cool. Cause ya, I do. We all do. And as much as it can suck super hard, it is also responsible for most of our growth.
So here's to embracing our shadows. And to see other photos from this project, check out Barb Toyama's shadow post.