Recently, I went to Seattle and attended a workshop put on by the lovely Yan Palmer. It was everything I needed and more. Yan provided a very honest assessment of my portfolio but in a very loving way. Her response reinforced everything I had been thinking about my work. It has been scattered and unfocused. And in all honesty, I have been more focused on people-pleasing than harnessing my talents to create genuine photos that speak to me, which in turn speak to my target clients. It all stems from fear of my true self. Let me tell you a story...
Once upon a time, through a series of unfortunate events, I spiraled down into a vicious cycle of moderate to severe depression. It lasted about 6 years. I had to fight my way out of that personal darkness. And it left some collateral damage on my self-esteem. I am embarrassed to say that I tried to blend into the current pool of budding photographers, entered into the world of digital when my true love is film, and have been too afraid to offer the kind of photos that I really love. All in the hopes to gain clients. Any clients. Needless to say, it never felt right. And my work suffered.
Flash forward to the workshop and Yan provided me with genuine support and empowerment that pushed me to find my voice and I gave myself permission to "let my freak flag fly." In the next few weeks I am rebuilding my portfolio to represent the direction I want to move with my work, which will include more film.
Speaking of film, I only took my Yashica Mat 124 and some Porta 400 film with me to the workshop. This was really nerve-wracking for several reasons:
- This camera's light meter is non-functioning.
- The family photo shoot we had was mostly indoors.
- My lowest aperture setting is f/3.5.
- The only light reader I had was an app on my ipod, which conveniently died mid-session.
- Twin-lens cameras are tricky to keep level!
Talk about jumping back into film head first! I Mostly, I just tried my darnedest to guess the right settings and keep the camera level. Most pictures didn't come out perfect, but I am pretty proud of myself.
A ginormous thank you to Yan for calling me out on my cowardice. Also, a big hearty shout-out to Heather for letting everyone camp out in her living room for the workshop (and sharing her amazing sense of humor), Katy for opening up her house and sharing her family for the photo shoot, and ALL the ladies in attendance. I walked away so uplifted by each and every person that played a role in this workshop. It was good for my heart and my soul. Let's see how it all translates to my work.
Check back on Wednesday for a post about some progress from my portfolio rebuild.