"We write, we make music, we draw pictures, because we are listening for meaning, feeling for healing."
- Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water
My parents are celebrating 30 years together today. I love that my parents had a good photographer at their wedding, and that my dad's parents had a good photographer at theirs. I'm almost the same age my parents were when they got married, and now that my wedding is creeping in quickly, looking over their photos has all kinds of new emotions flowing. My grandma sent me a package with a few photos of her and my grandpa when they got married, with all of this backstory I'd never heard before, like that they sang to each other from separate balconies in the church before the ceremony (she also sent the sheet music lol). I get to see a piece of their story because someone was passionate about telling it.
Here I am in Michigan, preparing to get married in three weeks and in the midst of launching my photography business in what is still a new place for me. It's a lot. I am both incredibly happy and also having a mental breakdown like, every five minutes during this process. I can't wait to marry my man, and also will be so glad to not ever make a wedding planning decision again. And while I am excited to be in an area that is so much larger and has so much opportunity compared to my small hometown of Utica, NY, it's also incredibly intimidating. There are a lot of great photographers out here, and it's a lot more work networking when nobody knows you exist.
Recently I've found myself obsessing over other photographers work, comparing, measuring success, wondering if I'll ever be able to get images as breath taking or crisp or intimate as theirs, questioning if this is even what I should be doing. This is a terrible feeling, but honestly it's been good to step back and reevaluate once in a while. Through processing all of these questions, pouring over my work, and wondering "how can I be better", I'm reminded of why I fell in love with photography in the first place. I love it because it helps me connect with the humanity around me; it helps me connect with a story that is bigger than me. That's why I can't give up on it. In a lot of ways it is the thread that helps to keep me compassionate, helps to keep me hopeful. It forces me to put myself and my social anxiety aside and tune in to the song of mankind. It opens the door to hear someone's story that I might've never heard otherwise.
Stories help us connect to the world around us; they help us see one another in a truer light, and keep us from feeling alone. We all want to be known, and to be loved. We're all in this thing together. Although there are a lot of great photographer's out there, there are also a lot of stories to be told. It's truly an honor every time someone invites me in to their life to photograph part of their story. I tear up at pretty much every wedding I shoot. I get goosebumps seeing parents just completely enamored with a new life they've created. We live in a really, really beautiful world, and we can't take it for granted for a second. It moves too fast, life is too short. I'm just incredibly grateful to get to experience it with you.
"But we are meant to be real, and to see and recognize the real. We are all more than we know, and that wondrous reality, that wholeness, holiness, is there for all of us, not the qualified only.