An Artist

I have always seen artists are people who are naturally creative. Artists are born with a talent that just comes effortlessly to them. Producing amazing work is just what they do, and they do it so easily. Most of the photographers I know have always known they were meant to be a photographer. Most of the designers I know have loved design since they were young and the designs just come pouring out of them. These artists ooze creativity and ideas, inspiration, new concepts and are always pushing the boundaries of their talents. To be honest, some of them are so “artsy” and passionate about their craft, that I have a hard time relating to them.

Even thought I am a photographer, I’ve never seen myself as an “artist.” I’ve always just identified myself as a “normal” person who just so happens to be good at taking pictures. I have never aligned with the idea of being an artist. I sort of stumbled upon this job, I didn’t spend my childhood thinking about photography.  I have to work very very very hard at producing good work for my clients, it doesn’t come effortlessly to me. Creativity and the work I produce definitely don’t feel like some intrinsic “gift” I’ve always had and loved. Because I have always rejected the idea of being an artist, I have really really struggled with finding peace in my job because I felt I was doing something that didn’t come naturally to me. 
To be honest, this internal incongruence had me questioning if I even wanted to continue doing my job. After last year’s wedding season, I was absolutely exhausted. I didn’t pick up my camera for weeks. I had zero desire to take pictures of anything (even my cute kitties!). I was actually contemplating making 2011 my last season in business because I felt absolutely NO connection with photography. I honestly wanted nothing to do with it.
Then a few weeks ago, I went for a drive and sat by a river for a long time, journaling and praying about my business and thinking about what I wanted to do. Do I want to still be a professional photographer? Do I want to do something else? Do I even like this anymore? Why do I feel so disconnected with my job? God, why am I struggling with this? 

That day on the river I realized something, rather God hit me over the head with an idea….. I really am an artist.  Not just a girl who is good at taking pictures. I’m an artist. And artists go through different seasons. Seasons of inspiration and incredible work. Seasons of creativity. Seasons of struggle and seasons of absolute drought.
For someone who has spent the last 3 years of her life as a professional photographer, without taking on the identity of an artist, this was a pretty big revelation for me. I was living incongruently. I was feeling the emotions and struggles that all artists feel, yet I was not identifying as an artist. I was just a girl with a bunch of twisted up emotions and thoughts about her job.
I am so thankful that God has lead me to this revelation. I’m slowly easing back into photography(just in time considering my wedding season starts soon!) and discovering what this new identity means. It’s definitely a process. Even though I still don’t think my gift in photography something that totally comes naturally to me, I do believe God has called me to this new identity, and for now, I’m happy to call myself an artist. =) 

The table by the river that I sat at
I can’t explain why, but this is the first picture I’ve been truly proud to take in over 7 months. I’m hoping that it’s the beginning of a really fruitful and creative season for me!

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4 thoughts on “An Artist

  1. This one left me pondering for a while. The more I think about it, the more I believe that an artist does have to work at what they do. But it is their love and passion for their art that makes the work worthwhile. Even God rested after creating His beautiful world-perhaps the greatest work of art.

    I hope that your winter off has energized you and that your wedding season will be inspired, fulfilling, and fruitful. I think we can be our toughest critics sometimes-I see your work as very creative and it truly stands out in my mind when I see other photographers' work. Keep up the good work!

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  2. Kendra-That's a GREAT point about how even God rested after His creation. I never even though about that when I was writing this! I think I fall into the trap of comparing myself to the other artists I know. They all seem to create things so effortlessly. I guess I'm learning that artists can really vary in terms of how they create their art. Some work hard, some do it effortlessly. It's been a really interesting journey for me to think about all of this!

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  3. Just stumbled here from the nest, HI!
    I really struggled with the same thing in art school. I have a very different brain from most people I consider “artists” and it wasn't until my peers started telling me that I truly was an artist that I believed it.

    It took me a very long time to accept my artistic license and now that I have I am in a much better place. I love what I do and while I hit the exact same roadblock last year after the season was over, I also decided that I do have something to give and I should share it with others.

    If my art teachers did one thing right in college it was telling me that everyone is an artist no matter how technical or loosey goosey you are. It takes talent to see what others don't.

    You, my dear, have talent, your photographs are beautiful and your hard work shows in them!!! Don't let a word or definition hold you back!

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