I’m not entirely sure where to start with this. I’ve been meaning to create a blog for a while now so that I would have a place to write more in-depth about what is going on in my life and budding photography career. A little introduction might be helpful: I was born in November 1993 in Jacksonville, Florida, but raised for the most part in a small town in Georgia. I discovered photography in the spring of 2010 and started a 365 project, which I completed a year (and three months) later. I have since decided to pursue a career as a fine art photographer and relocated to Orange, California in June 2012.
Anyway! So. Last month, I graduated from high school. I guess that’s where I’ll kick things off. My graduating class consisted of almost 500 kids, the largest in my school’s history. I was #3 in the class, which was disappointing at first, as I’d basically worked my hardest to be valedictorian, but later reassuring as I realized I was ranked the highest student that didn’t have to give a speech (Public speaking kills me). So after that, I was long-hair-don’t-care about graduation and really just wanted to get it out of the way.
I ranked #3 with “honors with distinction” and also was awarded “star student” for having the highest SAT scores in my graduating class.
Both sets of grandparents traveled down from Wisconsin for the weekend, which was nice, as I rarely get to see them. My boyfriend Brian also flew over from California to be there.
We spent the rest of the weekend relaxing by the pool.
Reflecting on my high school career, I don’t have much to say. I sincerely doubt I will be one of those individuals to remark later on in life about how they were the best days of my life. However, I also can’t say that they were torturous or completely awful. I enjoyed school for the most part. I love learning. It definitely became tedious and less appealing during my junior and senior years, but for the most part, high school was pretty okay.
While the rest of my classmates went into that weekend relishing in their newfound freedom from compulsory education, I was desperate to make the most of my last week in Georgia. That following Saturday, I was to pack up my car with all my worldly belongings, say goodbye to my family, and drive across the country to California. From there, I would move in with Brian and truly begin my career as a professional photographer.
I can honestly say that I never anticipated this path for myself. Growing up, I was convinced that I would be some sort of doctor or lawyer or other conventional, high-paying profession. I’d never had a passion or showed an aptitude for anything other than school. I had been brainwashed into believing that I wouldn’t be happy unless I made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, owned a big house, and had a secure job. I took classes designed for a career in medicine and had decided to pursue a career as an anesthesiologist, simply on the notion that it was the best-paying job and I was smart.
Toward the end of my sophomore year of high school, I discovered photography. I don’t want to be cliché and say that it changed my life, but I don’t know any other way to put it. It wasn’t until about halfway through my 365 project that I realized I really was in love with the art and couldn’t see myself doing anything but taking photographs for the rest of my life. It came gradually of course, so it wasn’t even a surprise when I spoke the words for the first time, “I want a career as a photographer”.
I did meet some opposition from my parents, even more so when I announced that I didn’t want to go to college, but rather try to make it without any post-secondary education. It was a struggle convincing them of my reasoning behind it, and to this day, I’m not sure I have them completely convinced, but they’ve come to accept my decision and support it. I was conscious the entire time that they only wanted what was best for me, so it wasn’t like I harbored any ill feelings toward them. It was more like feeling like a bird trapped in a cage. I know that I’m being heavy with the cliché analogies, but that’s a good way of describing how I felt.
I do feel that there is a lot of brainwashing and contradiction that occurs within today’s society, and it occurs so gradually and begins so early in our lives that it is hard to root out or realize until faced with a situation like an artist might encounter. A college education has come to be something that is almost instinctively sought after high school. Not to go has essentially become a taboo. I don’t have anything against the idea of college whatsoever, especially when one aspires to a career where it is required, like a lawyer or doctor. It is when that mindset is applied to those careers that do not require it when I see a problem, like a photographer, per say. Art school can be a great thing for those who desire guidance and the fundamentals. However, for someone like myself, who has already established his own personal way of creating, I don’t think it is entirely necessary and could even be detrimental in a way. True art and talent and inspiration cannot be taught. It is born. That’s how I see it.
I’ve never been one to take risks, and choosing to pursue a career on my own just felt so right that I didn’t even see it as one. I’ve learned to go after what I want and my own happiness and let everything else and everyone else’s judgments fall by the wayside. #YOLO. Haha.
Anyway, I didn’t mean for this to go so long or get so serious. I plan to continue to post here -- much more light-heartedly, hopefully – when exciting things happen, or… I don’t know, I just want to say something that won’t fit in a flickr description.