I am a...

Written on April 4, 2013

Once upon a time, my friend, Sunny and I ran a professional photography business called tulyfoto. We never took down the website or Facebook page, in case a client would want us to shoot an interesting project or we’d want to go full-force back into the business.

Occasionally we’d get an inquiry for our services and my initial reactions are to turn it down. Recently we got an inquiry to shoot a wedding. It was actually a referral from one of Sunny’s friends. So I forwarded the message to Sunny.

Sunny responded saying that she’d only shoot the wedding if I’d shoot it with her, because it’s a lot of work for just one photographer. I declined because I didn’t feel confident in my photo skills.

Her response was, “That makes me lol. But I understand what you mean. It’s completely and utterly in your head, that’s why it’s laughable.”

At first I was taken back by her response but at the same time thankful for her understanding. But I kept wrestling with her response in my head. What exactly made her lol?

She responded again with, “I absolutely disagree, but I understand.”

I thought about it and realized the reason why it was so funny to her was because when I said I wasn’t confident, what I was really thinking was, “I’m not a photographer anymore.” And she caught onto that.

Immediately as I kept processing her “lol” response I thought about a time in high school in weightlifting class. We had just returned from spring break and a classmate was complaining about how all his muscles he had built up before spring break were now gone.

Our weightlifting instructor’s response was that muscle never goes away. In weightlifting you lift to tear your muscles and build it up with nutrients from a healthy diet. But once you build that muscle, it never goes away.

It may get leaner from the lack of working out or fat might grow over it. But once you build muscle it never goes away.

Our instructor was quick to correct my classmate’s and my own misconceptions about muscles.

Like my old classmate’s complaint, similarly I was saying that the skills and knowledge that made me a photographer was gone. But the truth of the matter is, they aren’t gone. I may not be a professional photographer, one who makes money with their photography. But I am still a photographer.

I may not pick up my ginormous, slr much these days but I still whip out the camera that’s pretty much always with me, my camera phone. I still enjoy capturing fleeting memories in time. I almost always think visually in pictures. I am a photographer.

So now I understand why Sunny lol’ed at my response. I must say I kind of chuckled too once I came to the realization that I am still very much a photographer. A talented one at that, I must say.

Whenever I get discouraged of my photography skills, I simply have to go to tulyfoto’s website to know what sort of talents lay dormant in myself my DNA. Sunny and my weightlifting instructor were right. It was all in my head.

I’d love to hear if others have experienced something similar. Perhaps you are a parent who had to put interests and hobbies on hold to take care of your family or a student who was told you’d never make money following your passions as a profession so suppressed it. Or maybe like me, you’ve just been out of the game for so long, your rustiness feels more like you lost it.

As time passed, did your head tell you, you weren’t those things anymore? Maybe it’s time to realize, like me it’s all in your head. What are you doing to keep those talents or interests alive? How would you complete this statement, “I am a…”?

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