The last few weeks, I've been trying to think about everything in my photographic journey that has happened and the more I rethink these things, the more I realise that I am an extremely lucky girl.
Whilst many of you do not know how I initially started photography, those who do, understand why I am so passionate about it. Photography came into my life at a time where I needed someone, or something to help me through, and at the mere age of 11, I fell in love with the moments you could capture with a click of a button.
This isn't a blog post about how I got into photography or how much I love it, more or less a post about how photography has brought many amazing opportunities my way, and how on nights like tonight, I can't help but be filled with gratitude and happiness that I am blessed enough to have experienced these things.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am only 16 years old. That not everything is going to happen straight away (when I want something, I'm the kind of person who will just go out and get it) and sometimes I have to wait. That's the only disadvantage of being such a young part of this industry. However, when I look at all the things I've achieved in my short life, compared to others my age, compared to others double my age in the industry, I need to realise that I am wanting more and more and not appreciating what has already happened and what is still happening in my life.
I completed a 365-day project, I reached 1 million + views on my flickr, I signed up to a stock agency, I met some amazing photographers that I've looked up to since the beginning of my photographic journey, as well as some friends I made online (few that are now some of my closest friends in the world), I've been apart of collaborations with photographers internationally, I've been recognised and contacted by world famous photographers, had publishings on book covers/albums, shot for forcast with thanks to my wonderful aunty, met some really talented models and got contacted by many more, and more importantly, found my place in the world.
Reminiscing the past weeks, meeting 30 different photographers, some who I've looked up to, some who have looked up to me, has truly been a surreal experience and I still don't believe it happened. Being around people who have the same passion as you do, showing them your tricks and letting them teach you theirs creates a bond that cannot adequately be explained. Each and every person I have met through my photographic journey has proven to connect with me in ways no one else can.
I am so grateful that in every town in the world, there are people there whom I love and who care for me as an artist and as a person, and that I will have a home to stay wherever I go. People who have taught me many of the things that I know now, who have taught me to rise from the rejections and use it as fuel to keep pushing through, who have taught me that you are beautiful in your own skin and that there is perfection in every flaw of your being. I am overwhelmed with the community of people I have been brought into.
The most rewarding part of being a photographer, is when I receive lovely messages on tough days, from young photographers all over the world, telling me that they look up to me and that I am the reason they picked up a camera and started taking photographs. Young photographers who question how I have been so successful at such a young age, and how I have gotten through the trouble of parents wanting you to focus on school, or schoolmates putting you down because you're different. And day after day, I will try and answer as many people as possible with the same response: "If you do what you love, the rest will follow". I know how it feels to look up to someone wholeheartedly and to have them acknowledge your existence and your photographs, so I try to bring that same joy to other artists who look up to me. Little do they realise, that they are my biggest motivation to keep pushing through.
Despite the pressure of it all, and the times where I doubt how far I've come, and I want to give it all up, I've learnt to focus on creating for myself and that nothing good comes easy. While I may not think I'm improving or growing at the time, I look back months ahead and realise that my growth was rapid and that I was too consumed in the pressure of it all to realise. It takes a lot of time to remind yourself over and over why you're doing what you're doing, and ultimately you will always come back to the same answer. Because you love it. And whilst I am still young and have so many other things I want to achieve, I have to remind myself that I have a head start on everyone, and that I have the rest of my life to chase my dream, and I thank God everyday for the gift he has given me and I hope with this, I can inspire you all to pick up a camera and take photographs, because if you invite something new into your life, something you enjoy and something you want to trial, you have to be ready for how it changes you. If it's the right kind of thing, it's just going to make you better. If not, it'll be a lesson learnt and it will lead you in another direction.
To anyone who has come into my life through photography, through flickr, through networking via model scouting or facebook photographers, to those random and lovely strangers who message me constantly reminding me that I can make my dreams come true, and to those who also remind me that I am leading an example for many other young photographers, my thanks to you are infinite, because you have all changed my life for the better. I have a direction in my life that I am beyond excited to follow and I am immensely grateful to see what other amazing things my future has to hold.
Have a lovely week, God bless.