Since the launch of ViewFinders last month, many of my collaborators have written eloquently about beginnings. About the beautiful potential of the new… About emerging and stretching into something new… About the energy of a fresh start… About setting new intentions… And even about the discomfort that can come with the new. Me? I love beginnings. In fact, I might love beginnings a little too much. One can’t build a life on beginnings alone. At some point, you have to buckle down, do the work and move a thing forward.
I’m not a huge follower of astrology but I do know that I’m a textbook Gemini in so many ways. One of those being what I call my magpie tendency. I love the shiny, the bright, the NEW. I want to try everything. I am a committed beginner. I buy the best supplies. I sign up for the best courses and I throw myself in whole-heartedly… For a while.
Off the top of my head, over the past few years I have enthusiastically begun art journalling, crochet, pottery, line drawing, hand-lettering and about a handful of photo 365s. Some of these – pottery – are still going strong while others – art journalling and those 365s – went quickly by the wayside.
At the start of 2015 I made a pretty big new beginning. I decided to focus more attention on the professional side of my photography.
Launching my little business was a pretty exciting beginning. I had a shiny new website, a wonderfully hand-designed logo and some beautiful paper promotional products. Sharing these with the world after many weeks of planning was fantastic. However, I knew that I needed to support this venture as it grows into all that I hope it will be. I didn’t want to just revel in the beginning and then let it fade away like so many projects before.
My focus for the business is Food, Travel and Life(style) so I committed to a weekly and a daily practice to hone my styling and photographic skills.
Each Sunday I devote some time to developing my food photography portfolio by making, styling and shooting something in my kitchen.
These two practices have become part of my usual rhythm. During the week I search recipes to find something photogenic (and tasty, because it usually becomes my lunch!) to make and shoot on the Sunday. Saturday as I’m shopping for ingredients I’m thinking about how I’ll style it – whether I’ll include whole ingredients with the finished product or if I need to source more props. Sundays are about shooting (and eating), and along the way learning more about the light in my kitchen at different times of the day. I shoot with my DSLR (and maybe one with my iPhone for Instagram) and process and share them in batches around once a month.
My practice for the daily shot is woven into my morning routine. As I’m packing lunch, feeding the dog and scrambling eggs for breakfast, I’m also drawing a Tarot card, setting up my tabletop and selecting a prop. These I shoot with my iPhone, edit minimally and post on my way out the door or in the line at Starbucks.
It’s feeling good to be carrying on and supporting my big beginning in this way. It’s also given me a reason to get behind the lens, which can be hard for me to find in the winter months.
In our ViewFinders Manifesto we say “We believe that the beauty of photography can be found in the practice AND in the result”. I feel like I’m living that right now.
I’d love to hear how you support your photographic beginnings.