Sunday, July 30, 2017

Be True


Why do we find it so hard to be true to ourselves?

My daughter recently stumbled upon a podcast called Makers and Mystics and shared it with me. In Season 2, Episodes 10 & 11, the host of the podcast, Stephen Roach, interviews one of our family's favorite musical creatives, Josh Garrels. We have all of Josh's music and have been fortunate enough to see him in concert numerous times. In the interview Josh talks about how he has remained true to himself, his family and his calling, by choosing to remain independent, even though signing with a major record label would have made his, and his family's, life so much easier. 

I have been pondering Josh's words for the last month. 


I have not been very present in this space this month, but I have been busy. I am putting the finishing touches on my website, and hope to have that live very soon. The class I am taking to build it, offered by artist Ivy Newport's husband, Chris, has been invaluable in building my Squarespace website. But the place I have struggled in staying true to myself is when the course talks about adding on-line classes to my website, and setting up e-commerce. As we walk through the different lessons, I think:  yes, I should have these things. 

But...if I am honest with myself, I don't want these things. 

The truest me does not want to be sitting at my desk creating class content and recording videos. I don't want to have to manage orders and shipping of product. I want to be out in the meadow in my paisley rain boots, or wandering the shoreline in my red Taos shoes. I want to be out, not in. 


But it is easy to listen to the admirers, to the supportive family, who are my biggest cheerleaders and are saying, "You should be selling your work".

Last weekend, I was reading the latest issue of Lenswork magazine (No. 131, August 2017) and the article The Best Time Ever by Brooks Jensen had some very interesting points that fueled my pondering...
"...I have often thought it odd that so many photographers are seduced by the idea of selling their work. Why? To those of you who play golf, garden, fish, knit, cook, or play an instrument, are you equally driven to turn your enjoyable past time into an income-driven career? All of those hobbies are just as expensive as photography, but I don't find many who are as tempted as photographers to find some way to subsidize their hobby with a professional income stream."

But it is later in the article that Brooks' words echoed the feelings in my own heart...
"This does bring us to the knotty problem of why we do our photography. Seriously, why are you a photographer? We each have our answers and they are all correctly a matter of personal choice. I decided a long time ago that my purpose for doing all this work (and spending all this time and money) is two-fold: first, for strictly internal motivations of personal growth, and a means to explore the world; second, to share my creative vision and production with the world as much as I can. Notice there is nothing in either of those goals that would necessarily lead me into the world of commerce as my first choice -- or for that matter, my second, third, or fourth choice."

Amen.


Photography began for me as a way to find out who I was, not Glen's wife, not Mallory's mom, but Sarah. It has richly blessed me in the discoveries it has led to. It has allowed me the freedom to explore both close to home and farther abroad. It is the common interest shared among my creative friends, friends that I never would have met otherwise. It has brought my husband and I closer as we share, learn, laugh and gather stories together. It will probably never make me rich,  at least not monetarily, and I am completely okay with that. 

I need other people to create on-line classes, because I love taking them and learning. But I will continue to share my gifts and talents freely, through my pictures and words, and know that I am staying true to myself by doing that. 

21 comments:

  1. I love it that you are true to your passion. I know of one photographer that i used to read daily whose website just became too commercialized and lost that personal touch. I have enjoyed your pictures and stories so much. Thanks for keeping it real.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I needed so much to hear that Sarah, photography for me is all about me not all about the selling. Thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good for you Sarah . . .
    Staying true to self "zings" our creativity . . .
    For me, attaching money to my creative . . . has me feeling less me . . .
    Identifying where we want to be and do is action toward "our true."
    There is something quite sacred as we recognize our path . . .
    Treasure it . . .

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wanted to shout "YES!" as I read this, Sarah. I feel exactly the same way. I often hear that I should "do something" with my photography. But my photography is simply something I DO -- not do something with. I loved the analogy comparing photography to golf and other hobbies or pastimes. Photography has always been my pleasure, and I've never wanted it to become my job. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Boy, you nailed it. I hope a lot of people read this and get the message. I've toyed with the idea only because I have 'locals' asking for lessons. But all the time I'd give up in prep work is too priceless. As far as online, I don't want to be tied down, have to answer to anyone or push myself for more in that area. If I didn't work it might be different. But I've recently resigned myself to posting free video lessons of certain pieces. Because I really want to share my secrets. Now let's see if I ever get around to that. Right now I'm just missing the pure pleasure of going out and shooting. (I'll have to check you that music!)

    ReplyDelete
  6. You have so very eloquently put into words what I feel, Sarah. Although I have an Etsy shop, my selling something has little to do with the money and everything to do with the thrill of sending something I've done off into the world. (I use what I earn there to buy more art supplies!) Yet I get tempted from time to time with entreaties to teach or to do something specifically for the shop. That's when I stop and do work in my journals instead or do something just for myself. Since I started working when I was 16, it's hard to break the mindset of value of work equals financial remuneration. I know it doesn't and how that thought can tarnish the passion as well as the pleasure. I'm grateful every day I have the luxury of being retired now and that all that work I did over the last 50 plus years gives me the freedom I have now to say no to certain things and yes to myself. Thanks as always for sharing your beautiful work and your thought provoking writing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're speaking to my heart. I often feel torn between feeling that I should be giving back all that I have learned and the feeling of I don't want to do the hard work that involves setting up an online teaching. I give back in my own way, free of charge for now. Thank you for your thought provoking words and beautiful inspiring photos.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree with you, Sarah! I have no desire to sell my photography. It has always been just for me. Something that brings me joy and peace. Great words here!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. i so agree Sarah ... i was at my favorite knitting shop just today and the owners husband is encouraging me to sell my work. But i do not knit to make money ... i enjoy knitting for all the pleasures it brings me. I am so afraid that i will loose the charm of knitting if money is attached to it. So for now ... i knit for my own pleasure ... and that is something money can not buy.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I thought I wanted to major in music, but then what I loved became drudgery...so I kept voice/keyboard as an avocation. It is the same with my photography. When I depend on it for income, it no longer is self-care. Great piece!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very interesting to read your point of view here, Sarah. I too wish to remain true to myself and have never been interested in going commercial, or earning money through my photography. I do it because I love it and it's a recording of my journey, in every sense of the word.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My son, home for summer vaca from PSU noted I don't take my camera along on outings as much as I used to. He said, Now that it's a job Mom's camera stays home. He's right. I am rethinking this.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think once you start selling more than the occasional item it starts to become quite stressful too and I know that once I'm stressed my creativity freezes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sarah, your words ring so true with me. Well, I do have an Etsy shop and it always thrills me when I can send off something I made. But - I also see my limits and have said more than once "no" to a customer request because it didn't ring true with me. Other times I said "yes" because it was an interesting and very tempting challenge. Fortunately this shop is not my livelihood, so I have the luxury to say no...

    Remaining true to oneself is the only way to go in the end. At least I think so.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for putting these thoughts into words. You have echoed my own here and given me more to consider. The title of this post really says it all: be true (to yourself).

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a wonderful post, Sarah, and I know exactly what you mean. I've said it many times...I could never BE a photographer (professional, if there is any such thing anymore). What I do is for me, and for me only. If someone else likes it, that's great. If not, that's okay too. It is one of the few things that I do just for me, and I will do everything in my power to keep it that way. Good for you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Because we worry what people will think about is, photography is a way to express ourselves but the funny thing is through our photos we find likeminded people who feel just like we do. Good post :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Love this post... sometimes there's a line between staying true and venturing into something more complicated, and that single step takes us somewhere we don't want to be. Only time will tell if taking that step is the right thing, and only you can make that decision. For now, I'm happy to read your blog and admire your photographs, and be glad that you are just where you are.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Life's richest moments are not necessarily bankable - refueling yourself is priceless. I have had numerous people over the years ask me to do portraits of them (or their kid, or family) and have always graciously declined despite the temptation - it just wasn't why I got into doing photography. I have done numerous senior portraits for free and found each to be even more rewarding than the last.

    ReplyDelete
  20. My son, home for summer vaca from PSU noted I don't take my camera along on outings as much as I used to.


    thai porn

    ReplyDelete
  21. Lovely article. It's so true that society always puts a monetary value on everything,and that a 'hobby' is somehow inferior and not worth pursuing. This year, my husband and I have decided to downscale and focus our energy into the things that make us happy rather than money. We still work hard but because we're no longer marketing any of what we produce I know that many of our neighbours view us as being irresponsible and lazy. It's been hard to ignore those pressures, but we're learning to be true to ourselves and life has never been better! So go ahead and wear those paisley boots!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)