Friday, 27 September 2013

A reflection.

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.


  1. I admire you so much for writing all of this out, Kiara. You're going to make it big one day and I believe God has such an incredible future waiting for you. Your words will motivate and inspire many out there who have been experiencing similar situations, myself being one of them. Standing one's ground and not allowing age to get in the way of finances is so important. You are such a blessing to us all!

  2. Hi Kiara,
    I understand your thoughts. It is very hard to find a good balance between the passion for art and photography, the financial needs and the stress to get degrees and a stable job. However, you are very talented and very young, so you will be able to get back into "business" as soon as you want it. I've also somehow lost the pleasure to take photos but I have also a every-day job. This is why I do not worry too much. My advice for you would be to focus on school, to enjoy taking photo when you FEEL it and not NEED it. Good luck...Take care! Alex.

  3. hey kiara, i felt the exact same way in the past few months, and i've finally had to courage to reject all my existing clients (even though they're paying me what i'm asking for) and start doing personal work again - i miss that. the point is, i think it's important to go and rediscover yourself when you feel burnt out, and it's healthy to do so as an artist. so i completely support you and your actions, and i want to say that you're so brave for speaking up about it! i hope you find that creative energy back and come back even stronger. meanwhile, take care and i hope you recover from your sickness soon. God bless you xx

  4. Hey girl! You're not alone. Most of my clients go to my church, and man, they wear me out sometimes. I used to think in pictures, but for the past few months, school and volunteering with my church has kept my mind occupied. It sounds like you've got quite a full plate. I've recently learned the art of saying no, and it's a glorious skill to have! You seem like a strong girl, so keep your head up. When I get worn out, I turn to the writing of David. He reminds me that God is there, even when He feels far away. And he wants nothing more than to receive my soul and give me peace of heart.

    "Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy."

    Whenever you find it again, I'm excited to see the work you come up with. You're in my prayers.

  5. Kiara my dear, I tip my hat off to you for having the courage to write and share this. You should always feel comfortable with whatever you do! It is unfortunate that you have been through situations where you have "sold your work short" or done shoots for free because you deserve so much better than that! I look forward to you progressing even more now that you are changing your flow of priorities (personally and as an artist). Love you <3