HELLO. I've never done a blog before. I can only apologise in advance if this is terrible or devastatingly boring. Should you feel it necessary to give me some blog-writing tips afterwards, then please do be my guest. I welcome criticism... In the way that you might welcome humiliating yourself in public by falling on your face and having to laugh it off because you KNOW it was funny. And then you hobble off you do ugly crying.
Anyway, moving swiftly on. I am a photographer. I'm trying my best to get used to saying that, but it's a bit like after you've been single for ages and you have to relearn what it's like to say you have a boyfriend; it still feels a tiny bit like you're embellishing the truth in a flattering manner. Or to stop people asking why you're single. The reason calling myself a photographer feels a bit foreign on my lips is partly due to the fact that it's all fairly recent and I still work in an office during the week, and partly because photography is genuinely my dream job. I sort of can't believe that people consider me a professional in something that I love doing.
So, to keep this short, I won't go into too much detail about how I got here. It went like this:
- did a highly enjoyable but essentially useless degree in Fine Art (joannayates.co.uk in case you were interested in what happened with that)
- picked up a camera and found it pretty rad
- got a 'normal' job but took many photos all the time everywhere and made all my friends love and hate me in equal measure for capturing their best sides...and their worst
- 2 years ago, was asked to shoot a friend's wedding because they liked my photos
- was flattered and terrified but did it and LOVED it
And since then, I've done several weddings, christenings, portraits, family shoots... basically, whatever anyone was willing to hire me to get behind a camera lens for. It wasn't actually until I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Emma Case and Pete Smyth (www.emmacasephotography.com) at one of my best friend's weddings a year ago which led to me attending their workshop, Welcome Home, that I really decided that being a photographer was what I wanted, and needed, to do with my life. At the risk of sounding a bit wanky, it was actually quite an emotional experience, after not knowing if I was capable of career-related ambition for most of my life. I mean, there was that time in school where they made us use that vocational-counselling programme 'Kudos' prior to choosing our GCSEs... it suggested I should be working outdoors, but the brief dreams of becoming a adventure tour guide were short lived.
At Welcome Home, they told us to think about our 'why'. The first thing I thought, as cheesy as it sounds, was 'to capture joy'. I just don't know if I'll ever get enough of being able to take a moment of pure happiness and turn it into something everlasting. The artistic side of photography plays an important part with me as well; naturally, having come from a fine art background, I've always had so much appreciation for the beauty in a visual creation. For me, looking at a shot I've nailed is like finding a fiver in an old pair of jeans: you didn't expect it, but in that moment you are MADE. UP. Which is a bit like how I feel about becoming a photographer.
The joy part is important, though. And even better? When the smiles you've captured create more smiles.