This is going to get sappy. Sorry.
It started with this photo:
I'd been editing for hours, but I opened this one up and was suddenly swamped with recognition and peace.
I'd done this before.
Somewhere, in a dream only half remembered but startling in it's instant clarity, I had done this. I had sat at this computer, in this office and opened this photo.
And I started to cry.
I get deja vu a lot. I'll often be in the middle of a moment or conversation and have it settle upon me; this clear memory of the moment I'm living; a memory formed before the moment happened. I rarely remember dreaming when I wake, but months or years later, it comes pouring in.
I've been here. I've seen this. I've felt this. I've dreamt this.
Sometimes it comes as a movie I've seen before and I feel just a half step ahead of the moment, knowing what someone is about to say or do just as they do it. It's wierd, it's wild, and it's just a little fun. It usually feels right, like everything is falling into place according to some greater plan that I've only caught glimpses of before. The veil between the now and the eternal thins for a few seconds and I remember. It often comes with a quiet assurance that somewhere, somehow, I've made the right choice, the one that brought me to this; this laughing child, this day at the park, this conversation with a new friend...
...this photo on my screen.
But in this moment, this photo, there is more than deja vu. I recognize not just the photo, but the secret buried dream, the one only half whispered to myself and never anyone else for years. Somehow, in the space of months, I have gone from a lifetime love of photos--looking at them, taking them, having them speak to me--to having doors opened that I'd never dreamed of knocking on.
I'm usually the girl at the party with the camera. I'm the scrapbooker and the first to volunteer to look at all 8000 photos you took on vacation. I'm happy to tell anyone who will listen that I love photography; that I have dozens of blogs bookmarked and can lose hours surfing the net, looking at photos. Even on the blog, it feels wierd to post something without a photo to go with it.
But when I opened that photo, along came the deja vu. And in that moment of remembrance there was clarity.
I am a photographer.
It bubbled up from within and popped like a bubble, splashing me with it's droplets of joy and hope and excitement.
I am a photographer.
I have a lot to learn. I have a hard time making what I see in my heart's eye match what my camera captures. I delete waaaaaaaaaaaay more photos than I would ever dream of keeping. I press the wrong buttons, choose the wrong shutter speed, and continue to be defeated by indoor and low light settings. I often see blurs where there should have been sharpness.
And I love every single second.
I love trying to figure out what settings to use. I love when I capture what I see. I love when the camera shows me something I hadn't seen on my own. I love opening the photos on my screen; it's like Christmas every single time. What surprises await me? I love trying to show people the world the way I see it, and I love when others are able to show me their world too. I love that two people looking at the exact same thing will capture it in completely different ways, because we all see the world through our own filters. I love when it doesn't work, the puzzle work and the learning so I can do it better the next time. I love how right the camera feels in my hands. I love when I take someone's photo and THEY love it. As someone who almost never likes photos of myself, I feel that's the highest compliment.
I am a photographer. And it gives me joy.
I'd never owned it before. Never allowed myself that label, that identity, until that photo and that moment of clarity.
It's who I am, deep inside, the artist in me that was only waiting to be discovered. It's my thing. It's me.
Right on it's heels the thought; it could be what I do too. Thanks to Shandee, I've been on 3 photo shoots and have another scheduled for Saturday. Yesterday, having taken family photos of friends, I was asked if I was a photographer. Only hours from my deja vu moment, it felt new and strange to own it, but a warm glow flooded me as I said yes, yes I am--but I'm not a professional. Shandee immediately jumped in and started reminding me of the shoots i'd accompanied her on, and my other friend pressed; but is it something you're going to do?
What a question. Secret dreams and hidden ambitions.
Maybe, some day....I'd like to, I answered, shaking a bit with the realization. I'd really like to.
And if it never happens? If I never consider myself "good enough" to be a professional, to figure out how to get paid for doing what I love?
I'm still a photographer. It's not what I do, it's just who I am.
Since I've had this moment and am feeling the love, I just have to share my thanks.
Thanks to those of you who leave comments on photos telling me you love them.
Thanks to my in laws, who changed my entire being when they said those magic words "we'd like to help you buy a camera". It wasn't just a camera. I have no way of telling you all the things that did for me.
Thanks to Shandee, who takes me along, answers my hundreds of questions, encourages me and gives me hints, and is the friend I've been praying for for too long.
Thanks to Hubby, who gets it; who gets ME, usually before I do. Who watches the kids; lately almost every weekend, so I can go learn to be better at what I love. Who knows, maybe someday you won't cringe when I take YOUR picture? I love you.
This morning I tried to pay it forward a bit. I let the Princess, who is always more interested in what I'm doing with the camera than what I'm taking photos of, take our point and shoot with her on a field trip. She glowed with the knowledge that she was being trusted with this, and I recognized that light in her eye, the one that tells me she's already looking at the world differently, wondering what she can capture to bring back home to us. Even if her talents lie in other areas, she'll have the memories--and the photos.