Last year at studio, we started this new practice where we focus our energies on specific themes, questions, and ideas that give us a sense of energy and inspiration in this fast paced and ever-demanding industry. Our first public post was on the Power of Colour (January, 2018). We explored four different colours, their histories and correlation to the qualities of our character as individuals. What have we learned since then? Now more than ever, people are seeking to know themselves, and I for one believe that to be a beautiful thing.
Who are you? Are you sure? Have you ever stopped to analyse why you are the the way you are, and why you do things the way you do them? As a photographer, this is a question I have had the privilege of asking many people - some of the most influential of this era even. From children being featured as the face of American Greetings, to Karl Lagerfeld, to a mother of three who has just moved her family into their first New York home, each of us has a chance to ask this age-old question of themselves, and every time you ask you can be certain there is a new element to the answer if you’re honest.
So how does one go about discovering themselves truly? Well there are a lot of suggestions and endless lists out there, but I’m going to keep it as honest and simple as I am able. I remember the first time I asked myself this question. It was around the time I was in my 20’s. I was just not confident in who I was. Actually I was very insecure. I would work and try so hard to “fit in” to whatever circumstances that were happening aroundme. Looking back the thing I wish I had more of is inner confidence. Today I am not concerned with what people think - I know who I am, what I like, and I know what I am good at. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. smash… I felt smash at first, and that made me smash… Today, it looks a lot different, as it should with the It is a matters of time and experience that brought me to this place, and I can truly say I am happy with who I am, and with who I have become. I hope these three steps will help you find the same happiness for yourself.
Step One: Get to Know Your Parents/Lineage
When we are born, we enter this world as pure and innocent beings, ready to be shaped, molded, and undeniably influenced by the universe around us. But what about what’s inside? While (according to an article written by Sharon Perkins for livestrong.com) science hasn’t quite “isolated the genes that carry markers for all personality traits,” we can accept that an estimate 40 percent of our personality can be found in genes inherited from our parents and ancestors. With this knowledge, I think it’s clear that learning more about your parents, their upbringing, and even older relatives can shed a light on what makes you tick on the inside, and why you are the way you are.
Step Two: Who are Your Friends?
One of my greatest experiences as an author was on the radio/tv circuit promoting my first book, Fashion 2001. I will never forget the moment I found myself as a guest on the greatest talk show of all time, Oprah. I (like most people) have always been a fan of this incredible woman, and often like to keep up with the light and inspiration she so generously shares with the world. Earlier this year, E! News asked her about what makes her “such a good friend,” and when asked this, she paused a moment before sharing a beautiful and soul-touching response. She started to answer in saying that she just wants to support her friends in whoever and whatever they wish to do or become, and she then followed in sharing that she has tried to model who she is as a friend after her widely-known and long-time best friend, Gayle King. How awesome is that?! Make sure that the people you choose to surround yourself with are there to support you. Personally, I have always strived to eliminate distractions and negative energies in my life, and to promote a positive environment at each stage in my journey. For many years, I have always loved sharing this advice with family, friends, employees, and especially my photography clients, as it is one of the harder steps that make a world of difference in our lives as individuals, and greatly affects our trajectory in this life as it relates to our personal vision and aspirations. And that brings us to what is easily the most important step in getting to know yourself!
Step Three: Take A Look At Yourself. Literally.
Who are you, really? It’s a question that has been known to bring even some of the most intellectual people into the quiet places of deep thought. Albert Einstein is famously quoted as having once said, “I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive.” While the first sentence requires a stiff dose of honesty to publicly admit, I would hope that anyone who wishes to be revered as an expert in their craft, would be able to at least attribute the latter statement to themselves.
Take a look at yourself. Literally. Interestingly enough, this is a practice I’ve implemented with a few clients of mine over the years. I’ll have them take a serious look at an image of themself. Not in the sense that they are choosing which image to add to one of our bespoke books, but in the sense that they have a unique opportunity to see themselves as they really are. You see, as a portrait specialist, it is my privilege to capture your truth. Honest photography is unlike your passing glance in the mirror, or the selfies you post to social media. It gives us a chance to look into our own eyes, and read the story of our lives as it wills to be read. They say the eyes are a gateway to the soul, and that declaration has proven itself to be true every time.
Photography has a unique power to document real life, and I am forever grateful to play my part in helping people capture some of the most powerful moments in their journey. In a world where my work has taken me to places I would have never before imagined, and allowed me to meet some of greatest influencers of the last three decades, I am blessed to say that I have loved and learned more about myself at every turn. I will always continue striving to be honest with who I am, and I can only hope that it might inspire someone else to do the same.
Click & Shutter **
Learning to Photograph Better
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