Last night I shot my first show in about three weeks and I suddenly felt so much better. I've been feeling off this past month and I can't find a reason to explain it but it's not been good. I've come to realize that there are very few things that make me happier than working events and music photography.
That being said, I've been feeling very down on my work and struggling to find inspiration - even after coming home last night although I felt better, I still wasn't too impressed with my photos. I've been second guessing and doubting myself which has ultimately taken a hit to my mental health. And it's all starting to make sense now.
Growing up, I was told that everyone had a gift - that everyone was good at something. I struggled to find my something. I looked around to see my talented friends doing wonderful things while I sat there questioning what was wrong with me. I tried acting and did fall in love with it, but after too many conferences and being told that I was too old, too fat, too tall, or just not ready, I cracked under the pressure and gave up. I already hated who I was and could not stand to be picked apart by people who didn't even know me.
I then started to feel safe behind the camera. No eyes were on me and I could capture what I saw. I began using it as a way to express myself and show people how I was feeling. Mixing it with my love for music, photography was my gateway into an industry I once thought was impossible for me. I fell in love with the energy at shows and running around trying to capture that perfect moment. My goal was to always make people feel something with my work - I wanted them to feel the emotion of that artist or the energy in that room.
Soon people began to pay attention. Photography made me feel noticed and appreciated which was good for mental health but also quite dangerous. I became reliant on it to feel good about myself.
Lately I've been seeing a lot of incredible work from fellow photographers, but instead of it inspiring me as it usually does, it's been putting a lot of pressure on me to do better. I feel like I've been focusing too much on if I'm good enough and what people think. I've been seeing likes and compliments as a way to validate or determine my worth. It's time to take a step back and realize I'm more than just my photography and that there's plenty more reasons to love who I am. I'm in no way quitting photography, I still plan on shooting and working to get better as there are always ways to improve. I just might be a little distant on here as I focus on creating work for myself - creating because it's fun and what I love to do, not because I feel pressure to be constantly putting out content. I will no longer be comparing myself to others or trying to "compete" to be the best. It's time to get back to why I started shooting in the first place.
I cannot even begin to thank those who have encouraged and supported me over these past few years. It's crazy to think how far I've come since picking up a camera at 18. You've helped me grow as a person and realize my potential. I'm in a bit of a rut right now but I know I will dig myself out as I've come way too far to fall back into old habits. You will hear from me soon.
- Kelsey Giesbrecht