This New Year I had one goal. I won’t call it a resolution- more of something to work towards: to live the life I’ve dreamed. Starting the year I couldn’t help but feel introspective and reflective. I allowed the one year anniversary of doing photography full-time (last December) come and go without saying anything. But in my heart I felt like this was a big deal. I couldn’t figure out if I was more proud or terrified. What had I accomplished? What had I learned? Did I have anything to show for all the time (and money) I’d spent? I wouldn’t let myself sleep until I knew more and had done more. Good enough wasn’t good enough. Every day I felt like there was more to be done and every night I stayed up working on my photography… the business… doing anything but resting. I’m not going to lie… I’m sure that I was less than a joy to be around.
In February I let another anniversary pass with only a mention to a friend or two. It had been a year since I’d attended the Making Things Happen Intensive in Atlanta. It was there that I finally got the courage to really go for it with my photography. I’d been studying photography since 2004, starting in the darkroom and eventually establishing a part-time business. At the intensive I met some amazing women from around the country that encouraged me to follow my heart and never give up. Since then we’ve kept in touch, following one another’s work and always being there to lift each other up. Witnessing the transformations that have occurred in so many of them has inspired and encouraged me to work harder, even on the days I’ve felt like giving up.
One of the ladies that I met there has been a true inspiration to me. A wedding photographer for several years, Shannon Kelley and her family sold their house last year to move to Haiti and live as missionaries. I find her family’s willingness to follow their hearts and make their dreams happen truly moving. While I’m fairly certain that that’s not in my life plan (I think… who knows for sure!), I do know without a doubt that I want to use my photography for a purpose… That is part of the reason that I fell in love with it in the first place. Initially it was during a mission trip to Zambia, as I captured images of malnourished children and witnessed the impact those images had upon my return. My true passion for photography didn’t occur until I realized the capacity an image has to heal someone as well as the artist… I truly realized this after my first husband passed away suddenly shortly after the birth of my daughter. For me, photography is a way of helping people savor every moment they have with those they love, which is perhaps why I take it so seriously…
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to second shoot with Shannon. She had flown in from Haiti for several weddings in the States and was going to be in Destin for Ches and Doug’s wedding. I jumped on the opportunity to see her and spend time capturing Chesney and Doug’s nuptials. It wasn’t until after the wedding that I started getting all introspective again and realized that I have worked really, really hard… And that while success doesn’t happen overnight, I should still be proud of how far I’ve come. It’s been one heck of a sleepless, exciting, terrifying, tear-filled, joyful, love-filled year and a half.
Oh, and Chesney and Doug? I wish you many years of love and happiness. For real. When I say I hope that I hope you savor every moment together, I mean it. Soak. It. Up.
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