Everyone goes through bouts of depression at some point in their lives. At several points in our lives, actually. Sometimes we handle it well and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes it comes from something severe like the loss of someone important in our lives and sometimes it comes from nothing at all. Sometimes we are resilient and we bounce back quickly and sometimes we are fragile and we spend months learning how to smile again.
I have spent the last year either laughing or crying. I’ve spent weeks feeling hopeless , like a dark cloud was following me around and then I’ve experienced short lived days where I had all the faith in the world that I was going to figure it all out. This is the blog of a wedding photographer…. but today, if you will, I’d like to just talk. Not about the why, but about the “What next?”
For me, the thing I looked forward to most in the world, the thing that wasn’t work, or family, or paying bills or cleaning or laundry, that thing just stopped. I felt like like I had nothing to look forward to and that depressed me to no end. So after way too long, I started creating things to look forward to. I planned a trip with my brother to New York with money I barely had. I’d always wanted to go to New York to see a play, and it was happening come hell or high water. I was flying out, I was seeing my brother and I was meeting his girlfriend. The three days I got to spend on the East coast were phenominal. It felt like something from someone elses life. It was the begining of a trend.
I bit the bullet and got a studio space (another thing I wanted to do for years). I looked forward to painting it, I looked forward to decorating it, hanging my work, and hosting client meetings there. I started watching Doctor Who during dinner with my son and mother and I look forward to it every single day. That tradition of The Doctor with Dinner. We laugh, we talk fan theories, and we talk plot holes (a lot). I picked up photography books that I bought but never read. For days at a time, I had the next chapter to look forward to. Giving myself something to look forward to has been my saving grace.
A few years ago I also went through a depression of sorts and I remembered telling my mother, “If you’re depressed, or in a funk, the easiest way to move yourself along is to learn a new skill. Really learn it.” A new skill is time consuming. As you get better, you obsess with it, and you fall in love with it and you come out being a more impressive human being. That mile you struggled with the first week seems laughable after two months. You feel lost in the art aisle at the store but a few weeks later, you find yourself helping someone else find the best brushes to use. And that progression you’d never thought you’d master feels like second nature after a weekend of practicing until your fingers blistered. You progress, you celebrate small win after small win, you leap through hurdles and you claw through bigger obstacles. It’s a splendid feeling.
I’ve chosen film photography. Not because I secretly want to be Jose Villa, not because I want to follow trends, but because I love the art of photography and I want to learn all I can about it. I want the anticipation and to learn the medium through and through. I want to fall in love over and over again with it.
I tried film about a year ago and gave up quickly. It was expensive and difficult to learn and I shoot well with digital but this week I’ve watched every video I have come across regarding film stock and film shooting. I’ve watched Q&A and how to guides and sample work comparing one camera to another. This weekend I get to try out some film on some very dear people and I am beyond excited. I’m massively looking forward to it and I can’t wait to share the results here with you.
This is a wedding photography blog. Most of the feels here come from seeing two people who love each other deeply commit their lives to one another and it’s lovely. I know I stepped away from that today but my hope is that someone will read this and create something beautiful for themselves.
You’re amazing and good luck, friend!
Hey. Do you mind if I tell you a story? One you might not have heard. All the elements in your body were forged many many millions of years ago in the heart of a faraway star that exploded and died. That explosion scattered those elements across the desolations of deep space. After so, so many millions of years, these elements came together to form new stars and new planets. And on and on it went. The elements came together and burst apart, forming shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings. Until, eventually, they came together to make you. You are unique in the universe. There is only one of you. And there will never be another.