July 7, 2013
If you ask Aaron, I'm always ALWAYS dreaming up an adventure. Whether it's grand and far away or local and right at home, my mind is always racing with new ideas and new things to see. Of course for our one year anniversary, I had my mind set on the Big Apple. A big plus, we have friends that live in the city. Free lodging? Check!
(I try not to go overboard with photos while on vacation. I wanted to enjoy the fun without being distracted by my giant camera. So here are a few photos from my iPhone and some Instax.)
These are the things I want my photos to reflect. My mom says, "Oh you're such a deep thinker Caitlin!". It's seriously true. If ever I have downtime or if you find me day dreaming, you better believe my thoughts are going crazy. They are probably winding down a trail of all sorts of chaos. And on good days, I like to believe its a good thing. It's a good thing to dream, to be brave, to risk. On bad days, those thoughts pretty much consist of anxiety and worry. Sad but true.
But on a particular day like today, a gloomy Friday, I find these thoughts to be refreshing. I recently went FULL TIME with photography. This summer I'm blessed to be busy with weddings and I'm grateful for it. It's what I thought I always wanted and always strived for. And I find myself thinking more and more about this business of wedding photography. What do I want to be about? I've come to the conclusion that I want to care less about the frill and glamour of weddings and be more about the people, the love, and the hope that weddings bring.
Sometimes I think about the parts of this job I love; to go and find the most beautiful places, and to photograph people in love, in the most beautiful light. Sounds like a dream. But even in my few years of experience, that idea can easily become clouded.
I recently came across this amazing photographer named, Galaxie Andrews. She photographs people in a way that is so different from the rest. No frills, props, makeup artists etc. One of her taglines on her websites is, "its not how you smile, its why you smile". This was so meaningful and made me go into a day dream on this Friday afternoon.
Growing up in Europe for eight years, I got used to travel...all the time. New places and faces were the norm and something I got used to. Now that I've lived in Colorado Springs for seven years, I've gotten the itch to travel. I often find myself day dreaming of what countries I'd like to visit and how much money I'd need to save to get there.
While going through those inspiring quotes that push one to travel, I recently came across this: "Discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes." And while my dreams of travel aren't going to go away. I need to remember to find beauty and newness where I'm at, everyday.
Early last year, a friend of mine started a project. Not a one day project or even a one week project. It was a project that took him about a year. He didn't share his progress with anyone. Not over instagram, facebook, or even a blog. He didn't document it with pictures or get feedback from anyone. He just allowed himself to be inspired in quiet, without the satisfaction or the constant approval of others. And when he finished, it didn't really go anywhere. Or become anything. It was his.
That little story has inspired me. What do I do thats just for me? Not fueled by any other motivation rather than from quiet inspiration. Not so it can be shared, or applauded. Maybe this year, take the time to be dedicated to a project, create something, go somewhere new...not so it can be shown to the world. But so it can be just for you.
See what happens!
I have no fantastic story of being attached to my camera at age three or helping my grandfather is his basement darkroom. I simply fell into photography in my journey of figuring out where I fit in. Such as life right? Well, I'd always been creative, never interested in studying or having a status or career. I just wanted to create and make things out of nothing, and make money...somehow. After two colleges, four majors, and a whole lot of money, I finally found my niche. I went to the Art Institute of Colorado and commuted to Denver from Colorado Springs for three years (getting to attend for free because of the good ole military helped in the decision :). After falling in love with Denver, hating Denver, loving photography, and absolutely hating all things photographing, I finally graduated. I got my Bachelors Degree, happy mama? :)
I guess what I'm writing about today is the pesky trend that has followed me throughout life: where do I fit in? What is my "thing"? How do I set myself apart? I spent years trying to figure this out. I constantely followed photography blogs, tried ideas I'd seen done, attempted and failed, and dun dun dun....tried to be something I'm not.
I'll be the first one to say that I don't have it all together. But I've learned a few vital things over this past year, and I just felt like sharing them.
Be Yourself. I've had the constant struggle of comparing myself to others. Why didn't I think of that? Why does my branding not look as professional as this persons? How can I be a part of this trendy, cool photography world? Granted, I still struggle with these thoughts. However, somewhere throughout this year, I subconsciously decided to just BE MYSELF. What a concept eh? Well, its tougher than you think. And is a daily process. On the flip side, a huge part of art is being inspired by others, by natural light, by the beauty of the world around us. That is always a part of it, but not THE part of it. When the life inside of you, finally translates into pictures, thats when it gets good...real good. I am just hitting the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding my niche, but it has been the best thing I've ever done, and so very freeing.
Don't Keep Secrets. Be open to sharing with others. I love love love photographers that are an open book: when they share their business tactics, editing tools, styles, equipments specifics, and whatever else they've figured out over the years. No one is too above it all to give advice. With what little I know, I'll be the first to share it. I mean, that is a huge part of art right? No one is going to copy you, and if they do, take it as a compliment. But also remember, no one does anything the exact same way. Thats the ENTIRE reason why I love photography and art. We are all gifted with different eyes and minds. No two people could create the exact same thing. That is incredible to me! That tells me that there is no reason to keep secrets. Because those "secrets" can only ignite others in a positive, inspiring way.
Don't Take Things Too Seriously. Too often throughout my creative process, I've done exactly that. As any artist, I struggle with self doubt. I've had so many nights where I've wanted to throw in the towel. With any art, you put your heart and soul into it. It sounds super cheesy, but my photos are a part of me. And when someone says they're not good enough, I see it as ME they're talking. Sad but so very true. Throughout this year I've learned to not take things too seriously. Okay, I take that back; I'm LEARNING to not take things too seriously. I'm also learning that not everyone has to like my style, and that's got to be okay with me. If this year has taught me one thing, it is the BEST thing in the world to have clients that appreciate you for your style and don't want to change a thing. And to always be kind. Always.
Don't Sell Yourself Short. I do that. I've done that. I still do that. But a change comes when you decide that a dream can become a reality, rather than just a dream.
Photos by Luke & Hanna Atencio
We are 1 month away from becoming husband and wife! Here are a few from the proposal. It was simple and so very perfect.
I can't wait to officially be yours forever, Aaron Henderson! I love you so much.
For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won't walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won't fall apart.
The God who has compassion on you says so.
I came here with a load
And it feels so much lighter
Now I met you
And honey you should know
That I could never go on without you
Honey you are the sea
Sometimes I wonder if life could possibly get any better.