Although Viewfinders is a fresh start for us all, many of the women here have shared space online before. As one of the new kids on the block, I think that my beginning requires a little bit of an introduction.
About six years ago, with great trepidation, I dipped my tiny toe into social media by posting my first photo on Flickr. I realize it’s quaint in our 2015 tweet-every-thought world, but after a few years of lurking around online, it was both terrifying and thrilling for me to share anything openly over the ether. But I had a burgeoning interest in photography, and a little voice inside that would not quiet. It egged me on, and eventually I was convinced that opening up just a little to the wide world would help me grow.
Those first steps were small and deliberate. I joined a few groups, made a comment or two on images I admired, posted in a few pools, and began participating on photography sites that offered encouragement and inspiration to all – no matter your experience or skill. Looking back, none of it was a big deal, but in the moment every single time I hit post it felt like a risk.
After about six months of active posting I made a real connection with a wonderfully warm woman who was much farther along her photographic journey than I. I remain indebted to her for seeing something – my intent perhaps, because it certainly wasn’t my skill – in those early photos. Her encouragement bolstered my confidence, and her remarkable progress as a photographer over the course of a 365 self-portrait project pointed the way for me in terms of what could be achieved through passion and regular practice.
In the intervening years I’ve taken many more risks with my photography, in most instances egged on by that little internal voice, and bolstered by an ever-growing chorus of support from the community of amazing souls and talented photographers whom I have met online and am now lucky to call friends.
When Viewfinders asked me to join, I was gripped by that familiar combination of dread and thrill. I now know to lean into that feeling, no matter how scary. I said yes before I even knew what my responsibilities would be – before I had the chance to think about it too long.
Opening up and sharing your art can feel incredibly risky, because when you do you make yourself vulnerable by putting a little bit of your heart and soul out on display, but the rewards for that risk, they are manifold! Consider that a little risk and one connection put me on a path that led me here, to this beautiful space, and to you.
I can not wait to see what lies ahead for us all as we create this new community together.
Keep your eyes wide open,