It's the trying that counts.
In early 2006, I was in Nashville with my mom and dad on a family vacation. In my purse, I had one of those (pre-iPhone that takes pictures and records video) clunky video cameras/photo camera. I mostly took shots of my mom and dad standing under signs remembering all the places we went. And I also took some video footage of my mom and dad shaking their booties on the dance floor in the blues bar. Had I only known how valuable that video footage would be once we found out the news 2 years later of his terminal cancer. But in the midst of the trip, we were walking down the famous touristy Broadway Street and I saw it.
A picture in my head.
A shot that looked like a postcard.
A shot that represented everything Nashville was.
As my mom wandered in the stores, I stayed outside and took out my video/photo camera and squatted on the sidewalk. I had no idea what I was doing other than turning the camera on Auto, but I got it, I got this shot:
As I looked at the photo, I couldn't help but want to fluff my feathers. I captured my first "photojournalism" picture. Yes, I was quite proud. It was simply a moment, this struggling muscian just sitting on the sidewalk hoping to get discovered. That picture is what I went home seeing what Nashville is all about. There was something about seeing that musician simply... trying... to follow his dreams, even if it meant sitting on the sidewalk playing for only passerbys.
After that, I went home and played around in photoshop to convert the picture black and white (even though now looking at it, it's almost more sepia). But that was it, I got bit by the photography bug, and even though I had no idea what I was doing, I wanted to "try" like that musician to see if I would be any good at it. I started to drop hints here and there to my parents about how interested I was in photography and how much I wanted a "real" camera where I could change lenses and figure out how to get the "blurry background but the main subject is in focus." Finally in October of that year, my parents broke down and bought me my first camera, a Canon 30D. (When I started making money, I eventually upgraded and bought myself the Canon 5D which I still use today, and the 30D as my backup!)
The picture above came back in my head today because today I'm heading to Nashville again, not for vacation, but to shoot a wedding. Ha, to think when I took that shot on the sidewalk that 4 years later someone would be paying me to fly to Nashville and document their wedding. It's just one of those things that still feels so surreal. Like, wow, I really get to have a job I love? Like, really? Like, wait, I actually turned my dreams into a beautiful reality? Well that's cool!
Just thought I'd share that old picture with you to inspire you. To all the newbie photographers out there, or the hobbyists wanting to turn their dreams into a reality.... if it can happen to me, it can happen to you. If there's anything my dad's cancer taught me, it's that life is too short to not GO FOR IT. It's people like the musician on the sidewalk that inspire me.... whether he ever became a big country star, at least he's out there doing what he loves most.... making music.
Just a reminder. TODAY at 5:30pm EST, Stephen and I will be on TLC's "Wedding Day Makeover"! So excited! I'm going to be on a plane when it debuts, so let me know if you see us! :-)