So I'm sitting in a workshop with about twenty other people and, yes, for those of you who know me, I talked too much, I did that irritating nervous laugh that most of you associate with me having done something wrong. What had I done wrong? I had dared to present myself as a photographer in a room full of photographers.
By the next day, the nervous laugh was gone, do you know why? I finally believed I belonged there, I didn't feel apologetic for taking up their time, I didn't feel like I wasn't worthy to sit in a room full of other photographers, who, in all likelihood, felt the same as I did. I didn't have my patented nervous laugh because I no longer felt like I shouldn't be there, like a fraud. Suddenly, listening to how everyone else struggled with things beyond F-stops and Off Camera Flash, but more importantly, how they struggled with income and confidence, I saw that we were all in the same boat and in the end, we were all for each other.
I was worried I was going to be ridiculed for my dream. My dream is to have my studio in a house with a pool. My dream is that I can capture my clients at their most vulnerable. In a place where they don't have as much control over their environment, a place where they can't control where their clothes will go, where their hair will end up, it flies all around them in a storm where they can't breathe. Everything is quiet and still, I can't tell them, "Eyes to camera", I can't give them my nervous laugh, it's just me and them and the camera and strobes...
and the water.
The water is where, when they look at me, it's them. The true person under it all. I see the courage, the strength, the willpower, the sheer beauty of everyone when they turn and look at this strange creature, holding what looks like some weird spider against her masked face, and they show me the true person they are. It's such a fleeting moment, since many of them can't stay under long, but for the time that they are under there, they're all in. They're with me, they've committed to showing me who they are.
I love underwater portrait photography. And by the end of my workshop, everyone in that room knew it. They said I lit up like a Christmas tree when I talked about it and I knew that not one of them was going to tell me that it couldn't be done. Not because they didn't believe in it, but because in the end... they believed in me.
Thank you, Dane Sanders and Fast Trackers... you made it worth the money we didn't have to attend.
And because a post isn't much fun without pictures: