Brace yourself. We’re about to get very real over here…
Here’s the thing: we’ve come along way in the last five years. You’re bound to after that long.
From yellow photos we thought were beautiful to how-the-heck-did-we-ever-not-white-balance photos. From nasty, contrasty, harsh black and whites with no detail to perfectly even shades of grey. From images that, let’s face it, make you cringe to those that make you feel… happy and peaceful.
I’ll admit it: I’ve been a little discouraged lately. Or at a low. It seems as though there’s always something better out there. Someone better. Some better way. And you… you are amazing. Blog comments pour in with accolades. Emails from viewers and photographers. Facebook messages. People pouring their hearts out to me. Daily I am blessed by such beautiful comments and virtual pats on the back. Yet…
Yet, this whole time I’ve felt insufficient. An impostor.
So the other night, I did something that I wasn’t terribly excited to do in fear of getting even more discouraged. In fear that everything might look. the. same. That it might be uninspiring. That I might wish I was someone else. A better photographer. A better writer. A better me.
The other night, I went through nearly every blog post from 2011 and many from 2010. And you know what? After hours of perusing hundreds of images and Pinning my favorite images, I realized something. Pleasantly surprised and greatly relieved, I realized something.
It was like I saw our work for the first time.
At the risk of sounding completely inflated… I was impressed. Our work wasn’t as dry as I made it up in my mind to be. Nothing looked the same. The lighting wasn’t as terrible as I always thought it was. The truth is…
…we have captured a lot. A LOT. From tattooed brides to birds of paradise to junk yards and white sandy beaches. Nearly every type of personality you can imagine from infants to the elderly of elderly have crossed our lenses.
Sure, the compositions and posing might be slightly similar from this post to that one, but the thing is… no post contains the exact same you. Every person, every s o u l is completely different. When I look at those images I see stories. I see heartache. I see trails overcome. I see your love. I see our friendship.
And it’s YOU who makes it whole again.
It’s YOU who makes this crazy dream of ours worthwhile.
It was like I saw our work for the first time.
I am proud of our work. I am proud of how far Jesie and I have come. I am proud of that silly 1 bedroom apartment that I used to work out of. I am proud of every moment I’ve kicked the dirt and sighed, “How’d they do that?” I’m proud of every time I’ve struggled to get through a shoot… when I’ve fretted about one thing or another…. lighting, colors, chemistry. I’m proud of those times I’ve failed. When I’ve thought, “They’re going to hate these.” Every time I’ve tossed the camera in Jesie’s lap and asked, “Is there anything good in there?”
I think I finally understand what Henri Cartier-Bresson meant and felt when he said your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
And I also have found new understanding in looking at the big picture….. and not letting the 1% ruin the 99%.
So, if you’re just starting out at anything… photography, writing, knitting, college, just remember: it takes a little time. But the good news is, nothing stays the same for long. And never underestimate the power of a break. Of time away. To recharge and reflect and come back and see your work for the first time.
Press on, friends.
March 6th, 2012 at 2:11 pm
Thanks for the inspiration, friend! I’m starting a new job in a couple weeks and tend to look back on my career with distaste. Truth is, it’s been a period of learning and growing. And beautiful things have come from it. Keep on keepin’ on!
March 6th, 2012 at 3:02 pm
Can I just say, “Amen”? I know where you’ve been–I’ve been there too. As an artist it’s so easy to see the flaws in each photograph, and not see the journey from shot #1 to shot #10,001. Thank God for the people take chances on us when we are unprofessional or just getting started, which, by the way, you are neither. Press on indeed! You have a gift.
March 6th, 2012 at 7:38 pm
I haven’t checked up on your blog in a while… I picked a good day to read it. :)
March 6th, 2012 at 9:56 pm
You never stop amazing me René :) I never get through a single blog post of yours without shedding happy tears. And that, is why you are on my vision board.. for reasons only you know ;) but if you’re ever in Denver and would like to meet up for lunch/dinner/coffee, you know, before all that, I would absolutely love to!! Keep rockin’ it, your passion inspires so many.
March 7th, 2012 at 1:54 am
Are you secretly a journalist? You’ve got a way with words, Miss. Tate. Sheesh! I’m proud to know you and call you my friend. Preach on, girl! We love those words of wisdom.
March 8th, 2012 at 2:57 pm
Love this Rene, you really are amazing, believe it!
March 12th, 2012 at 5:41 pm
Rene you have ALWAYS been talented!! From the get-go, your passion and motivation has come out in your work. Your style has developed with every passing shoot and I’ve always been so in awe of the work that you put out. And having been so enthusiastic about photography, I’ve always been a wee bit jealous ;-) You always have such a beautiful way of capturing people, the raw essence and beauty of people and I admire that!! So much. But you’re constant strides to better your work are what makes you such an awesome photographer, friend, and confidant!! Jesie, same for you love! I don’t know you as well but your work is beautiful and follows right behind Rene :-) You both capture so much life and vitality through the lens. Keep it up!! God has SUCH big plans for you both, together as a team and separately as individuals!! Keep that passion and that fire :-)
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