As if one blog and 2 social media sites wasn’t enough, last year I published an eponymous blog to use as a portfolio for my photography. Well, after one post it wasn’t used very well. I guess I just didn’t know what the point was yet.
I have plenty of experiences writing blog posts; writing first on Eucalyptus Pillow at 2006, then House of Revelry at 2009, now Revelry Press and now this …
A few weeks ago I realized that I have over 27,000 photographs on my Mac. Not to mention the thousands on an external hard drive, plus the countless of prints in boxes before the digital age. I use my Instagram account to post most of my favorite ones, but there are literally thousands – possibly 26,500 photographs – that I am not using or sharing at all. So it occurred to me, YES! Why not, on my spare time, play with all of these photographs? And I finally figured out the point.
It was in college that I discovered my love of photography. I was already a visual artist major, but originally wanted to be a filmmaker. I produced a couple of short, horrible films and quickly realized that making a film is a huge team effort. Not something that you can do independently. And I prefer to work independently. Using my still camera allowed me to continue to make art visually and eventually I realized that you can still create a story with just one image. I took this photograph in college making an in-camera double exposure in my 35mm Ricoh. I called it, “Rebirth”.
These days you can manipulate images however you want – even on your smartphone on the fly. While I still have some affinity for the clunky film cameras, the modern age of mobile photography is pretty cool, too. I don’t go anywhere without my iPhone. Not so much to call someone but to make sure I have a camera with me in case I see something I like. While the shot above involved timing exposures, processing and printing the film which takes days, today I could shoot this in my smartphone in a matter of minutes. I know the shot isn’t my best, but it is my first. And the history of this image, not a time or a date, is when I started my love of photography.
If I love it so much, why haven’t I worked as a professional photographer over the last 25 years? The answer is simple.
I had no confidence.
The 21-year-old girl with no role model and no real career plan except for looking for a job to help pay off student loans, didn’t know at all how to be a professional photographer. Right before graduation I applied for a really low, entry-level job at National Geographic at NYC as an assistant to an assistant to a photographer and I didn’t get the job. However, I did find another entry-level job as a tv commercial assistant at National Video Center (where the movie, “Tootsie” was filmed back in the 80s and where MTV had studios), hence the beginning of my career on broadcast commercial production for the next 6 years. At the same, making it as a professional photographer even though it’s originally what I wanted to do, the job seemed the easy way out. Because really, behind it all, I was scared and felt I had no confidence at all.
I don’t think confidence is an easy gig for a lot of us. I’m in my mid-40s and I still have confidence issues, albeit they are diminishing year by year. I think that as a young adult I let the outside influences in too much, shaping what I believed in. And I let my bad experiences bring me down to a level, a level that I felt that I could never get out. There were also people in my life that told me that I would never get out of that level, too.
I’m not saying that I’ve had a whole life of regret, because all of the jobs in the past 25 years have made life interesting. But there is a little pang of regret that I never really pursued the life of a photographer early on. But on the flip side, who is to say that I’ve never been a photographer? I have 27,000 photographs. I have boxes of prints. I have books and albums. I make coasters with my photographs. I make cards with my photographs. I’ve made families cry with some photographs that I’ve taken.
What I don’t miss is being the 21 year old girl anymore because if I had the chance to talk to her I’d tell her not to be so scared; be confident, be bold, because you know more than you think.
Is it much easier to figure life out early so you don’t make so many mistakes? Maybe. All I know these days is this: 1. I no longer care if I go to the grocery store with no makeup; 2. I know who to hang out with now; and 3. I’m feeling damn lucky that I’ve lived enough to learn from my mistakes and that it’s never about what the title the world gives you, it’s about what you think you are inside.
Kate Minear Sorenson: Mother, Wife, Writer and… Photographer.
I’m dreaming today about things that I’ve won and the things that I’ve lost, the regrets and the successes, and the world that I have seen and the world yet to come. Mourning for the person I was, dreaming about the person yet to meet. Dreaming. Dreaming. Dreaming what she will do.