Photography, the studio, what happens next?

Hello my lovely readers,

Many of you have been following me since I started my blog back in 2013 and thank you. You have seen the highs and lows and the obstacles I’ve faced throughout the years. You have seen me fall in love, get my heart broken, and pick myself back up again, thank you.

Many of you leave comments of encouragement and have helped me in my darkest hours, thank you. You are all so supportive, words cannot describe the gratitude I have for you readers and my blog.

Back in 2014 when I was in Florence, Italy I discovered my love for photography. When I got home and started using my DSLR I was hooked. I took pictures of everything and I just wanted to learn and explore. Having that camera signified my life changing experiences in Italy and the possibility of all the new adventures I would go on whether they be international or in my own backyard. I learned different editing techniques in Lightroom and really started to flourish.

Fast forward to April 2015 when I got my art studio. What a monumental experience it was when I got the keys to my own little space of creativity. I was excited, nervous, and wasn’t sure what to expect what having an art studio would be like. I worked part time so I knew I would have the time but, shortly after getting my studio about three weeks later, I started working full time. The drive to my work is about an hour each way and I usually don’t get home till the evening, this made it harder for me to get to the studio as it is about thirty minutes away from where I live.

Not only was I not going during the week but not on the weekends either. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t motivated to go whatsoever even with having weekends off. When putting together my studio I started really digging into the business side of photography such as pricing and services and I started to feel overwhelmed.

So, I stopped going, still paying a bit of money every month for a place that I never went to. A place that was supposed to be a creative outlook for me but yet gave me anxiety. I couldn’t understand until literally yesterday at my therapy session why this was so. What it boiled down to was this: I thought it was expected of me to have this flourishing photography business, a successful business model where the money would be pouring in from my art. That I was supposed to be this artist who promoted my artwork and soon I found that I didn’t enjoy taking pictures or painting anymore. I felt like I had to fit in with the community of artists where my studio is (there are five floors of art studios with so many artists, it is quite inspiring!). I didn’t/don’t want this for myself. I did my time in retail and sales, and I hated it. I hate trying to sell sell sell when in reality, I just want to be passionate about my art, enjoy it, and have it help me heal.  I put this negative stigma on the studio because I felt that all of these outrageous things were expected from me when in reality they weren’t. It was my anxiety putting this doubt in my head, the fear of failure or disappointment. I also realized that there are no standards when it comes to art and that I can’t compare my art or talent to someone else’s because that would be outrageous.

So, I am going to make my studio a positive and healing place. A place that I can create beautiful art and enjoy my surroundings. No more anxiety, no more expectations, and no more business. Yes, that is right, I deleted my photography website, changed my FB page to “just for fun” rather than “professional services” because photography is a love and passion of mine and I don’t want that to change and I know that the minute it becomes a business, the enjoyment of it will disappear and put me back to where I was. I still have every intention of sharing my photos on my photography page on FB and what not, but I’m just not promoting a business because that doesn’t make me happy. The photography business world is not what makes me happy, and I need to do what has to be done to make myself happy and comfortable.

I feel really good about all of this, thank you all again for always supporting me.

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Dad says I could make it big.

One evening about two weeks ago my Dad and I had a nice long evening chat about my photography and art. My parents have always been supportive of my forever changing hobbies but photography and painting are here to stay and they can see that. As were sitting face to face and babbling about some of my pictures he looks at me and says, “You know, you take great pictures. If you applied yourself you could work for National Geographic or TIME magazine. With your communications degree you could do photo journalism because you have a talent for writing too.” It felt great to hear that from my Dad. I’m always so hard on myself when it comes to my art work because I am a perfectionist, always striving for more. I never really thought about pursuing a career solely in photography or photo journalism because I don’t see it being a reality. I would love to make a significant amount of money doing what I love and being able to travel the world but, is it realistic? Could it actually happen? I don’t know. I’m sure if I applied myself and put my work out there I could get some well paying gigs but I’m not sure if it is something I could make a living on. I know I don’t give myself enough credit and that I usually settle for the easy way out because I’ve never been a competitor. My anxiety likes to tell me I’m not good enough and that others will outshine my work, and although that could be true, I’ll never know unless I try.

I don’t know. The idea of what the future will or wont bring is scary. It is scary to not know where my life will be in ten years. I don’t want to be miserable or look back on my life and regret not reaching for the stars, but in the same breath I am always standing in my own way. I do that because I am guarded and do not want myself to get hurt or disappointed. I know that I can take great photos and have an artistic flare but what can I make of it? I have so many plans such as my novel and creating an Etsy account to sell my paintings but my ADD likes to screw with my plans, motivation, and I tend to fall off track and become unorganized and therefore depressed. I really want to start dedicating time to writing, painting, and promoting my business but I can only do so much while I work and go to school. However, those who are proactive and stay motivated are the ones who succeed and find happiness in their victories so to speak in my opinion.

In 2015 I want to start giving myself more credit and being more positive when reviewing my work. I can’t keep bashing my ideas and dreams or fall short with a project because I don’t take the time to go the extra mile. Sitting around watching Netflix never really got anyone far, even though it is my favorite pastime, If I am to make a name for myself I need to be more proactive. 2015 will be my best year I can feel it. I know that if I make these changes to be more organized and set these goals to achieve then I will be the happiest I’ve ever been. I am happy now of course, and have been making great strides in my life in regards to my physical health and mentality, but I need to do more. Next semester is my last one at NECC and I’ll be taking a math class (ugh) and will be super busy but I can’t forget about the things in life that make me happy. I am so thankful that I have this drive burning inside me, I want to push past my anxiety and put myself out there and whether or not I make it to be big or what have you, I’ll be grateful that I made the positive strides.

I’ve been getting so much support lately too from my family, friends, and Shamus as well. Each and every one of them encourages me to try new things and put my name and talents out for the world to see. I can’t describe to you the feeling I have when I reflect on that, knowing that I have all of these wonderful people in my corner is such an incredible feeling. I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for me.

Happiness

I’m happy, not fake happy, but really happy. I’ve taken on a lot the last few months such as my job, going to school full time, and trying to balance it all has been tough but I am thankful. Sure, Monday-Friday I am spending half my day driving, in class, or at work, but at the end of the day I am thankful. I know that there are many people out there who do not have a job, can’t afford to go to school, or have no one to support them and I remind myself everyday how lucky I am to have all of those things. The people in my life are incredible, my family for instance are always so supportive, last night I was working on a painting for my class and I was in the middle of mentally beating myself up about the fact that my cup looked more like a cylinder or candle, when my Dad came in and said, “Wow, would you look at that!” it warmed my heart to know that my Dad was proud of me. After he left I continued my painting, having my door open I heard my mom shutting the lights off downstairs, tidying up whatever mess I or my brother left in the kitchen, and was heading up the stairs when she popped her head in too, shocked she said, “You didn’t paint this! This is beautiful Jessica Margaret!”, in that moment, knowing that both of my parents were so proud of this painting that I was really beating myself up about made me realize that I do have talent. Sure, there are plenty of other artists in my class, or in this world that have much more experience and skill than I do but that is it, I am still learning, and gaining that experience, “You can’t judge your beginning by somebody else’s middle” and that saying speaks volumes to me as I tend to write off my paintings as inadequate, when in reality they are, they are more than adequate because everyone does things differently whether it is painting, photography, writing, or what have you, no two people and their skills are exactly the same.

I think my anxiety greatly contributes to the fact that I belittle my achievements and talents, and almost tell myself that I’m not worthy of being gifted. Through some self searching though, I’ve realized that I am in fact worthy, that I am talented and can offer a lot to this world whether it is through my artistic flare, communication skills, or something that I have yet to discover about myself, but all in all, I am proud to say that I am Jessica Palmer, that I have two incredible parents, a loving brother, amazing friends, and great co workers, what else could I ask for? This world has given me so many things to be grateful for and I vow to myself and to the followers of my blog that I am going to remind myself everyday just how beautiful life is and that through my ups and downs I will continue to remind myself that what I have to offer is great, and that I am worth it.