Another Year, Another Shot :: Minneapolis Area Photographer

‘A life lived for art is never a life wasted.’  The Heist.  It’s what I’m listening to right. at. this. moment.  It seemed like a fitting way to start this blog.  This time of year always makes me stop, and reflect a bit–I’m not one for the whole New Years Resolution thing, nor does the changing of the year do much for me, in general, but–I do stop and think a bit.  I had so many photography goals this past year.  I had huge plans to really, REALLY, dig into this business–I wanted to take Minneapolis by storm in the world of Lifestyle and Story Telling Photography.  I began my marketing, I had strategy, I have a business plan made up, I targeted new clients, I lined up some of the most inspiring mentors in this business that I could imagine and I looked at, and read everything I could find to help me–I slept, and woke on it.  It was my all day, every day thoughts.  I KNEW that was my path; it was the only path my mind could see.  It was like raising something from a baby–something that was deep inside me that was being fueled by solid, and true, passion.

I told my dad about all of these plans, and about ALL that I was working on, just weeks before he had his stroke in April.

Life suddenly went from me pushing all of my momentum toward new growth, what I can offer local families with my talents and passion, how I can market and grow my business, and how I can support my family while doing all of this–to how can I make it to a hospital that’s 30 miles away, twice a day, while caring for two children?  How can I get to Physical Therapy, at another hospital, (that’s again 30 miles away), every day?  How can I make appointments, learn PT techniques and be an advocate everyday?  A month later it became, how can I temporarily move back home (again 30 miles away from my new home, from the kid’s school, from the baby’s crib and toys and routine), and how can I make all of this work with my husband’s schedule, and on our already tight budget?  And then, how can I visit everyday and make, and get to, doctor’s appointments, and daily therapy appointments down at the hospital in the city.  How can I get my daughter ready for middle school and how can I get my baby to just be freakin’ happy in the car, instead of screaming ALL of the time?  And, then…now, how can I make sure my dad has rides wherever he needs to go.  But…you know what?  It all worked.  It all worked enough.   There were fights, and arguments, and stress…but, that was minor.  In the end, it worked.  And, looking back…I wouldn’t change a thing.  (Except the stroke.  That really sucked for my dad.)

It was about September though…after an entire summer of all that I mentioned above, and SO MUCH MORE, that I broke.  I realized that I wasn’t going anywhere with my business.  With my huge dreams of being more.  Of being an equal to my husband and being successful at something that I had control over.  I didn’t have the time I knew I needed.  I hadn’t been able to devote time to it like I had planned–though I tried.  Every second I could–I tried.  I don’t know WHY I had it so locked in my head that THAT was my one, true, path and that was my ONLY time to do it, but I did–and it just about destroyed me.  I felt like everything I had wanted to do, so badly, and have ready to go by Fall 2014, was just dead.  Like if you spend ALL of your time going for a promotion only to watch it go to someone else because they had more time to devote to kissing ass, or something–and then you find yourself right where you were–with no end to that in sight.  It killed me.  My business plan, my marketing, my future…it just was gone somewhere and I had NO idea how to make it real again.  (I should say, I HAVE no idea how to make it real again.)   It was in September that I also broke my favorite lens, and my tripod too–as if I needed the nails in my coffin, those things were it–especially since with all else failing clearly, I didn’t have the income to recover those losses.

Anyway…fast forward through a Fall of part depression, part self-pity, part pissed off, part sheer determination and you have me now.  You have mel at the new year thinking that maybe this year–more than any other year–I should look to restart.  It was due to all of the above mentioned things that I decided to play it safe and focus on working for others.  I shot for, and was given the amazing contract–making me the official Photographer for Discover Anoka.  Everyday I work for them it’s like a really fun, scavenger hunt.  I’ve been pushed outside my comfort zone (hello, dreaded street shooting) and coaxed back into email chains, meetings and making contacts.  (All of which are good things for me–as they’ve helped reconnect me to reality.)  And, all of that has made me feel marketable and successful–things that I thought I lost with the realization that I wasn’t where I wanted to be this past fall.  When you pair Discover Anoka with my work for the flower and candy shop, plus portrait work for my favorite, regular, clients–you have a semi-full-time, and pretty happy, mel.

And, ya know…I’m not a big ‘ol believer in fate, or the whole, meant to be/God’s master plan stuff–BUT…what if things had taken off for me, and my dad’s stroke would have happened a year later?  Where would I have been when my family needed help?  I wouldn’t have been there like I was, and am able to be.  AND…what if my path IS working for others?  I’m LOVING this whole working for the small town thing–BUT, I feel like I have such huge potential to go bigger with my growing resume and portfolio.  Maybe my path is working for others–and this was just the beginning?   I love that this all of this opened up my versatility.  I went from feeling like a portrait photographer in an over saturated photography world, to a commercial photographer in a world that’s willing to pay a girl for following her passion–until it puts some food on the table.

I live in this male-dominated field that doesn’t stop, or even slow down, when a daughter needs to care for a dad, or a mom for a child–but, I do have talent that can hold its own to any male’s out there–and I gotta remember that I am still relevant, and still sought after, even when I can’t see that, first-hand.

2015, along with a psychological, reset switch–holds some new direction.  The thing is though…I don’t think I want to try to figure out that new direction.  This past year was so heart-breaking for me–I am scared to repeat that.  I do know that I’m over social media.  I have given up so much time to that beast.  And, my motivation to do more, and be more, has become this hyperactive path of desperately trying to keep up with everyone else and what they’re doing.  If they can do it, so can I–or, so that’s what my crazy competitive spirit keeps trying to convince me of.  I’m so, f*cking, sick of self-promotion.  I’m sick, to death, of everyone shoving fake family photos down my throat, and cutesy little logos, another mom with a camera, crappy stock photography and landscapes that don’t look like that without uber-equipment, free time, a travel expense and Photoshop. 2015, a path has to find me.  Just like it used to.  Before I cared what anyone thought–and before anyone cared what I thought.

Anyway.  This is two glasses of wine, and some music, and some quiet time kind of writing.  This is the random that happens in my brain.

(This was written on December 18th.  I just didn’t want to post it.  Like I was whining.  Or, complaining.  Or something.  AND, it’s definitely not trimmed up nicely like my business blogs usually are.  After the turn of the year, I don’t know.  When I re-read it…it just seemed to be fitting.  I am done with 2014.  This was the piece of work I needed to solidify that with.)

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