I don't usually share anything personally, or even share any written posts, but this is something that I feel I need to begin to enforce and to share.
The last few months have been unhealthily busy for me, as a student now transitioning into year 12 trying to complete copious amounts of hard work that will only get harder, as an emerging photographer trying to manage clients and networking and a large load of photographs, a passionate addition to my church where I spend large amounts of my time, a part time waitress making necessary money to get me through the week and to save for a car, and a family member trying to help my family where necessary. A month or two ago, I seriously burnt myself out. I was sick for almost two weeks and even now, I still haven't properly recovered and I swore to myself I would never allow that to happen again. Not in this next year, not ever. And this is why this blog post is necessary.
Being 16 years old, means nothing to me. I do not feel 16, I don't have the usual responsibilities that 16 year old people have and I am definitely not enjoying the last few years of my childhood/adolescence in the way that I should be. In the last few months, I have been making so many wrong decisions and choosing the wrong paths, on my own accord, when I know better.
For this year, and possibly afterwards if things work in my favour, I am going to avoid working as a photographer, and taking on clients. I want to focus on fine art. On the off occasion, I will take on a one-off client here and there, however I will no longer sell myself or my photographs short because of my age. If people want me to work for them, they must be willing to pay MY price, not theirs. In the last years of photographing, I have done so many free jobs, because I've been terrified that my age requires me to do so. I'm not "professional" so I don't need to charge.. OR I am too nice to ask otherwise, and so I've put myself into dangerous situations far too many times, where I have undercharged or even worked for free, which has lead to stress sickness, anxiety attacks, sleepless nights, days off school and my HSC and myself are now my focus.
This isn't a post to rant or to put anyone down, more or less something to state where I stand. I feel quite often I've given in to people in hope that working for them for a low price, if at all, will benefit me and my portfolio, and if one day, I want to succeed as a photographer in business, I have to learn how to manage a business and I need to train myself to be disciplined and that sometimes kindness doesn't get you far. This industry is brutal, people are brutal, and if you don't stand your ground, people will walk all over you. Some situations, maybe the lesson isn't mine to learn; I need to stand my ground.
I've been offered a couple brilliant opportunities this year, which have fallen through, and though the main part of those haven't affected me too detrimentally, the last experience has taught me to start standing my ground. I have been working too hard for other people and have lost my sense of worth. I have felt used and abused and treated in all the nastiest of ways, for trying to do a kind thing for another being. It's okay to say no, it won't make me a bad person. It will make me a better person if I find the courage within myself to stand for what I am worth.
I've also realised that I've lost my love for taking pictures. Not photography though, and I need to go back to where I started, and create for me and for only me from now on. I quite often fall into a rut and post for the sake of the large following I have on social media, and then hate my work. It's time for things to change.
If I want to make it in photography, I need to start caring for myself more, rather than others. You need thick skin to succeed. So I'm taking a break from the business side of photography, closing up my commissioning blog, sending off the last of the cd's I owe my clients, and doing what I want to do, because that is the only way I'm going to get up onto my feet again.
I know that this next year of school will bearable through the love of my God who dealt this to me, because He knows I can get through it with Him. I don't want to juggle photography and school anymore, and I won't. I can do them both without any problems, because I'm doing it for me and for what I want. And hopefully, re-shifting my focus will show me other areas I love, and can make a career from. But for now, photography is going back to being my hobby. It's too important for me to lose.