Taking a Seat

I have one tattoo. It’s small. I’m not sure I’ll get another. 

I think commercial photography is less of an artform and more of a problem solving exercise. What I bring to the table are my sensibilities, and yes, my creativity, but not my art. 

I was raised by a long line of conservative working class people. For certain, no doctrine is without its flaws, but I don’t reject my upbringing in kind. 

I didn’t study photography in school. I’ve never been formally trained. Just blessed by the Gods of online forums then YouTube and a few key people who have helped me along the way. 

I never took to chain smoking.

I didn’t play in a rock band.

I never bled for my art. I’ve had corporate jobs, and I played that game somewhat contently. If it was this or starve, I’d eat. Desk jobs have their perks, you know. 

I don’t know anything about fashion and tend to look like the suburban Ann Taylor Loft mom that I am rather than the thrift shop eclectic goddess I wish I could be. 

I never took a year off to live in a bus and blog about my misadventures. 

I do not feel that the world owes me anything. It’s not my right to get to do this, but a privilege I audibly express thanks for daily. 

I don’t ascribe to black and white thinking. The world and the people in it are incredibly nuanced and complicated. Categorizing, labeling, it’s all a really slippery slope. 

I do not shoot Canon. I never have the latest and greatest technology. I know very little about cameras themselves. 

I love music but rarely possess any knowledge of what’s new. The soundtrack of my days switches from Libertarian talk radio to complete beautiful silence. There’s often not much in between, and my Spotify library is an utter embarrassment.

I do not have the life narrative arc of a prodigal son or a woman scorned. My life is not a revenge story. 

And for all these reasons and more, I’ve never really fit in here. Here, being in this world of photographers. I lack grit. Street smarts. I’m not rough enough around the edges. There’s so much about light and lenses and composition that I’m still learning. I’m crazy in my own right, but I’ve always been pretty normal, boring, and most at home on the ground. Unlike most of my colleagues, I’d arguably be more comfortable in a corporate conference room than at a dive bar full of creatives. 

For the past fifteen years, I’ve convinced myself that I am where I am by some assortment of luck and hard work, but that assuredly I do not belong. I masquerade around the world with a constant fear that I’ll be found out and kicked out of this imaginary cool kids club. How embarrassing will that day be!

But over the last year or so, something has slowly shifted inside of me. It’s been 15 years. Sure, I’m a much better photographer than I was back in the days of vintage sepia filters and drunkenly abrupt angles, but I’m still me, and I’m still here. And while it doesn’t mean everything, there’s something to be said for surviving in an industry known for swallowing people whole, soul and all. 

I’m actually not just surviving. I’m thriving. I’ve worked with an impressive roster of clients, been published in multiple national publications, and been commissioned for projects I could have only dreamed of years ago. 

A few months ago, I decided to stay. Believe me when I say that between my omnipresent imposter syndrome and my ever-complicating personal life, the temptation to leap into a lightning-fast Irish Goodbye has been at an all-time high. Nevertheless, I decided to stay. Not to make another pass at fighting my way into the party, but to smoothly and confidently saddle up to my seat at the table. Where I belong. Where I’ve always belonged. 

With that, I felt it was time to rebrand. Through meetings with various consultants and past clients I learned that the strongest images in my portfolio were the ones I had my hands on the most. The pieces of me that come out in the work are also the pieces that keep you coming back. So it was time to create a brand that embodied the spirit of my work–and me. 

So I’m excited to introduce you to my new home on the internet, complete with all new work including images that were captured just a week ago. This is not me trying to be what I think you want or what is the most marketable or what is trendy, it’s just me. I hope you like it, but I’ll be okay if you don’t. 

And let this all be a reminder to you, you belong too. There’s no judge and jury who get to decide where you get to take up space in the world, it’s yours for the taking. You do the work, you keep learning, you keep showing up, and somewhere along the way, that magical seat presents itself as if coming through a parting of the clouds. You sit down and look around, and realize you’ve been here all along, you just forgot that the first rule of anything is acceptance, and what you’ve needed to accept all along, was you.