Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the past 10 months since graduating from photography school. There have been ups and downs. There have been moments of complete frustration and confusion as well as clarity. There have been times when I felt so overwhelmed, not knowing what step to take or how to take it. There have been moments of terror and fear, seeing my hand shaking as I reached for the door knob not knowing what the reaction to my work would be on the other side. There have been many restless nights. There have been times of immense excitement at things I’m getting to do and the things to come. There are times when I look at myself in the mirror and think “You are one of the lucky ones. You are getting to pursue the thing that makes you truly happy.”
I’ve come to realize things in the real world of photography are very different than how I imagined it would be when I was a student. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I love what I do. I love creating images. I mean real love. The kind where you love it just as much during the difficult times as you do during the good times. The kind of love that allows you to pick yourself up, brush off the dust and keep going with a smile of your face. Real love.
In the last few months, something a photography teacher of mine said has been ringing around in my head. He said (and I am paraphrasing here) that volunteering is a very important part of what you do as a professional photographer. I have taken this on, and have come to realize why it is so important. We are visual communicators. We tell stories through images. We speak a universal language that is vitally important, and can use that skill to give back to the world that has given us so much. I have always been involved in volunteer work, but recently it has taken on a new importance. I can now use that skill to really make a difference to the issues I am passionate about.
The cause that speaks to me personally is environmental stewardship and education. It has always been a part of my life, in a huge part thanks to a very involved and influential father. I was inspired by his involvement in these issues and wanted to do the same. Since settling in Vancouver, I have been involved with a few different organizations who’s work I find inspiring. It is a very different feeling than any other kind of photography has given me. Creating images, for me anyways, falls into three categories. The images I am paid to create, the ones I create out of the wildest depths of my imagination, and the ones I create to give something back to the world. They are all very different and bring a different kind of satisfaction.