How it all started?
Does anyone else often find themselves so worried about the future that they forget to look back on how far they've come? Self employment is a big one for cultivating uncertainty. It's a blessing being your own boss and I'd never change this experience for the world but there are often days when the endless to do lists are piling up and all you really want is to watch Netflix and wallow in some stupid self pity that running your own business is HARD. You can be grateful and still know that as the sole person responsible for everything... it's kind of a lot on your shoulders. So one thing I'm trying to encourage myself to do this year is to remember the journey and look back on how far I've come.
I was never one to believe in fate. The path of your life being set out a certain way seemed like a lovely idea but just too far fetched. Looking back on the way things went down now I often wonder if what happened was "meant to be". Maybe that's the romantic in me now but they (aka my mum) always said things would work out in the end and they did.
At 19 years old I was waitressing. I'd left school after A Levels and had a very brief and fraught time attending college with the intention of painting and drawing and generally avoiding going to Uni. So muggins here thought it would be a good idea to do an Arts Foundation Course. Cue me quitting that bad boy after 3 months and heading back to making coffee. I didn't like being a quitter and I felt like I'd failed myself. Uni just wasn't for me as I've always been a homey kind of girl and truthfully the only thing I wanted to do was make art on my own without rules or exams. College had said my drawings were too neat and of course something like art is so personal you immediately feel like any critique is a stab to the heart. I didn't want to share my work anymore and so I took a knock. Looking back leaving that course was the right choice.
The following August came around and we had hired a new waitress at the coffee shop I worked in. In walked in a girl I INSTANTLY liked. My now best friend (Hey Becca! LOVE YOU!) I think she'll agree we pretty much clicked straight away and that in itself is rare in this world. Now before I get mushy and say about how many ways she changed my life by not only being the best friend a girl could ask for when I really needed it... but also girl had a rock on her finger and was planning her wedding. And that's a pretty key part of my story. Although at the time I didn't know just what a difference she'd make to my life and still does just by being my bestie. Cue adorable collage of our youth...
It's hard to say when or why exactly I started taking photos and loving it but I've pretty much always been a sucker for documenting life. There's nothing more beautiful than taking a photo that captured the feeling of that moment. And the way that looking back on them could remind you of things you'd thought were gone and forgotten. I remember I had started collecting vintage polaroids for use in my artwork and these old photos fascinated me. A snippet of someones life right before my eyes as tangible thing.
My mum and dad got me my first DSLR camera in my late teens and I had spent a long time learning how to use it to photograph my art. This turned into photographing people and places and pretty much anything I could think of. I practiced on styled shoots with friends and I absolutely loved fashion photography. It wasn't until Becca came into my life that the thought of weddings peaked my interest. Two people madly in love making a public statement to be each others person forever - what could be more beautiful than that? Weddings are a complete leap of faith in love in an uncertain world. At this time I hadn't been in love myself yet (he showed up a bit later on out of the blue) but I knew that photographing someones day could be really special. That I wanted to do this and I would work my arse off at it.
Sometimes people walk into your life and they feel like they've been there forever and before you know it you are a better person. Becca gave me my very first opportunity to photograph a wedding, she took a chance on me when I needed it and now we are here today - a couple hundred weddings under my belt and a life that I'm oh so grateful for. Even on those epic to do list days. But more importantly I wouldn't be where I am without friendship and trust and her inspiring me to be brave and go for something I'd never done before. It opened a door for me that I didn't even know was there.
Of course getting to this point now, 6 years later there's been many ups and downs in running a business. Nothing is ever as perfect as it seems and sometimes life knocks you sideways and you can't get back up right away. But this year I'm trying to remind myself. You can do hard things. You can be brave. You can make something from nothing and you can change your life's direction. I'm where I am today because I met her. You must never forget that anything is possible.
" You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go."
Dr Seuss, Oh The Places You'll Go