I've been having an internal conflict all summer. For a long time I wanted to 'be a professional photographer' when I 'grew up.' That was my dream, whether I would admit it to myself or not, and it motivated a lot of what I did. The blogs I followed, the start of this blog, the books I read, the money I spent on myself (books, magazines, equipment)...all pretty much centered around becoming a better photographer. I could say the ultimate goal was better photography/pictures, but really I had a vision in my head of the cultured and sophisticated person I would one day become when my photography was good enough and I could 'go pro.'
That hasn't happened.
There are a lot of reasons. Some of which have to do with whether or not I was or ever would be 'ready,' but mostly over the years a lot of things have simply changed. I still love photography and want to turn out awesome pictures, but eventually...well, eventually there were photographers every where I looked (locally). Everywhere. And they were good! And they were affordable! And everywhere else I looked were more people like me, people who were dreaming of living this same dream. So even if I could ever become as good as I wanted, I just didn't see enough photography pie in my area for everybody to have a slice. ( I mean, how many photographers does one small town need?)
So eventually I have come to terms with the idea that becoming a better photographer is really just for me. There doesn't have to be this stylish and sophisticated and professional version of myself at the end of the rainbow (and even if I ever get to putting out totally awe inspiring shots, I doubt that will suddenly make me look any different or be any better organized or my house any cleaner).
What keeps me going? What do I do with the 'work' I am putting out? Who really cares other than me? And maybe my mom? Sure I share here on this blog. I share for family on social media. But then what? Then what happens to all those pictures? How many shots do I really need of my kids in a given week? Is it eventually all just too much?
Yes. Yes, it is.
And yet somehow it is never enough.
I guess there is something about summer, something about the fun and the joy and the light and the vacations and the slower pace that make us all want to bottle it up. Capture all those tiny bits in a slice that we can keep for when times are dark and cold. And toward the end of the past two summers I've felt the calling to try and document. I've started albums in an attempt to get it all off the camera and out of boxes and into something tangible that I can hold. That the kids can see. That we can sit down with and submerge ourselves in.
I'm back in that place right now. My dining room table is covered with old prints and supplies and as I hold these shots and organize them and trim them down and watch them come together into a story of my life and that of my children I am taken somewhere else. To a time when hands were smaller, hair soft and feathery, pajamas all had feet (and many had holes with little toes sticking out). Births, baptisms, first steps and first days of school. I'm doing this all over again now with our baby, but looking back on the others...all the love that has just grown and grown...fills me up with gratitude that I can't begin to express. It's all been done and yet every day is new, every experience its own...
"Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different..." -C. S. Lewis
So I have to say that I do not regret the 40 pictures I took of my baby boy last night during dinner with his tiny grabby little toes. It is the best way I have to slow it down and save some for later...when times are darker and colder and perhaps a little lonely.
So...this was going to be a post about the order I just got from Artifact Uprising (not sponsored), and how much I loved the prints and how artsy my black and white shots looked...but obviously it took a turn when I sat down to write. I guess this was just waiting to come out. But the main point is I am happy with photography and documenting and printing...even if it is only ever just for me.