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1.26.2012

I'm Just Me

I'm going to spill my guts a little bit here... and I hope it's okay with all of you. I want you to know who I am, because when I take your picture, I want to know who YOU are... the deep down you. So, this is only fair, right?

I recently read an article from another photographer, Jodie Otte, where she talked about trends and fads in photography, and how she actually keeps her head buried in the sand when it comes to other photographers. It struck a chord with me.

 Sure, I've been inspired along my photography path by so many photographers, and I would definitely say that without the help and inspiration of many photographers, I wouldn't be where I am today. But on the whole, I have been blissfully oblivious about what goes on around me as far as photographers go. I find that, for me, the more I immerse myself in checking out what "the competition" is doing, the less I am me... the less authentic I feel my voice, my eye, and my work, is.

I find that, instead of getting inspired, and wanting to try new things, and be better... I get discouraged, and I feel like if I do anything, I am merely copying. But then... I get worried. I start to see what other photographers are doing, and I wonder if what I am is enough... if I'm doing enough sessions, being creative enough, doing enough of what my clients might want... if I'm charging enough, giving enough, spending enough time, spending too much time, growing enough...

 And social media... ugh. In my little bubble of my own little reality, I don't give a flying hoot how many "likes" my page has on facebook, although I appreciate every one, because I know each like is from someone who comes to my page and "likes" what I do, and that gives me warm fuzzies. But then, I worry... that other photographers have more likes, and that people will think that I'm not worth as much, because I'm not as liked. Sure, there are ways to "up" my like count really fast, and I've thought about it... but when it comes down to it, I can't... because it doesn't feel like "me". The warm fuzzies would be gone. It would then just be a number that meant nothing to me.

I love love love teaching. I love it. Teaching photography seemed like a natural next step to me, and I started teaching classes and mentoring a year ago. I've had a lot of people react with surprise... why would I want to create competition for myself? Why would I want to teach others what I do, so they could potentially take business from me? Why would I want to teach them my "secrets", because then... what would set me apart?  It's simple for me... it's because I love photography, therefore, I want to share it with others. I would talk to anybody about photography endlessly, if they wanted to hear it. I try not to talk about it to family members, or close friends much, because I'm pretty sure they want me to never mention it again. ;) And I don't think anyone will ever become "me"... it would be impossible, because they don't see the world the way I see it. Every person I teach will take what I teach them and make their own art, and share their own vision.

I find that I am happiest when I am encouraging others, rather than competing with others. I went for a very long time without knowing much about the "competition" around me, and I still feel like I'm pretty oblivious... so if someone I teach becomes competition, I probably won't even know it. ;) I'm just happy to see people find something they love in life, and happy that I can do something I love and get paid for it. What's better than that? :)

I hope this doesn't come across all wrong. I've just come to realize that I'm a little bit different than the average artist. I guess what I'm saying, is that I hope I'm enough. I hope that what I see through my lens is enough... enough to keep clients coming to me, and telling their friends about me, and coming back again and again... because I just can't do the big social media scene "right", and I can't always do what everyone thinks I should be doing with my business (anything I do that ends up being "good for business" is purely an accident... I really stink at it ;), and I can't take pictures that aren't my style, just to follow the adorable trends of the moment. I just can't. I have to be me, or else I lose everything that I love about photography...

 And if that ever happens... if I ever lose that love and passion... I'm done.

Here's to staying true to myself. I hope you stay with me along the journey. :)

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11 comments:

  1. I respect that. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm sticking around to see where your journey takes you.

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  2. What powerful words! Love, love, love these thoughts...and its what I love about you.

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  3. 100% agree with you. YOu are an INCREDIBLE photographer...and I LOVE your philosophy.

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  4. Mindy- Your photography is amazing! You are a great example to me. And I really mean that, not just trying to give you warm fuzzies ;) Honestly, I was thinking about you yesterday. People like you because you are positive. People feel better about themselves, life, etc. by being around you. You radiate positive energy and it shows in your work.

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  5. Mindy, you are beautiful writer! Is there anything you can't do? Seriously! I loved this, I love you, you inspire me!

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  6. I think that (referring to the whole blog post) is what makes you stand out so much in the photography world. There is a reason we come to you every year for family pictures. I love your authenticity and the emotions that you capture.

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  7. You are amazing! I don't even know you that well and yet I just love ya! Every once in a while you stumble across a person who is just pure genuine. You are one of those people. Thank you so much for being willing to share your passion and talent. You are such an inspiration!

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  8. I agree with Kristi!,

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  9. I love you for you! I think it is wonderful that you share your knowledge, it just shows how much you really love what you do. People must really love you because your clientele grows each year, so you must be doing something right. And I don't mind if you talk photography to me, I love seeing how much you love what you do and your passion for it:) Thanks for being you Mindy! Wouldn't want you any other way.

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  10. just being you is a beautiful thing.;D
    love those pictures of v and her family...they capture them exactly as they were that day and that
    is why you are a great photographer. you are real and talented and it comes through that lens and
    creates amazing things!!

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