I Love Photography

October 8, 2018


This is mostly a copy/paste from a personal Facebook post published on October 5, 2018.

On December 26, 2016, I wrote in my journal, “I want to photograph a wedding. “

I had mostly stopped taking pictures and wasn’t doing terribly well mental health-wise at the time. I’d stopped taking pictures a few months prior and was considering graduate school again, in a subject unrelated to art. Jared gave me a camera scarf and a journal with cameras all over it that Christmas of 2016, in the hopes that it would remind me to get out and take pictures. He told me to write my dreams for my photography in the journal. He told me to dream big.

But, it was more than just the wanting to photograph a wedding. I dreamed of being in business with my photography.

I’d had a business license for my photography in 2015. I never did a thing with it. Not a single thing.

But in April of 2017, I set everything in motion all over again. I marketed. I spent more money on business stuff than I ever will admit to anyone other than Jared, who supported my dream more than he worried about the money spent in pursuit of that dream.

And so, here we are in October of 2018. By the end of December of 2018, I will have photographed fourteen weddings between May of 2017 and December of 2018. I’ve done way more portrait and engagement sessions than that, and I photographed one proposal.

I realized that dream of photographing a wedding. And the dream of having a photography business.

However…my dreams for my photography have shifted. I’ve found as I take more pictures for clients, I take less pictures around the house. I have all but stopped the still life photography I loved so much for a while. I don’t get out the camera just to play around anymore. We don’t have many pictures of the kids from the past year. I rarely get to Johnny’s shop to take pictures of his art— one of the highlights of having a camera in all the time I’ve had one. I’ve found myself procrastinating to take photos for church. I find myself longing for the energy to get back into fine art photography.

While I’d say it’s very unlucky in most respects, there is one benefit to being disabled. My SSDI status, which has withstood two separate reviews now, affords me a certain amount of freedom to choose whether to work. There was never any danger, income-wise or with the amount of hours I was ever able to work, that I would ever have worked my way off disability through photography. So, the choice of maintaining the business was always just that— a choice, not a needed part of our household income.

And so, it comes back to the fact that being a hobbyist photographer isn’t so bad after all.

I’ve waffled on this decision for months now, going back and forth as to what to do. However, it comes back to the fact that I love photography itself far more than I love being in business for photography. As such, with a full and grateful heart, I won’t be renewing my business license in 2019.


Liam

September 17, 2018



How My Camera Saves My Life

August 15, 2018


I’ve been depressed the past few days.

This is how my unique brand of disability works. I was in the bed for three days straight this week over the particular situation that has me upset. I realize that isn’t normal—- but that is the reason it is a disability– my body and brain don’t respond normally to situations like this.

So, I got the camera out for an afternoon. I am slowly getting back to the place where I really feel like the camera is a tool for dealing with my condition, rather than feeling like I have to push to be more or make more of my photography. I am taking more pictures for me, and it feels great.

spindles on steps
Abby
Yesterday was a better day and I am firmly convinced that part of that reason it was a better day is because I had used my camera the day before. It is hard to describe but visually seeing the photographs I take and the reality I am surrounded by in pictures that I have taken does something to flip a switch in my brain. It really does change the way I view my reality.

Yes, I happen to think that the pictures I take are not bad pictures. But that idea is separate from what this exercise does for my brain. The art itself is a separate issue from the therapeutic value of the camera. A photo doesn’t have to be anything to write home about in order to have a positive effect on my mental state.

My camera is a great tool for fighting my depression. When I look out at my surroundings, all the information my brain receives directly from my eyes is colored with whatever feelings I am consumed by as a result of my emotional state of the time. As a result, my feelings about my reality end up colored by mental illness at times. However, something about the act of taking a picture and looking at the photograph after the fact disconnects the first-hand emotion behind what my eyes saw when I took the photograph. It allows me to remember the beautiful around me without the lingering emotional residue of mental illness. Photography allows me to see what my eyes see without the emotional attachment of things that often have little to do with my direct reality.

I can’t explain why photography works this way but it’s magic and it has literally saved my life more than once. It’s miraculous. It’s why regardless of whatever I ever decide about photography as a business, I will always have a camera.


Caroline’s favorite cupcakes

June 26, 2018


 

I took this photo at a friend’s house before her wedding, on December 10, 2011. I had just bought my first camera the week before– a Sony Alpha NEX-5N. This was taken with the kit lens.


worksheets

June 25, 2018


I’m going back through old pictures and offloading the more memorable ones. This is “Worksheets” from April 25, 2012. I am guessing my oldest did the coloring for this.


photography limits

June 21, 2018


I do limited photography for clients. Those limits are about to get even more constrained.

For 2019, I will only commit to a max. of five weddings jobs, no more than one in a month. I will also do no more than a dozen portrait sessions, no more than one a month as well.

I’ve found working more than this causes too many stress flare-ups and doesn’t leave enough time for me to work on personal photography work.

I considered shutting down the photography business altogether and for a time I thought I would do just that. But really, there’s no need. It’s just I need to refine and work within my unique limitations.


my shaggy Abby

May 29, 2018


mood: hopeful

 


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