I've been actively taking photographs since I was 15 years old. I was young, and desperate for a way to creatively express myself. I'd always loved art class, but struggled with painting and drawing, feeling like I was never quite able to transfer the images in my head onto paper. It wasn't until I discovered Flickr.com that I realised photography could become my creative avenue.
Discovering that website, stealing my parent's camera, and teaching myself how to use it is hands down one of the best things which has ever happened to me. Here's why:
Photography Allows Me To Be Creative
This seems pretty obvious, but as I mentioned above, I've always loved being creative. For as long as I can remember, I was drawn to art, wanting to make things. I desperately wanted to take the ideas and stories in my head and make them a reality, but I was really not that good at drawing. Sure, with a lot of practice I got better, and by the time I was in my final two years at school, my drawing/painting skills had vastly improved. But I just didn't enjoy it. When photography came into my life, for the first time ever I could take the ideas I had in my head, and make them a reality. They were there, real, not weirdly shaped, or oddly coloured. Photography was the creative avenue I'd been searching for all along.
Photography Gets Me Outside
Before I picked up a camera, the only thing which really drew me outside was horse riding. Horses are the other big passion in my life (which currently has been put on hold, due to lack of time/finances - but I'll get back to it one day), and horses come hand in hand with the outdoors. Other than that though, I didn't feel particularly interested in the outdoors. It wasn't until I had a camera in my hand, and a will to create that I began to explore. Now, not a day goes by where I'm not looking up new places to visit, new countries I want to explore; and not just because I want to take a photo of those places, but also because I now absolutely adore being outdoors.
Photography Forces Me To Push Myself
People close to me know that I have dyscalculia, which is essentially dyslexia for numbers. Maths was always impossible for me to understand, and numbers confuse me. However, photography revolves around numbers; you simply can't be a photographer and not understand the numbers behind it all. So what did I do? Taught myself. I studies. I made systems up for myself. It took a very long time, probably longer than most people take to learn how to use a camera manually; but I did it. I pushed myself.
Creatively speaking, I also have to constantly be thinking outside the box. What can I do next which will push me forward? What can I try that's different? What images might people not expect? It's easy to get comfortable in what you do, but I know that I can't do that. If I want to be successful, I've got to keep pushing myself, so I do.
Photography Has Made Me New Friends
If it wasn't for photography, I never would have met Megan, which would mean that I would never have started working on Atlas, and I would not be where I am today. I also would still probably not know half of my friends in Cornwall, because so many of them I have met thanks to our common ground: love for photography.
Photography Allows Me To Work From Home and Run My Own Schedule
For as long as I can remember, the idea of working in an office repulsed me. I have always had a fear of working at a desk all day, surrounded by people, performing the same tasks all day. I've done a bit of that, and working in an office has never been as bad as I had imagined (in fact, I have quite enjoyed it at times) but ultimately, I'm at my happiest when I can base myself from home. I get incredibly distracted when there are people around me, so working from home means that I can sit down, concentrate, and not get distracted. I can run my own schedule, and because I work best early in the morning till the early afternoon, regular office hours just don't sit well with me.
Photography Has Given Me Confidence In Myself
Everyone struggles with confidence issues, thats completely normal. You wouldn't be human if you didn't doubt yourself. But if you can find something which helps you gain in confidence, then you should embrace that! Photography gave me that. For the first time in my life, I felt good at something. When I've got a camera in my hand, I know how to use it. I know how to make it work for me, and create something that my clients and me will love. Moments of doubt? Sure, some days I think I'm useless! But as a whole, photography has given me the confidence to believe in myself, and believe that I can do what I set my mind to.
Photography has done all of this and so much more for me. Do you have anything in your life that you're incredibly grateful for? What is it? I'd really love to know!