“So… what are you going to do?”
I have a love/hate with that question above. If it is asked in any way that makes me think about my future and how it’s all going to work out, it causes great anxiety. Parents, quit asking your children this… especially right after high school.
When I finished high school I took a year off. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I didn’t want to go to college for the sake of going to college, and ultimately end up with debt. I love that my 18-year-old self enjoyed my summer after high school so much, that I told myself I wanted to experience sleeping in… a lot. I had a job waitressing at a restaurant in San Marcos, and my shifts were either lunch or dinner, but the guarantee every day was that I could sleep in until 10, sometimes, 11 am. It was heaven. I am so happy I took advantage of that. You know, from elementary through high school, you have to wake up at 7am, then what? Go to college and do the same? Then what? Get a career job and do the same? “I’ll pass.” – That seemed to be the thought process in that one, at least at the time.
Did I have ambition? Eventually. Prior to falling in love with photography I fell in love with writing. Screen writing was on top of my list of things/wants. I enjoyed going to acting classes in Burbank and witnessing my characters come to life. When I got in to photography, I fell more in love with the stories and history of the couple and how they came to this great place in their lives – the engagement. Oh it was so beautiful. I would sit with them for meetings and instead of the 30 minute meeting it would go to a couple hours. I’d get lost in their stories and I felt that now it was my job to tell their story not just through images but with words. Yay! Writing was back in my life, I mean, it never left, but I found another way to include it in my every day.. keep me sane.
Back in 2009 I started a photo blog to pair with my wedding and engagement photography. I ended up posting weekly some personal parts of my life. Stories about my kids.. anything! Some times it had nothing to do with photography, so a couple of years ago my sister Rebecca and I started this blog, just to be able to put more personal tid-bits up and not worry that it would affect my photo blog or possibly turn off potential clients.
In the last few years, I cannot tell you how many emails and requests I have had from past clients to remove posts on my photo blog. They all start the same: “Hey Talia, how are you…hope you’re well… this and that happened… we love your work and we love what you had to say about us as a couple.. or we love what you had to say about our family… yada yada yada … can you please remove the post you did because ___ has a new job or __ and I are going through a divorce or blank, blank blank….” and the list goes on. That’s just more or less, the jist* of what these emails are about. With all of that said, do I care about the privacy of others? Of course. Am I bummed that I have to delete an entire post that took me hours to put together? Umm.. not really, I guess that’s all said and done. Did they all sign contract allowing me to post these images? Yeah.. but is it worth having someone angry at you over a blog from 2010? Not really. What point am I getting to?
I became so incredibly turned off by something that was a huge part of my life. I am slowly becoming the photographer I couldn’t stand. I always wondered.. how can photographers be so boring? Title a blog: “Jim and Sarah” and then post dozens of photos and that be it? How can you not even attempt to share a little more of their story and allow your viewer to fall in love with the couple? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter at this point. It’s the direction I have to go when it comes to that blog. Now it’s mixed. I have over a dozen weddings from last year that I haven’t posted, because I am thinking, “what is the point?” Especially if years will go by and I will get another similar email. I guess I am just venting, and I am more upset with anything that has to do with time being wasted. Hours away from my kids… I dunno. Perhaps now I am just making it more personal than it should be.
Then on another note, I have a few clients from last year who are messaging me saying “we cannot wait until you post up our story on your blog!” I hate to break it to them, but unfortunately it’s going to look like “Jim and Sarah”.. or worse. I have shot several weddings and engagement sessions that I am not even allowed to post up, because the clients are very private and don’t want to be searched for online.
I don’t want you to interpret this the wrong way. Everyone is entitled to their privacy, and I will continue to shoot sessions and weddings with respect to that. It just stings a little when I can’t share something so beautiful, but I’ll get over it. Ultimately it is my client’s wishes that have to be respected – which is why the bulk of my posts lately have been.. well, personal, and not work related.
How do I continue to do what I love without being turned off?
I enjoy writing, so I can do that through The Sister Files. I enjoy photography, so I can continue that and just treat it like a JOB, which is what it is at the end of the day. I’ve had my hand in several baskets lately. All with the same goal in mind: falling back in love with something. I won’t give up on photography, I just have to alter things a little. Okay, so I can’t post up stories or names and I have to be as vague as possible when posting client blogs, so what? Right? So what do people wanna see? What would people want to know? How much of my own life am I willing to share?
There are too many people who give up once they fall out of love. Whether it’s with a person or a project.. a job. As if the job or person owes YOU more. As if it owes you anything. I could stay in this funk, or I could brush it off, realize that it’s in fact taken care of me and it was through my neglect, my placing it on the back burner, that caused all of this “grief” and irritation. I went through several points in the past year where I said aloud, “no more, I have to find something else.” My father reminded me to take a step back and look at all the good photography has brought to my life. How it’s become a full-on business and how it’s taken care of us. To give up now because of an upset, a wrench thrown in, would be insane.
I don’t have the end-all answer to “what to do when you’re turned off by a job?” Treat it as such? A job. Keep on truckin’. Don’t take things so personal? All easy answers to a problem that won’t go away over night. I don’t have the answer, but I know that “give up” isn’t it.
My husband jokes with me. I can’t make up my mind on what to do or where to live. Perhaps because I file those decisions under “not that important” and I’ve already taken care of the bigger decisions in life.. like who to share it with. That one has been consistent, and I’m sure he appreciates that. 😉 I view a place to live as just that; a temporary space. What you do and where you live are not who you are. They don’t and shouldn’t define you as a person. So why dwell on those thing since they can change at a moments notice?
Time to get creative. Time to sit back, be thankful and move forward. Time to put my focus and energy on the things that I love, while continuing to work.
To those still in touch, thank you for putting up with me in this funky, transitional period in my life. If life has taught me anything, it’s that I have no say in the final touches, it’s that where I am right now was never in my control. Stay tuned. It’s always worth it in the end. Even with the madness. The madness makes things interesting.
So… what am I going to do?
All content and images copyright TheSisterFiles©2016 and cannot be used without expressed permission.
Photos by: Jeffery Cruz