If you come here from time to time then you probably know how much Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk had an impact on me. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and my heart pounded against my ribcage as each of those 20 minutes ticked by in her talk. I kid you not. There are a handful of things that actually changed my life for the better…things like the birth of my girls, our wedding, my mom kicking cancer’s ass and that damn TED talk. I was always a science kid. I loved cutting open frogs and collecting bugs in school. I didn’t play any musical instruments and I didn’t take any art courses during part any of my educational journey. Now, here I am, a 38 year old artist. I always cringe when I say that because I don’t feel like one. I don’t really feel like I deserve to be one. I mean, what the hell do I know about anything art history related? Nadda. Nothing. If I made an art resume it would be blank.
So all I have are ideas and even saying that makes me wince. I’ve never told you this before, but I once posted a fearless bridal shoot and someone left a comment that absolutely tore me apart. It mocked my ideas, my lighting and everything else about the photos I posted. It was an anonymous post but it stayed with me right up to…well, right now. I killed me. I just HAD to know who it was. I’d dissected that shoot time and time again, second guessing everything because, prior to that comment, I was so happy with what we had done.
At some point soon after that, I pulled up my big boy photographer underwear, grew some thick skin and realized I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life. Plenty of bad ideas and lighting setups lay ahead. I’m telling you, I can’t thank that anonymous, cowardly motherfucker enough. He ranks right up there with Elizabeth Gilbert on the list of things to keep in mind as you work. Just show up, every single day, and go to work. Good things will happen.
I wish we could all shoot like my four year old lives her life. Every single day at 4pm she come barreling out of preschool frantically waving her arms in the air, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, look what I made!” We’ve got a collection, a HUGE collection of 8×10 pieces of paper with sparkles, splatters and smudges that she calls her art. She never asks if its good. In her mind, it’s perfect…and I have to agree. She made it on her own and she made it for us. I swear to god for the rest of my life, I’m shooting with that kind of passion. Its’ terrifying to hand over a wedding or portait collection to clients. Terrifying. Anyone who says it isn’t is lying to you. In the words of a very talented wedding photographer, it’s always personal. No matter what stage of photography you’re in, newbie, part timer or pro…it’s always scary to just put it out there.
So, this is what I made for you. This is me barreling down the preschool steps, waving my hands in the air with a photograph I want to show you. I’m so damn proud of it and I don’t care what you think.