On almost a daily basis I question my art. Am I crazy to pursue photography? Am I fooling myself that what I'm creating is even good, let alone great? It so hard not to compare myself to others and the doubt creeps in.
Then it happens...a tap on my shoulder as I'm leaving church, "I love seeing your photos." "You capture the beauty of nature." A co-worker's husband stops me at a work party, "I love your photos." "I look forward to seeing what you post." "They make me smile."
"They make me smile"...that one brought tears to my eyes as I remember the dark days when I didn't smile.
In the summer of 2009, I had just started doing photography as an artistic pursuit instead of just a means to fill scrapbook pages. My father died in September of that year after a long fight with kidney failure and cancer. I thought I'd grieved. I thought I'd "dealt" with it. Then my mother died 5 months later. Coming home after the funeral, I was at a loss. I didn't want to do anything. I couldn't see the path forward, but my wonderful husband did.
One cold February day, he coaxed me out of the house with my camera and we went to the nature center at Blacklick Woods Metro park. I started shooting...and I've never stopped since. I cherish those photos. They're not good photos. I've learned so much since that day. I look at those photos when I need to smile and remind myself to keep making photos.
It might be a stretch to say that photography saved my life, but I feel it played an immense role. I have met so many people since for whom photography has helped them overcome the loss of a loved one. I've come to believe that photography was a gift saved up by God for me for just the right time in my life. The time he knew I would need it the most. So if my photos can make one person smile, can make one person's day just a little bit brighter it is but a debt repaid.
So I'm sure I'll keep questioning and keep doubting...
...but I will keep making more photos....and hopefully more smiles :-).