Unless you have been on some sort of technology fast or living under a rock, you can’t have helped but notice that everyone and their brother has been sharing photos of themselves from 10 years ago to compare to their most recent photos.
My first Facebook profile was created for a college class and then deleted in 2009, (most likely due to some sort of falling out with whatever guy I was dating at the time), and I created my current profile shortly after. The Facebook account that I have now contains pictures from good ol’ days, some embarrassing status updates in the Memories feature, and lots of photos of the best little readhaired thing that has ever happened to me.
I didn’t actually participate in the 10 year challenge, as much as I enjoy trips down memory lane. Mostly because when I am on any type of social media, it’s either because I’m quickly scrolling down the feed while avoiding some work, or posting on my business accounts. If I take the time to actually post something on my personal account, it usually has to do with my daughter or our most recent family trip. But- the challenge did trigger some thoughts about myself over the last decade. Those soul searching, write-it-in-your-journal kind of thoughts. I won’t share too much of that here.
I will, however, apply that thought process to my photography and share that with you here.
Me then, Me now. Still digging mirror selfies, still covering portions of my face.
If you have known me for any length of time, you’ve known me with a camera in hand. I remember posing my little sister and friends for “fashion” shoots with whatever 35mm (or 110 film!) camera I had at the time. Then, in my early teens, I went through a video phase. I actually carried around a camcorder everywhere I went, recording everything that happened. It was a little weird, I’m totally aware of that. That phase lasted a couple of years, until I got my first DSLR for Christmas. It was high school graduation time for most of my friends, and I started taking “senior photos” and then I worked with a friend aspiring to be a model, and from that came my first bride. I got an (undeserved) ego boost when the bridal shop where she had purchased her dress asked if they could display a 16x20 of one of my photos in their shop. I rode that high into my next few sessions and a wedding- a wedding for which I was GROSSLY unprepared.
Just like my own personal life over the last 10 years, it’s filled with fun, love, and some seriously embarrassing moments.
My first bride ever. I learned so much from this, and working with her put me on a high that I’ve never really come down from. Peep that editing, though. A serious sign of the times. 2008 was all about heavy split toning and vignettes. My personal favorites (and way overused) actions back then were called ”Totally Rad”.
I am nowhere near perfect- personally or professionally. I make mistakes daily. I still feel like a kid, lots of the time. Not physically- let’s be real. And when I spend too much time around 18-21 year olds, I realize how old I actually feel. But, I can’t believe that the same kid who used to carry a big camcorder around would actually grow up to carry around a big camera for a career. I still have more fun doing this than anything else. And if I am being totally honest, if it weren’t for the business savvy of my husband, I would absolutely be another broke girl trying to get my business off the ground. When you have as much fun as I do, you almost feel bad charging what you are worth. Almost.
Thank God for Nathan!
Realizing that I’m not perfect, that I don’t know everything there is to know about my trade, taking instruction from those whom I respect and admire, and giving my honest to God, 110% best is my 10 Year Challenge. I haven’t even begun to reach my goals, because they are constantly evolving. (Although, if I ever get to do what Henry Diltz does, I’ll call it a day on the “goals” front.)
After 10 years, I feel successful. Not in some of the ways that most people in my trade would define “success”. I know this because I’m surrounded by thousands of photographers, in my city alone, who share their goals and success stories and create education programs and workshops to help teach other photographers how to become “successful”. And in many ways that IS success and it’s wonderful and yeah- I’m still working my way up that particular ladder.
As for me, in my own heart song definition of success.. I’m there.