I am 45 and for all intensive purposes, a late bloomer. Some may say very late. And while we are on the subject, the actual bloom that is taking place is debatable and subjective but lets just go with it shall we?
I have always loved photography. I inherited a love for the medium from my father. He was never without his camera and as a result, I have a very documented childhood. Which is such an amazing gift, unless you consider the years between my 13th and my 17th birthdays…
Photography is a medium that is more representative of the passing of time than any other. I struggle, like many other people to stay in the moment and be present. Except when I have my camera. There is no other option with photography because you are capturing the here and the now, frame by frame and second by second.
So I decided to finally get serious, buy the professional camera, take the courses and learn the art of photography. And it has been hard. Because as many of you can relate to, learning a new skill and putting yourself out there is challenging and terrifying and stressful as, well you know. I have always known the type of images that I wanted to create but actually creating them, is not easy. Maybe it will be one day but it certainly isn’t yet.
This weekend, I participated in a local art show. Not just any art show, but a highly regarded art show that is notoriously difficult to be accepted in to. My friends encouraged me to “just apply” which felt, given the reputation of the art show, to be a comfortable long shot. Until I was accepted. The next few months tumbled by with emotions that swung between feeling validated and also terrified. Mostly terrified. Terrified of what? That other F word, FAILURE. At 45, I have stayed in my lane, so to speak since becoming a Mum. I stayed home with my kids, took photos that people loved and complemented and was happy. Until they went to school and I wanted more. I wanted something that was all mine. Not a new concept for a lot of parents but it was for me. I knew exactly what I wanted to do but it required putting myself out there to be questioned, judged, and of course rejected. So I worked like crazy shooting, editing, creating a website and a branding concept and so many more mundane yet necessary pieces of the ‘staring a business’ puzzle.
On Wednesday evening, I loaded my husband’s Chevrolet Suburban with all of my art. My husband was out of town on a business trip so my children insisted on helping which I was both grateful for and terrified that they would drop a piece and break it and I would have to play “understanding Mum” which would have been damn hard given all the stress I was under.
As I arrived at the school where the show was being held, it started to rain really hard with the odd lightning strike thrown in for good measure. I grabbed one of my large pieces, wrapped in an assortment of beach towels and headed for the entrance a short distance away. I was wet, hunched over and shuffling like a ninety five year old. It wasn’t pretty. And then I looked around at all of the other artists arriving and the contrasts were staggering. While my arrival method could be kindly described as ‘unorthodox’, others were pulling up in Mercedes Sprinter vans with their logo painted on the side, assistants were ready with all types of contraptions ready to transport, easily I might add, their WRAPPED art…not another beach towel or blanket in sight. Now I was uttering the other F word.
Anyone remember that classic Sesame Street game with the four squares and the catchy “one of these things is not like the other, can you tell me which one?” jingle? I was not like the others and I knew it. But I had to continue. And then I located my booth. And this is what I found.
It was a comical error and was all sorted before the show began the next morning. I drove home that night, after hanging all of my work that I had painstakingly chosen over the last few months, surprisingly emotional. My work was now out there and so was I. But I was really emotional because my Mum and Dad are not alive to ring. Whether it to be to celebrate or commiserate with, I couldn’t call them. And so as I drove home alone, my husband not home until tomorrow and my children already asleep, I felt the deep sadness with wanting to call your Mum and not being able to. I have to believe that they would both be proud of me, in working hard and starting a business and still taking care of my family. But I will forever miss hearing their voice on the other end of that phone, especially my Mum’s.
It was a wonderful weekend. I met some incredible artists including my new friend for life Susan Kinsella-go check out her stunning art here www.susankinsellaart.com. And people were incredibly kind about my photography. My very first show was a success but for so many reasons that have nothing to do with sales. I took a step out of the shadows and I survived.
A special thanks to my dear friend Ashley who helped me throughout the weekend. Everyone deserves to have a friend like her in their lives. I am glad I do. And to my dear son Tate who agreed to have his 11th birthday fully celebrated next weekend.
Happy 11th Tate!