When I first picked up a camera, I was 15 years old. I was lost, confused and honestly in a place of despair. I had been through a turbulent few years and was just starting to come out the other side. I was being home tutored at the time and was lucky enough that one of my tutors herself had just started taking a photography course. She had an old battered camera which she would bring to our lessons, and one day I asked her about it. She let me pick it up, look through the view finder, try pressing the shutter.
I have the clearest memory of being in the car, holding the camera and asking her what would happen if I tried to shoot through the windscreen (I mean, obviously this sounds ridiculous now, but I was CLUELESS. And it was ime before digital cameras. I mean, can you even imagine?!)
"There's only one way to find out. Take a photograph and see."
I love this memory. It embodies everything I still feel when I pick up my camera. The unknown. The excitement. It's the first time in my life that I can really remember feeling like I was on an adventure. And the adventure was anywhere I was with this camera.
My tutor introduced me to her photography teacher and a girl crush of epic proportions began. She was this hilarious, petite force of nature - with passion and encouragement by the bag full and a love of inappropriate swearing. She helped me learn to take photographs, she helped me learn about myself. I can truly say that meeting her and discovering photography changed my life.
In hindsight, I can see how that time and those three years in her classroom were like therapy for me. It was freeing, being able to put images to emotions when I couldn't find the words. Being able to quietly observe and and learn and get lost, al at the same time. And I felt safe.
So you see, photography and I, we got a thing going on. It's pretty serious between us. It's incredibly personal to me any time I pick up my camera. I will never tire of the feeling of that box in my hands or the metallic sound of the shutter. 11 years and we're still going strong.
About a year ago, I decided I wanted to start some kind of photographic thing, as a job. (Actually, that's a lie. Ever since I picked up a camera I knew that I wanted this to be my job.) People had been asking me for a long time why I didn't do it already. Doing something you're passionate about to earn a living is the ideal, no? Of course. Of course it would be lovely to photograph people and their lives and be invited in and paid for it. But for me, it was a real and very long struggle to get the place where I could say, 'Yes, let's do it'.
It confused me really. Why did I have this reluctance and fear in the pit of stomach and why couldn't I just do it already. Was it fear? Fear of failing? Fear of not being good enough? I think it was probably a little bit of all of those. Which is natural when venturing into anything new. Mainly though, it goes back to the personal thing. It's like introducing your friends to a new boyfriend. You like this guy so much, and you love your friends, but omygod what if they don't like each other? What if it hey just don't mix?
But at some point, I think you have to let go of the what ifs. And that's hard, because honestly they are a comfort. Someone asks you something, or you have an idea and you're not 100% about it so you can 'what if?' it into submission. But the problem with that is that nothing changes. Nothing progresses. You can't move forward and you're never really happy.
So first, I made the decision to start my own business. The second thing I did, which was probably just as important, was that I told people I was starting my own business. Because then you have no where to hide. Fun!
And now, dear friends, I'm telling you. You probably already know in fact. But I'm just telling you again. I have started my own photography business. It is called (you guessed it) Baby, Picture This. I specialize in taking pictures of people. People getting married, or having a baby, or people who just want to capture a moment.
This post is titled after the following quote, which really just sums up why I do this. Why I have always wanted to do this. Why I started this business and why I hope people will hire me.
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” --Aaron Siskind
Please come and see me over at Baby, Picture This