ever have just… SO much to say that you don’t know where to begin? oof.
Maybe it’s the release of red [again], or the weather, or overworking myself this season, or SAD, but this week just feels heavy and like a ton of darkness. I have so much to say about the toxicity of photographers in the wedding industry [and the wedding industry in general], so much to say about the yo-yos of healing in eating disorder recovery, so much to say about overworking and trying to frantically grasp at straws to find time for myself [as many are] and how critically important that is, but I just don’t know where to start. All of it is so unrelated but related in the same breath.
I guess I’ll start this conversation with the one this blog is mostly about. Body image, self reflection. Being here now, appreciating our bodies NOW. Regardless what that means or how it’s defined.
- If you are someone who hates their photos being taken, or hell maybe you love it, but you do it and when you look at your images given back to you, you shutter. Listen to me when I say: Keep these images. There have been so many times [almost every year] I feel myself absolutely hating the body I am in – but a year later I see memories pop up online and look at them. Always, the first thing I think is, “damn, you looked so good, why did you hate that image,” or “why did you hate yourself???” I think we are all guilty of this. It’s incredibly smart to keep your images and review them at a later time when we can see through the fog of our own judgement ant be able to see ourselves as others see us. It’s so important. Even wedding images, engagement images, etc, keep these photos, look back at the ENTIRE THING [images you hated included] in the future, because when you relook at them, you WILL find images you love because you are looking at them at a later date. I promise you.
- The yo-yos of ED and recovery. Some days I feel healthy, some days I feel thin, some days I feel bloated. Now this goes along with recovery but it also goes along with hypothyroidism, as well as IBS. I just get new symptoms every day with both of these conditions. As of lately I have felt nothing but repulsive lately, both with my body image, hair growth on my body and face, weight gain, bloating, and just feel like I shouldn’t even try any more. I can’t tell you when I’ve actually felt ‘good looking,’ because it just doesn’t happen. Because of all of these uncontrollable factors it’s SO easy to get wrapped back up in the things I can control: food intake. I’ve had it in my plans to starve, to only have shakes for days, to do all of this controlling aspect but I realized they are all temporary solutions. The moment I stop limiting food, the same composition my body will return in a matter of days.
- OCD sucks. Honestly I am so at peace with my life. I know that I work too hard, too much, but honestly I love what fills my time. My eyes are tired of editing but also I get so giddy while even doing it or thinking about it. However, the hard parts of OCD come with the symptoms. The anxiety, depression and forgetfulness that cannot be cured in ways that meds can help people with those actual illnesses. You cant actually treat me for anxiety and depression because they are symptoms of OCD, so.. instead I get to fester in all three until my OCD calms down. I do want to dabble in some meds for OCD but I have to start when my workload isn’t so packed. Sometimes having this is superhuman. I can do SO much in a day, and I’m just terrified if I start medication it’ll slow that roll down when I can’t afford it. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t mind to slow down, I just can’t afford it at this very moment. However, the darkness I constantly feel at least 2 times a month is really a dark hole that is hard to crawl out of every single time. I know forgetfulness isn’t an illness [lol] but it does come along with all three of these monsters [ocd, anxiety and depression] and damn is it getting bad for me to remember small fucking things. Everyone makes fun of my calendars but without them, oh boy I don’t think anything would get done because I wouldn’t remember what had to be done.
- The wedding industry is toxic. More importantly, social media with the wedding industry is toxic. Maybe this is affecting me more than usual too, but damn, all this clout chasing is annoying as fuck. Photographers, charging 5k for a photography gallery [and gallery online only], making reels about not getting affirmation after they hit send to their clients, is just, so cringe. Here are some break downs to this – because I am NOT shaming anyone for charging any amounts or only doing online galleries but I do want to provoke some deeper critical thinking.
- If you send a gallery and don’t hear anything back, your clients could just be busy, or maybe you just did your job but it wasn’t anything like, mind blowing. Maybe your work covered the details and the shots but didn’t blow them away. Maybe you did a good job at your job.. but maybe it wasn’t above and beyond. Right now everyone is kinda doing the same posing with the same preset and maybe that gets the job done but maybe its just nothing astronomically different.
- I find that sending only online galleries is so… not personal? Idk, this is a personal preference but I feel like if someone is investing literally thousands of dollars in me, that I should give back to them and provide that service the absolute best I can. Again, this is JUST ME, but I think wedding costs are so high that I like doing something more than just this online service. This means bringing smoke bombs or confetti or things to their weddings, this means delivering USB drives with thousands of images rather than just an online download link, this means buying personal gifts [heyooo I love sending pure vida bracelets because it gives back and is also something personal to me], and I love to include printed images they didn’t know that were coming as well as polaroids i took on the day of their wedding [if I had time OR IF THEY EXPOSED CORRECTLY lol]. Idk these personal touches just show people I care and cherish their investment and trust in me. I write them thank you notes, I give them personalized boxes and drives. More than not, I get a thank you, but not about the images per say, but about these unexpected things in the mail that they didn’t know were coming. So I guess that’s how I have come to the conclusion that galleries are just not personal and you shouldn’t beg your clients to tell you how good you are.
- This brings me to my next point. Why are you in this field? I got into this field because I NEVER felt good enough for the camera, never felt like I belonged, never felt pretty, never felt seen. I wanted to make that space in my business for everyone. I want everyone to feel seen, beautiful, represented and empowered. If my work is good, it’ll speak for itself. Making cringe reels about needing affirmation and bashing on your clients for a few likes [lets be real its just by other photographers who are not paying your bills anyways], followers, and clout. It’s not cute, it looks bad, and honestly if you are running a business you don’t NEED their affirmation. Yes we get excited about their images, but hey, maybe if you just post a few sneaks of them, you’ll get that feedback immediately when it’s fresh in their mind and then when you send off the images they wont need to tell you they love them because they already did.
- Again a reminder people are busy and may not even think to respond.
- A reminder also, to post every one you photograph. I know some people don’t work in this way, but clients feel like they aren’t good enough if you post other people and not them, and also, it’s just fun to see a lil sneak of your session or wedding or event – it helps calm the nerves of people who hate being in front of the camera, and also gives them a taste of what TO expect when they do get their images.
Anyways all of these things are not linked but they probably are of why I have been feeling like I was placed in a dark box. Working too much, seeing my industry just… all promote the wrong things, dealing with ED and OCD and also trying to find self love within that, and oh my god can we talk about the re-release of RED and bringing back every emotion I felt at 21 [lol]. There are also many things I’m also really fixated on that are not positives [Rittenhouse trial]. I wont get into politics too much, but RED was a good distraction from that, but all of these things do add up for me… and not in a good way.
Sorry for all of the random venting. This is a blog – and it does fuel my art. Which, I will be launching my grief project and also a surprise project throughout the winter as well ❤ Very excited to share that when I get there.
Love you all, thank you for reading.
So much right now has become about this search for affirmation… especially online.
Yet the kind of affirmation offered is often illusory. It often has very little to do with the actual quality of the work.
I have just spent the past few days in the company of people who have been helping me through some changes, seeking out my company, offering kindness, generally doing their best to make me feel hugely valued… simply because they like me.
Some of them have seen very little, if any, of my work. They don’t really know who I am as a writer… or what it feels like when I am holding the mood of the room with something I am reading…
They just, for some reason, like me… even though I have not been trying to prove my worthiness to be liked – and their kindness has been shattering.
Seems to me, you instinctively have a handle on the value of this type of kindness, and a good feel for giving it to others (possibly more than you even realise). This makes you so much more than your work.
thank you so much ❤ these words are so kind and I love hearing about your life. I believe in genuine intentions over the affirmation and dang sometimes it's hard to not want that feedback too.
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