On taking a leap of faith
A few days ago, I turned 2.
And by that I mean: I started doing fine art photography exactly two years ago. It was because of the first photography workshop I ever attended, and it was the first workshop by Brooke that I’ve attended.
So I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the past two years, and talk about taking a leap of faith.
I had no idea where I was going with photography. I created images because I felt like I needed to, I had to channel my feelings into something and Brooke made me realize that photography is the perfect way for me to do that. I realized the importance of working towards something, the importance of having a hobby and passion. My days, before photography, were monotonous. But diving into photography made me feel like I had a purpose. And this makes me think of a quote by Kurt Vonnegut that I absolutely love:
“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.“
I took a leap of faith with photography, and it led me to where I am today. There are days when I want to give up, those days come often and fighting them can be so exhausting. Giving in seems almost too easy. My monster gets so loud, feeding me lies like: “you hate yourself, and the world. Everyone’s life would be so much better if you weren’t here. You’re worthless, you’re nothing. You should just disappear.”
And that’s when my strength is put to the test. That’s when pushing through is important. And that’s when I see the light, when I focus on all the love that surrounds me, from my friends and family, from you guys. Even the shortest comments or the simplest things, they make me feel so hopeful.
You guys are my light.
Over the past two years, I started believing in myself way more than I have in my entire life. I feel like I was the kind of person who just “goes with the flow”, never questioning anything, accepting everything. I had no control. And now, I know what I want and I’m going after it. And my dreams are only going to get bigger.
I learned to dream. To truly believe that nothing is impossible. I reach for the stars, and I can’t settle for less.
I have a voice, and I have a message. And I want to share that with the entire world. But none of that would’ve been possible without Brooke.
My sister always jokes about how much of a “fangirl” I am over Brooke, but it’s way more than that. Brooke changed my life, completely.
If I were to share one thing that I’ve learned over the past two years, it would be this:
Believe in yourself. You are worth way more than you think. And once you do that, you’ll be unstoppable. It’s amazing how something as little as having faith can change our entire world.
And coincidentally, Brooke’s latest blog post is about portfolio videos and I thought it would be an awesome way to revisit older work and mix it up with new stuff. I’m excited to see what the next two years are gonna bring 🙂
2014-2017 Events Thoughts amani alshaali brooke shaden conceptual conceptual photography events failure fears fine art photographer fine art photography hope insecurities inspiration photography photoshop photoshop edit self acceptance thoughts
How I understand this post! I also started doing fine art photography for a year and a half. And like you, since I met Brooke, I felt since then everything changed. I spent believe more in myself and my projects. And the proof was this excellent 2015, which culminates with an exhibition. I never thought to hold an exhibition. And if I thought on do it, for sure the next thought was: that’s impossible! I can’t reach on do it! But I did! I am very happy. And very happy for you too. I loved the video and the image. Stay well!
Aw Paulo, that makes me happy! I’m so glad you realized the importance of believing in yourself. It’s amazing what you can do once your set to mind to it right?
It pleases me so much to be walking just about two years behind you Amani! And I’m so looking forward to seeing the things you’ll achieve in the coming years!
We had talked briefly a few weeks back about the “law of attraction” and “divine order”, which I have had proven to me over and over and over again over the past 20 when I first recognized the phenomenon. Your post just now is yet another example of perfect that cosmic timing. 🙂
I was just minutes ago chatting Victoria about her retro images that Vogue picked up. (So cool!) Because lately I too have struggled with Why? Why I do it and why *should* I keep doing it? When I shoot fashion (which I love) or concerts/music (which I also love), I just make the images, edit and print the ones I think are awesome or otherwise worthy in some way, and put them in a book on my coffee table. So…Why? It’s takes time and costs money both of which are fine if I feel like there’s a purpose behind it.
I get the “Because…Art” part and that’s what makes my foray into conceptual photography so exciting – the reason is built in to the effort and I feel less need to justify it. Still I’d love to someday be published, or have someone purchase an image because it speaks to them. (Some of my professional artist friends tell me my work will be insincere if I make it with the intention of it being purchased or published. But I’m not far enough along on my journey to accept that entirely just yet. I feel like there is a middle ground. Perhaps I’ll evolve over time, but who knows.)
I was a fanboy of Brooke’s before I knew her name. But I’ll bet she would tell us we’re not fans of her – we’re fans of her passion and her emotion and her attitude and her conviction. Things that transcend the individual. Fair enough.
So TBH, I’m a fanboy of you and your work too, for all the same reasons – including…no, *especially* because of your occasional feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty AND your willingness to share those feelings with us. It reminds me that those feelings too, in moderation, are part of a healthy attitude of introspection and are essential to successfully navigating a meaningful existence on this planet. Kind of like brakes on a car or retro-rockets on a spacecraft, or checks and balances in government!)
So thank you! If I find myself half as far down this path two years from now as you have come in that time I will feel both successful and very, very fortunate. I just want to shoot and edit all day every day more than ever before.
I really need to go back to the beginning of both the AAFAP and PP blogs and read them both straight through from day 1, like a good book. But, for now, it’s back to the slog that pays my bills – the day job. 😉
I understand exactly what you mean. I’d have to disagree with what your friends think, I don’t think that making something with the intention of it being purchased or published is insincere. There are people who are commissioned to create book covers, album covers, etc. It’s still considered art. And wanting someone to connect with something you’ve created is totally normal, I feel that way too. A friend of mine recently got one of my prints and sent me a picture of it hanging on their wall, it made me so happy.
I definitely agree with your definition of being a fanboy/fangirl. And wow, this comment makes me feel so humbled. I love sharing what I know, my experiences, and myself with people. And knowing that that’s something that makes a difference makes it all worthwhile. So thank you, Tim. I can’t tell you how much this comments means to me.
I know you can do amazing things. And never forget, if you ever need help with anything, I’d be more than happy to do it 🙂