I took what I would consider my first real photograph at the age of 29. Upon reflection I honestly do not know why it took me that long to jump into photography. I bought a DSLR camera on a whim a day before I boarded a plane to Egypt. Fast forward two and a half years and I’ve added well over 20,000 photos to my resume along with visits to 12 different countries and countless other sights in the United States.
I found photography during a point in my life when I was not at my best. I was struggling. And to be honest my path has been a bumpy one since. This is why I sometimes have difficulty defining what photography means to me. As much as I love the art, it is also representative of pain. I often tell people that when my photography is at its best, I am at my worst. However, there is something very powerful about being able to use negative emotions to produce something beautiful. I love the idea of channeling darkness to produce light. The process is healing. And when I look at my photos I see and feel all of those things.
Photography has become a passion of mine. I believe a true passion is something you will make space for in your life whether you have the time or if it ever brings you any sort of recognition. Following a passion is not always easy and not always fun. But it is satisfying. And it is addicting. A passion is something that works its way into your soul and you know without a doubt you have to follow it. When I think about photography I know I would still photograph every day even if I was the only person to ever lay eyes upon my work. Because I love the process. And I love being able to tell a story with a single image. Or capture a feeling on film. I love chasing sunrises all over the world. And I love standing on top of a mountain surveying a scene that takes my breath away. Oftentimes I do not have the words to describe what I see, but a photo speaks all the details.
Travel photography is where my hearts pull me. The more I travel the more I realize just how incredible our world is and I want to capture it all. This is also a space I find challenging. Not everyone understands my why. Over time I have realized that it is okay to have your passions questioned. The important thing is to not let those voices impact how you want to live. For me travel has taught me more about myself than anything else. It has revealed a strength in me I did not know was there. It has taught me compassion and understanding. When you travel to a new place, meet people from different cultures, experience life in a different setting, you realize that so much of life is the same no matter where you live. It helps to stretch and open your mind to different perspectives and possibilities. Travel has also given me a great appreciation for home. It is easy to take home for granted when you are caught in everyday life. But I find that being away and out of your comfort zone reminds you that there will always be something special about home.
Following a passion is rarely a perfect storm. The timing will most certainly always be off. And there will be people along the path who will not understand and maybe even discourage. But at the end of the day, life is short. Time is limited. If we wait for the perfect moment it will never come. One of my favorite sayings is, “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” I have always identified with these words because I think it is easy to get wrapped up in taking care of everyone else first and thinking about you second. When in reality tending to yourself has to be a priority. You cannot truly help another if you cannot first invest in you. Finding those things and moments that help to fill your own cup are important. Following and investing in a passion is not selfish. These are things that give you energy and help you feel whole. Photography gives me energy. Traveling the world fills my cup. And my hope is that my art can impact at least one other person. That maybe a photo can help to shift a perspective. Or motivate someone to get outside and go on an adventure whether that is in our own backyard or halfway around the world. Life is meant to be lived, so chase the things that make you feel alive.