The Pursuit of Happiness

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be happy. In our society, happiness often appears to correlate with monetary accumulation, or some obvious display of wealth, like the newest phone or the biggest TV. I have been admittedly guilty of falling into this trap time and time again. I could not tell you how many times in my past I have felt down or depressed about something or other and gone shopping to alleviate whatever random sadness I felt in my heart. And you know what? You DO feel better for a little while, but ultimately, I think you come to a point when you look around yourself and your surroundings and you realize that you have too much STUFF and that none of that stuff really makes you feel good inside. Obviously, this is not a new observation, but it is one I’ve been pondering quite a bit in the most recent months, as my husband and I discuss some very large impending life changes, which I’ve hinted at before, and will be talking about more in the next month or so.

Thinking about living at a level far, far below what I’m used to financially is very scary to me. I’m a worrier at heart, and even though I know I am making the right decision as far as my future goes, it is alarming and frightening to lose so much control over my life and my circumstances. To go from totally stable employment to something that isn’t stable and doesn’t offer anything in the way of concrete financial benefits, is terrifying. And yet, even more scary than that is the thought that I will never step out of my comfort zone and take a chance with my life, that I will never know what I am fully capable of if I continue to live and work inside of this small box I’ve constructed for myself.

To compound matters, several people very close to me are constantly reminding me of the fact that I’m about to do something risky, something that has the potential to completely screw up my life. I wish these people knew how much I desperately crave their approval, and the fact that they are so wary, implies to me (even if they do not realize it) that they have absolutely no faith in my abilities or my talent. And that hurts so deeply inside I could never put it into words. I suppose on one level, I realize they do not approve because they are scared and worried about me because they love me so much, but at the same time, it feels like a little knife inside my chest whenver I think about it. I wish they could just BELIEVE in me because so often I feel like I am seeking their approval and I never feel like I really ever have it when approval is so contingent on caution and on not taking any kind of chance.

In any case, those are just some relatively deep thoughts on this chilly Thursday morning. I hope to have some actual pictures up on the blog shortly, as I have been a shooting FIEND these past few weeks, with about a zillion more portrait sessions lined up.

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Standing Out

It’s become quite apparent to me that there is a certain look to the wildly successful photographers on Etsy. This isn’t a bad thing or something to moan about, but it does make one wonder how to stand out from everyone else, when it seem the only way to be a success on Etsy is to take endless photographs of ferris wheels or list the same old, same old photograph of a dandelion. That’s not to say that I don’t like these images or that I don’t think these photographers are talented, because they so obviously ARE; I am merely commenting on a theme here, one that can sometimes become tiring to wade through when looking to buy some new photography for my walls.

I want to be original, not derivative! I want people to look at my work and think “Now THAT’S a Facing the Lens photograph!” Sometimes I feel compelled to change my style a bit, altering it so I can be more successful to Etsy or the hipster crowd, but I find that when I try something like this, I’m not as happy as I am when I follow my own eye and my own sense of what I find beautiful. I think you can see this progression in some of my work; the images I first put in my Etsy shop have that faded, vintage feel that is SO popular on the site (and that I admittedly find myself drawn to). As I’ve become more comfortable with myself and my abilities, I’ve begun exploring vibrant, color popping imagery, which is something I’ve always LOVED.

I suppose it’s a good thing to always be searching for some kind of creative nirvana and to never quite grasp it. Once you’ve grasped something, be it a theme or a concept, you don’t ever really feel the need to go back and revisit it or to look at it in a different way. I am hoping to take a step back from my images and see how I can improve upon them and create something distinctive and unique. It may not be successful monetarily, but I am hoping that the joy I take in my imagery is enough to sate me creatively.


Red

Red is the color of a new bloom,  bursting into being.

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It is the twinkle of light seen through a delicate petal that reaches to the sky.

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Red is coming home to the realization that you are alive and bountiful, constantly humming with life.

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Red is passionate and giving and life-sustaining.

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