This is a post documenting my recent trip to Seattle for the Click Away 2016 conference. But more importantly, this is a post about courage, vulnerability, truth, and creativity.
“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert
One the plane ride home from this extraordinary trip, I re-read Elizabeth Gilbert’s most recent book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Oh Elizabeth! Man, she is just the icing on the cake that I needed on the way home from being inspired by so many talented artists over the weekend. So many things in this book speak to me. Let me start by sharing this list (shortened by me to include my major fears….)
“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life:
You’re afraid you have no talent.
You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored.
You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it.
You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.
You’re afraid everybody else already did it better.
You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously.
You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life.
You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing.
You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money.
You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration.
You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.)
You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist.
You’re afraid you’re too old to start.
You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder.
You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder.”
Check. Check. Check. I have always been envious of those people who know what they want, do what they need to do without question, follow their heart, and are extremely successful. We see it happen all the time. Well, we see the success. But what I have come to realize is that most of the time, we don’t hear the full story until later. I sat in the audience and listened to many successful artists this weekend and the overwhelming stories I heard were about their failures. Wait, what? I came to learn technique I thought I was lacking, I came to learn posing and connecting and editing. But instead of all of that, I realized I learned so much more…
I learned to be true to myself as an artist.
So, what exactly does that mean? It means that I can be vulnerable and brave and admit I am afraid (of all the things Elizabeth Gilbert writes about and so much more). It means that I realized that I have been veering away from what my artist soul is saying to me. It means that I am still learning and growing, that I need to trust in the process. It means that I want to go back to shooting what my heart tells me to shoot, not what social media tells me to produce.
Some quotes from Click Away that stuck with me:
“Fall in love with the process instead of the end result.” Summer Murdock
“Failure can inspire better than success.” Brooke Shaden
“Does it move your clients souls?” Lexia Frank
“Begin to notice what makes you feel.” Yan Palmer
“Fear, doubt, guilt…you don’t have to carry it.” Me Ra Koh
What is my heart telling me to shoot? Well, it’s telling me to document. It’s telling me to think outside the box. It’s telling me to create and try new things. It’s telling me to show others how beautiful they are, how beautiful their stories and lives are.
REAL IS THE NEW BLACK.
Ok, so why tell you all of this instead of just doing it? Because people aren’t open enough and I want to be open with my clients and about my work. I want my clients to also have courage to be brave enough to let me share their stories. Who wants to be vulnerable and brave with me?!! I am looking for some creative, unique, brave families to document in the coming months. Everyone’s story is one of a kind, families are different, and I want to celebrate yours! I will be adding these documentary sessions to my repertoire (in the Rochester, NY area): Birth Documentary moment sessions (hospital or home), Postpartum Documentary moment sessions (in-home within 2 weeks of birth), and Day in the Life moment sessions. These sessions will be portfolio building for me, but more importantly, they will be a treasure for your family. So…who wants in?! Fill in this form on my website and tell me about your family and why you want to do this with me. Seriously people, this is going to be amazing! Does this mean I won’t be offering my Simple Moments Family sessions anymore? Absolutely not! I love my family sessions and am so honored when you ask me to take your family’s pictures year after year. But for those that want a bit more in-depth experience, I am so excited to offer these kind of sessions.
In the meantime while I am waiting for all your inquiries to come flowing in (ha!), I wanted to share with you my documented Click Away experience. I met some amazing people in the gorgeously gray city of Seattle and I am a stronger artist from the experience. I will leave you with these images and the words of the ever inspiring Yan Palmer:
“A click is born from the desire to remember and memories are the most powerful magic we have.”