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Finding Strength

We are all strong in our own ways. There are plenty of ways that I am sure I come off as weak. For one, I’m scared of the dark. Yesterday I cried while reading a greeting card in the market, and then again when I passed the dead fish. So, perhaps, in some areas, I’m not the authority on being strong. In fact, I am quite a sensitive soul. But this isn’t necessarily what I’m talking about.

In a large part, I am equating strength to courage, and in most cases, I do see them as the same thing. There are certain things that take courage and strength and it is up to us to not only find that courage, but to understand when it needs to be used.

For me, the courage and strength needs to come most when I am starting a new challenge. And with the new year, so many of us are. I wrote yesterday about chasing dreams, and I believe in that wholeheartedly, but if we cannot summon the strength to follow through with those dreams, they remain clouds in our minds.

I believe that strength comes, usually, in these increments: 40% to get something started, 50% following through, and 10% to finish. Starting a project can seem like an impossible task. And isn’t it funny, the thing that I am most nervous for, the thing that matters not one bit if it gets finished, is a documentary that I would like to make this coming year. No one is asking for it. No one expects anything. And NO is the worst thing people will tell me. So why am I so nervous just to start it?

I’m nervous because I care so much. I have my whole heart wrapped in the concept and I would hate to see it not come to fruition. However, my very life is based on the idea that failure is impossible unless we allow it to happen. If someone says NO, I take that as the start on a new path. When we realize that an endeavor might not go as planned, we accept that our idea might be completed in a different way than originally conceived, and that is okay.

I learned this lesson twice with the books I’ve put out. The first one no one wanted to publish so I did it myself through Blurb. The second one had better luck but quite possibly the worst book release I’ve ever heard of. I did my best for both of them, but sometimes circumstances are out of your control, and the sooner you realize that a dream is still a dream even if the ending changes, the more grateful we can be.

Once a project is started, it can be easy to coast along. We’ve gotten over that first hump, so why not take a break or just go with the flow? The moment we go with the flow, we lose hold of the direction of our dreams. It is so important to see something through. Once a project is completed, we understand fully the extend of our dream and how many others it can touch. So I’m making a documentary. I haven’t even started. I’ve only written at treatment for it as to what it will be like. I haven’t pitched it, I haven’t talked to anyone about it. There is no reason to continue when I think about all of the challenges ahead. But if I didn’t, then no one could reap the benefits of the film, and I believe there are many benefits to be had.

Stick-to-it-iv-ness: Something I’ve never had a ton of. Now don’t get me wrong, I have started and completed many projects, but there are certain things that I leave behind after starting. I blame this often on an overactive imagination. I start, I get bored, I abandon. But there are certain things that I feel are worth sticking with. Will you guys please hold me to this documentary idea?

And then there is finishing. That is the easiest part because the end is near. Simple, and gratification is in sight.

So where does strength come into the creation process? The answer is that it is FILLED with it every step of the way – positively bloated with courage. If you lack the courage, you lack the motivation. If you lack the strength, you lack the follow-through. So where is courage found? There is nothing that I can say here that will absolutely convince you that your idea will work.

The only thing is this: there is fear, and there is strength. And the moment you realize that there is nothing to fear, you replace fear with strength. It is one or the other, and we have that choice. It is okay to acknowledge fear; in fact, without doing so, it remains a constant in your mind. There is a funny thing about fear – once it is seen, it is diminished.  Find strength in being willing to see these truths. Find courage in knowing that your passion is worth pursuing. And seek calm in understanding that every person will fail, and every failure is another road to something better if we allow ourselves to take it.

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The Feelings of a New Year

I think that for a lot of people the time in between Christmas and New Years is an important time, and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there is almost certainly a feeling one gets leading up to a new year.

Excitement. Anxiety. Nervousness. Change. Lack of change.

All of these things measure what I personally am feeling. The new year is a wonderful thing and somehow it offers a reset button for each and every one of us to do better, or differently, or more. That can be a really daunting task, but if ever there was a time to rise to the occasion, this is it.

Starting a new year does not have to be a start to something new. Yes, the date on the calendar changes, but we are, in fact, the same people, just one day older. Sometimes though, we need that reset button. We crave an excuse to be different or try harder. Sometimes it just puts things into perspective; and that is what I love, whether the date on the calendar is changing or not.

For so many, at the heart of what we do is fear. We become naturally afraid for ourselves and for others, and which comes first is personal, and sometimes equal. We fear that we will not find happiness if we find new ventures. We fear that we will let someone down should our plans not come to fruition. We fear disappointment. We fear rejection. We fear stagnation.

There are so many things to fear when we look into the new year. There are so many things to change. But I believe that one very simple flick of the mind switch can change all of those fears into ambitions.

Finding happiness can only be achieved if one moves forward. Stagnation is the enemy that hides in plain sight, ever-present and steadily growing, until we not only see it, but cannot move past it for the sheer size. The longer we wait to change, the harder change is to find. Disappointment comes in many forms, but the most severe is realizing that time has past and none of it was used. And as for rejection, that will undoubtedly happen. The moment we realize that, the moment we are free from it.

Sometimes we understand that dreams are dreamed to be lived. Sometimes we understand that the value of a weightless cloud is worth more than weighty coins. And sometimes, if truth be faced, we admit how scary those thoughts are. A cloud may weight nothing but can feel like a burden if not released.

I believe that we are made to imagine. I believe that we are made to change and grow and learn and live. New Years is one of my favorite holidays for one simple reason: it allows people to dream. It allows people to live, even if only through promises and lists and notes written in the phone. It is a chance that shows itself in the open instead of hiding all year long. It is a moment that we can take if we want to, that we can be held accountable for, that we can do something with.

I believe in those moments all the time. I believe they never go away. I believe they are always there to see if you look in the right places. And I believe that this New Years, everyone should turn their dreams into reality. It might not happen right away. It might not happen in one year. It might be that for the next five years your dreams are the same and you have to work hard every day to achieve them.

But each step you take toward sending your dream into the universe is a step that feels lighter and more fulfilled. Each time that cloud lifts you feel lighter, can see clearer, until eventually your dream is a cloud dancing amongst the sky, and you can see so clearly why you started down this path in the first place.

Upcoming Events!

When I planned out what I wanted my career to look like, it didn’t just include photography. That idea has been growing over time, though with no less love for the photo craft and simply more love for other things. Isn’t it amazing how with age our capacity to love grows, as does our desire to do? I feel that I have so many dreams, and I am very grateful that at the heart of them all is a camera and an imagination, telling my body to go do more.

I’m doing a lot of speaking this year at various events, and I couldn’t be more pleased about it. I am just so honored that anyone would allow me to take the platform and speak about what I love, in the hope that someone else will be inspired to do what they love.

So, with that said, here are the details for my upcoming events through March. These are not personal workshops, but instead are events and conventions organized by amazing people in the photo industry.

JoAnne Artman Gallery
Art Exhibition
January 1-31 in Laguna Beach, CA

ImagingUSA
Convention
“From Nothing to Something”
January 14 in Phoenix, AZ

After Dark Education
Convention
“Creating a Career You Love”
“The Business of Fine Art Photography”
“Making Any Picture Pop” (editing)
“You Are Inspiring”
January 19-22 in St. Louis, MO

SYNC Seniors
Convention
“Discovering Your Inner Inspiration”
January 27 in St. Augustine, FL

creativeLIVE
Live [free] Education
“Master Your Craft”
February 6-8 broadcasting worldwide

Gulf Photo Plus
Convention
“Fine Art Photography”
“Building a Creative Scene in a Boring Space”
“Shooting for the Composite”
March 7-14 in Dubai, UAE

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Before They Pass

My sister, photographed for my series "Before they Pass". She is, in so many ways, my opposite. But at the same time she completes me and understands me, and I now that I have my biggest ally in her. The picture: My sister is compassionate and sensitive, though she might not let on right away. She has always wanted to take care of people and animals, and has tried her best to do so. I decided to photograph her with an animal for that reason, and the bird seemed like a good choice. She wants to fly away. She wants to be free. So often my sister feels trapped by her surroundings, and I think being able to fly away would suit her well. She is antique, in that she doesn't seem like she should be part of this generation, and so I colored the image in that way. Stormy, brooding, free, and caring. That is my sister, who I love dearly.

My sister, photographed for my series “Before They Pass”. She is, in so many ways, my opposite. But at the same time she completes me and understands me, and I now that I have my biggest ally in her.
The picture: My sister is compassionate and sensitive, though she might not let on right away. She has always wanted to take care of people and animals, and has tried her best to do so. I decided to photograph her with an animal for that reason, and the bird seemed like a good choice. She wants to fly away. She wants to be free. So often my sister feels trapped by her surroundings, and I think being able to fly away would suit her well. She is antique, in that she doesn’t seem like she should be part of this generation, and so I colored the image in that way. Stormy, brooding, free, and caring. That is my sister, who I love dearly.

This is a very personal sentiment that I want to share, in the hope that the basic idea of it will inspire someone else. This past year has been a bit different for me, in that I’ve had some difficult ideas of my own that I’ve had to spend time thinking about and dealing with.

My mom (my friend and confidant and all-around role model) hasn’t been doing so well with her health, and I am reminded, all too often these days, how fragile a life can be. We had a big health scare and realized, or perhaps, admitted, that there is always a chance that she won’t live as long as we all hope. That, perhaps, none of us will. I write this with a heavy heart, but one that is lightened by the idea that resulted.

In dealing with this idea, and seeing my mom’s health diminish, I found myself going through photos of her on my computer, the one’s I had bothered to save in a folder on my desktop called “Family”. There were so few. Most didn’t capture who she really is. And that was when I realized one very important thing:

I don’t want to lose her and realize that I never got a great photograph of her.

I don’t want to lose anyone close to me and feel that way. And so I started a new photo series called “Before They Pass” in which I am photographing the people closest to me in ways that, I feel, represent who they are before they are no longer with me. I am doing this for myself and for them, to give a picture that everyone feels represents something about their life.

I am putting them in my photographic world in a way that creates a character out of their persona and life. In so many ways, we are all characters and can be spelled out in so many pixels, and I am taking that inspiration and running with it. We know those who we are closest to best, and so to have the creativity to turn someone into art, to immortalize them, is priceless. There’s no telling if my images will succeed at such a high level, but worst thing I could do is not try. The worst I can do is lose the opportunity altogether.

So far I have photographed my mom and my sister, and once my dad agrees (he’s putting up a good fight), I’ll add to the collection. I think I’ll be making a special trip home to do more shooting for this series. I thought about postponing the shoots until I had to be home for work…but then again, time moves so quickly, and you never know.

Always take time to honor those who are closest to you. Take a moment to capture a photograph or two and share it with them. Make sure that the people who should be remembered in your life are remembered. And remember to love, always.

 

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What to Do When Your Boat Won’t Float

When I was teaching on creativeLIVE I shot a boat in the studio. We couldn’t turn all the lights off in the studio so the subject and boat had a lot of unwanted light on her, and I was a bit confused in editing about what to do with the shot. It is neat on one hand to have a boat in an indoor space. But, I thought, since I’m not totally happy with the setting or the light, I might as well change it to something I do like!

This revelation didn’t come until 6 months later (as in, a couple days ago) when I was looking through some stock shots I had taken and was struck by a picture of the ocean. It had beautiful light on it, and I could see the light matching the studio setup. I went to work dropping her into the setting, which took some jigging. I had to match the light correctly in the sky, making sure to choose a cloud photo (or in this case, two photos) that would accurately act as motivated light for the scene.

After that, I had to blend the boat into the ocean, which proved to be the easiest bit of the editing process. I did a lot of work to the ocean and clouds to create really dynamic light by using curves to adjust contrast in select portions of the image. I felt instantly that the scene needed a cool hue over it to show the near-nighttime colors and storminess of nature.

Finally I added a texture, as I so often do, and these two textures are from my “Textures of White Hill Mansion” set.

It was so satisfying to finally see this picture come to life in a way that it had not been intended. I had always thought I’d keep it in the studio. But the time came where I could either throw it in the trash, or do something with it, and I was fond enough of it to set out on an editing journey.

I don’t usually like to create like that, but if an image isn’t working, who says you can’t breathe new life into it. I chose the elements I did based on themes that I love – dealing with the open sea, starting a treacherous journey, and finding beauty in a dark situation. I hope you enjoy the resulting adventure.

The “before” shot – unedited.

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Shooting in a Challenging Situation

The 5th episode of the Framed Show’s “The Concept” aired recently, which features myself and powerhouse photographer Lindsay Adler duking it out to see what we create with the same location and concept. During this episode we were challenged to shoot at Coney Island and our theme was “twins”. I adored this day like no other. In fact, I’d put it in, probably, the top 10 best days of my life. I frolicked in puddles, ran along the beach during a tropical storm, soaked myself to my bones and took pictures that, quite frankly, didn’t mean as much as the experience. That is the joy of photography sometimes.

Why is it always about getting the best picture? For me, it just isn’t. And I’m proud to say that during this episode you are seeing me at my happiest, taking pictures and loving it, but not caring about the outcome.

When we got to Coney Island it was closed due to the storm, so we shot outside instead. I location scouted and, having been dead set on shooting on a roller coaster, I decided to not let a little fence and lock stop me. I climbed atop the shoulders of Framed master Layne Boyle to capture my initial shot of the roller coaster.

After having that plate (a shot of the background), I got to work photographing my subjects. I was able to match the angle of the characters with the angle of the background. I tried a couple of different poses, mostly dealing with spacing issues, making sure they would sit properly on the tracks of the roller coaster.

When I got into Photoshop, this picture was not my friend…and it wasn’t because of the reasons I expected. The girls fit perfectly…their poses were spot on, the spacing was good, they cut out super easily…then what was it? The issue had to do with the fact that I couldn’t get more than one angle on the roller coaster. I had imagined a dark and gloomy sky looming above the arc of a roller coaster which I would have shot from a low angle.

I wasn’t having any luck getting the angle I envisioned, so instead, I worked with what I had. I did a lot of work to make the surroundings look a lot less distracting – selective blurring, cloning, and darkening were all tools that came in very useful during this edit.

At one point I decided not to edit it at all, because I had put together the image I shot at the beach (here it is, if you missed it), and knew that it could represent the episode if need be. But then I thought back on how much fun I had trying to capture the roller coaster image, and that nostalgia pushed me to continue trying.

Is it my favorite image ever? No, simply it is not. But it is very meaningful for me, and every time I look at it I remember climbing on Layne’s shoulders while propped up on a trash can to get this picture…in the pouring rain, during a tropical storm, on my first trip to Coney Island. Is there anything better?

The “before” shot – unedited.

 

The models trying to get warm in the bathroom after shooting. I maybe kinda sorta torture my models ;-)

In the car, soaking and happy and beaming :)

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Finding Inspiration & Motivation in the Face of Adversity

This week I received an email from a most beautiful soul, asking if I would write about the topic of how to find inspiration when life is getting you down. I’m extremely empathetic and I take on others pain and joy very easily, and after reading her email, I cried for her. And if I can offer any words of advice that might be even 1% useful, well, that is how to contribute to our community.

The first thing that I think needs to be clarified about artistry or inspiration or even passion is that it does not have to be who we are. We are artists, we are creative thinkers, but we are so much more than the label “Artist” or “Photographer”. I have found one feeling that consistently crops up when I am going through a rough time, and that is anxiety; the anxiety that I have to create because I have stopped. The anxiety that if I let my grieving process take over, I will lose my artistic sensibilities.

Have you ever felt that way? As if the bad day you’re having, or month, or year, will be the thing that ends all sense of art in your life? I know I have. I tend to go through life creating regularly and moving through the motions of my normal routine. If I feel like creating, great. If I don’t, I don’t worry about it. But suddenly, when a bad day comes along, I feel guilty for not creating. It is a swift change in mindset that is neither healthy nor productive. Forcing yourself to create just for the sake of creating is, in all likelihood, not the best way to put your best work out there.

If you need to grieve, grieve. If you need to have a bad day, have it. If you need to step back from what you’re doing and let your life breathe a little bit, let it breathe. Sometimes artists need space. Sometimes life happens and there is nothing to do but to let yourself feel the emotion of it.

That said, there is always a time to get back up and do what you love doing. You might have forgotten how much you love it. You might not feel motivated to get back into it. You might not know when the right time is. I tend to have a good sense of these things when it comes to my personal emotions, but I didn’t always. When I started photography I often felt frantic. If I wasn’t creating every single day, I felt anxious. I felt as though I would never be able to take a good picture again. I felt as though I would be irrelevant and somehow fall off the artistic bandwagon.

How do I know if I am ready to jump back into finding inspiration and being motivated?
The answer is: If I can, from an outside perspective, understand the situation I am in – then I am ready.

If I can take a step back from my life and clearly see the bad that has happened, and insert good thoughts to combat that, I take that as a sign that I am ready to create again. Now, back to that email I received. How do I know that the person writing it is ready to create? Because she took the first step to find help. Does that mean that she is healed? No. But what it does mean is that she is ready to find new inspiration, and to be motivated with that.

I believe that anyone who seeks inspiration will find it. It might be hiding, it might not be the most obvious thing to be inspired by, but here is one thing that I believe in above all else: looking for inspiration is inspiring in itself.

Think about it: humans crave inspiration whether we know it or not. So to actually seek it; to understand that we need it; that means that we are in touch with ourselves enough to know that our imaginations need fuel. Once you understand that inspiration is food for the mind, you stop at nothing to find it.

And so – how is it found? I could give you a laundry list of ideas to work on – themes to challenge you and whatnot, but that is the kind of topical inspiration that will get you to that place of excitement, but might not sustain. What I want is to ask myself one basic question: What is perfect?

WHAT IS PERFECT? So simple to ask. And it can be hugely simple to answer. I don’t believe in universal perfection, only what we ourselves consider to be the best in this moment. So, what is perfect to you? You can answer that in any way you want. It could be the perfect human, the perfect location, the perfect setting, the perfect prop or color or emotion or feeling or food. Imagine it all. Go there.

So often what we love most, what we find to be perfection, is where we find inspiration naturally. For example, this is my PERFECT:

I am in the middle of a forest. The trees are twisted but tall and the forest floor is as soft as a blanket with the decayed debris from the trees. There is a pond just at the edge of my vision. Fog encircles me and the trees, and it is warm and wet like summer. I wear a blue dress that floats out magically as I walk. I am barefoot. I have a wreath of flowers braided into my hair. My family is all nearby but I am by myself, exploring, smelling the sap from the trees. There is a cottage in the distance, and I can see the start of a bridge where the water begins. I run to it.

That is my PERFECT. That is how I would escape if I could. That is the place that makes me happiest; the smells that make me happiest. The feelings that I love. The sights I adore. That is where my inspiration begins.

It is okay to think about happiness when bad things are happening. Tragedy and hardship so often make your PERFECT even more so because it gives context. When you go through the bad, you understand the good with even more fervor. There is a certain connection to everything good that happens. And sometimes those good things don’t happen. Sometimes we wait and wait for things to get better, and the circumstances just don’t change. I undoubtedly have hard times ahead; I can already see them. But I know one thing that I will work my hardest to not change:

I can find inspiration any time I look for it. And that inspiration causes motivation, and that motivation causes results, and those results are the culmination of my dreams spilled out into real life – achieved.

It is not always easy, but it can be done. Right now might not be the right time for you to find inspiration, but remember that it is always there. It never leaves. It is as constant and the air we breathe, and sometimes just as invisible, but always there. Will you take it?

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Walking on Walls

On January 1, 2010 I visited a ghost town. It was a space used for movies a few decades ago, built to resemble an old western town. I was inspired, hugely, by what I saw, despite knowing that it was all crafted to look a certain way instead of evolving organically. It was old and rustic and beautifully decorated. I decided to create a picture there that day. I sat on the steps of a saloon and thought and thought until I finally connected with an idea: a ghost trying to get into the building, but failing. Hitting the wall with force, but sticking to the outside instead. An outsider in her own world.

I found myself, nearly 4 years later, at a similar building. This time I was in Dubai, UAE and the ghost town wasn’t a set built to resemble the real thing: it was the real thing. This ghost town had been abandoned several times. The buildings were made of sand and concrete and coral from the ocean, and I was inspired by each and every piece of it. We drove the streets, through the sand, in total awe of what these buildings possessed. History. Timelessness. Age. Decay. I wanted to be a part of it.

I found myself in a similar situation as the first time I encountered a ghost town. I had to sit on the steps of a building and think. How did I want to portray this beautiful space? I thought back to that first picture I had created and decided to, despite it being 4 years later, do a sequel. Something that excited me and moved me. I wanted to create another spirit character, this time more calm, simply roaming the walls that she knows so well, trapped in a space that has home written all over it, yet never feeling at peace.

When we drove up to this particular building there was a chair placed perfectly outside of the house. We never touched the chair, not even an inch. We left it right where it was and shot with it. Part of that due to how perfect it looked there, like someone put it there to entice us. The other part was out of respect, a certain feeling that, upon moving the chair, we would diminish it.

I hope that you enjoy both images, or, if “enjoy” is the wrong word, I hope they strike something inside.

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8 Thoughts That Motivate Me to Chase Success

1. Redefine Success. Do not allow the meaning of success to be reduced to money, fame or possessions. Do not allow the magnitude that is success to be diminished by believing it is only for a select few. Do not allow success to slip through your fingers because you believe you are not deserving. Redefine success for yourself. Believe it is something intangible, hard to earn, hard to keep, but worth fighting for.

2. If you do not recognize your own dreams, no one else will either. If you do not set goals for yourself, no one else will bother. If you do not find success for yourself, it is far less likely that anyone will give it to you. Those who have achieved the most have fought the hardest.

3. Believe that success is happiness and fear, and the overcoming of fear to find happiness.

4. Believe that success is a journey instead of the ending of a goal, that it is a road not traveled instead of an interstate running through a busy town in which many have traveled before. If you are given success without the journey to finding it, you may find yourself holding a shell, something hollow and filled with air. It is missing the fear, determination, struggle – the emotions – of what finding success feels like.

5. If you too often look upon the successes of others, you very well might miss the success you yourself could obtain.

6. When you set your goals, big and small, actually believe that you will make them reality. See them through, no matter how minuscule or how overbearing. In some form or another, even if the outcome varies from how you thought it would be, success can be found.

7. Success does not always feel successful. Success comes at its tallest and mightiest when it is achieved slowly by fighting for it. When success is handed over, we may not as easily understand the hardships that were battled in order to find it. And, not having found it, we may not understand the deep layers it was hidden under, just out of our grasp and sight, as we searched. If it is given, in one gesture, passing from one hand to another, we feel only the weight of it, the gravity, but not the soul. The body without the memories.

8. Never make the mistake of believing that trying once will automatically grant you success; though more importantly, never make the mistake of thinking that not trying will get you anywhere at all. Try until you get it right; if a dream is big enough, it is worth pursuing.

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Yes, I Like My Pictures

Somehow it can feel naughty to say that I like my own pictures. Have you ever felt that? That you would somehow be perceived as not being humble, or being narcissistic, if you said that you love what you do? I don’t love every single picture that I take, hence why I only show 50% of what I shoot. However, I do love the pictures that I put out on the internet. I wouldn’t put them out there unless I loved them, or unless I wanted feedback.

Liking my own pictures does not equate to any sort of status, either personally or socially. I will never declare I am the best photographer, nor the worst. I will not say that I deserve awards or recognition, but I do believe in myself. I believe in my abilities not as a photographer, but as a person who wants to achieve.

If you are creating, it is often because you love it. You put time into your art, you put thought, and you put yourself. You are your art, more often than not. And if all of these things are true, it makes sense that you would love your art. Even if every picture doesn’t come out perfectly; even if others don’t love your art. It is a love for the process, the strength and determination and sweat and tears that go into creating. It is a love for yourself, enough to know that your ideas are worth being heard. And it is a love for confidence, enough to put your images out there and share them with others. That takes courage.

And so it takes courage to step out boldly and proudly to say, “Yes, I love what I do”. Heck, I wouldn’t even be creating if I didn’t love it. I get excited at the prospect of shooting. I am downright giddy when I edit. And when the time comes to call it a day – to save a .PSD, and a .TIF for printing, and .JPG for sharing on the internet, I am proud. I am excited by the end result. I know that I have taught myself something each time, whether about myself personally or technically. I know that I have spent time on something that truly represents who I am, either literally or within my imagination.

I can think of few greater accomplishments than knowing what you love, and then overcoming the fear of creating it. Artists should give themselves credit for not only figuring out what they want to say, but then also saying it. Telling a story takes courage, for it is one thing to keep it inside and quite another to allow others to judge you.

And so it goes on the internet: judgment. Here it is and here it will remain. We will hear good and bad. We will hear the naysayers and the do-gooders, and within the space of both we must allow our own opinions to shine bright. If we do not believe in ourselves, we cannot expect anyone else to believe in us. And so I say, with as much fervor as I can put into these typed words, that I believe in your story, in your art, in the art you have yet to make and the stories you have yet to think up.

Everyone has a story to tell, and it is up to us to believe those stories are worth being told.

Be proud of what you do. Be proud of what you have yet to do. Be proud that you tried, or will try. And if anyone asks you if you like your own images, answer proudly with positive affirmation. We might not love it all, but we love enough of it to keep moving forward.

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