I have been a photographer for about seven or eight years now; professionally, just over five years. I honestly don't know when and how my passion for photography formed. After my family and I moved from England to Colorado, my father decided to buy a whole lot of camera gear. All that I can remember is always wanting to take photographs and videos with this camera everywhere I went. From there it evolved into a love for portrait photography and photojournalism. In high school, I was on the yearbook staff and in many of the art clubs. Junior year I had started my own small photography business by photographing families, senior portraits, and weddings. By my senior year, I had skipped over three photography course levels and was submitted to the college level AP-2D Studio Art course that was offered. I was head photography editor of Castle View High School's award-winning yearbook as well as the President of our photography club. Looking back at that now, that's all pretty bad-ass and I had an incredible photography teacher who taught me everything I knew and supported me the entire four years. Photography had taken over my life and I was perfectly okay with it.
Once I got to college, the immense amount of confidence that was built up throughout high school had completely dissipated. That is a hard thing to lose so quickly. Now, I was studying photography at the University of Colorado Denver and was taking a couple intro photography courses but I had stopped freelancing and ultimately stopped shooting things I cared about. I started to compare the mediocre work I was creating to other photographers that were clearly ahead of me. I genuinely resented myself, I was very unhappy with where my photography career was headed and I really wanted to give up and search for something else. I was overwhelmed and confused. As I am writing this, I am starting to realize that this is actually something very few people knew about. Because I was painted as "one of the best photographers people knew,” this made me subconsciously big-headed. I felt as if I needed to exceed expectations, and because I knew that wasn't happening and I wasn't getting any better, my confidence was shattered. I knew I needed to do something about this, but it took a while for me to actually put my mind to it.
About a year and a half passed and I made the decision to drop everything and move to Chicago, attend the school Columbia College Chicago, and just completely start over. I needed the new environment, I needed different people and artists in my life and I needed another chance. With the advice from my good friend and fellow photographer, Sean Hagwell, I rid most of the work and ended up with only four of my best images in my portfolio. I told myself that I was only going to do work that I wanted to create and start re-branding myself as the photographer I wanted to be. This was an incredibly hard thing for me to do with still having zero confidence in myself and disliking almost every photo I took.
Lack of confidence has been a huge factor in my work and business for the past three years, and it has taken its toll. But, during this past month, I overcame, and I am finally at a place where I am confident in myself and the work I do. Confident enough to share my thoughts, share what I know, and share what I learn. I have always loved inspiring people and supporting people and it's something I hope to always do. I have realized that I am good at what I do and that I need to just take that and continue to learn and grow and become the best I can be. I am no longer shy when shooting, I always have an idea of what I want and I am not afraid to share that idea. I have embraced my passion.
So where am I going from here? As of now, I am at a point where I am deciding what I truly want to focus on with photography. I do so many different photography styles but have found a reawakened love for portraiture. I have also found a new love editing and retouching as well as fashion and commercial photography. I work a lot and I absolutely love it. I am excited to see where this photography journey will take me. I am hoping that through my photography and this blog I inspire other photographers of all levels. I want this to become an outlet for me to share what I do and how I do it, as well as sharing anything else photography related going on in my life. I hope these posts can spark conversation and inspire.