2 year ago I use to take pictures like the one below almost every day. I was in the nascent stages of my photography career and I had a drive, passion, fervor in me that couldn’t be squelched. I just had to photograph something, anything and when there wasn’t anything around to take pictures of… I often turned the camera on myself.
I enjoyed creating composite images… “art.” The thrill of coming up with a concept in my mind, and then determining how I could execute it made me bubble over in excitement. I couldn’t wait to get out and shoot. Often times my family would wonder what crazy idea I was brewing next when, I had the furniture all pushed about or some crazy get up on. Eventually they became just as excited as I was to see what I was creating next. These were the beginnings of my photography career. These were the times when you’d be hard pressed to find me WITHOUT a camera in my hand. We had become one… my camera and I. In the process, I became a better photographer. And… eventually, people wanted to pay me for what I strongly considered to just be a hobby.
A funny thing happens when you start making money though. Your focus shifts. At some juncture it became more about making money and less about “creating.” I found myself picking up my camera less and less. Now, I usually don’t take my camera out unless I going to shoot for a client. Honestly, for awhile, it didn’t bother me because I was still taking pictures and… I was making money. Until about a week ago when I was sitting down to a meal with my mother. She looked up at me and asked, “Why don’t you do those self-portraits anymore? I enjoyed seeing those every week.” I didn’t have an answer. I simply sat there, turning the question over and over in my mind. I couldn’t think of one GOOD reason why I stopped doing them.
The question has been weighing heavy on me every since. I realized that somewhere along the way… I lost the artist in me. She disappeared for awhile. Frankly, this makes me sad because photography was always my escape; my special place where I could go to let my creativity run wild. Ever since I was a child I’ve been quite imaginative. My mind would take me on incredible adventures. My mother says she would watch me in awe as I created these fictitious worlds in my bedroom. Sometimes I was a queen, or a lion, or a fairy… the possibilities were simply endless. When photography came into my life many years later, I quickly realized I could create visuals to represent the imaginings of my mind. I became extremely excited. Constantly referring back to my childhood wonder.
I’ve lost the little imaginative girl inside of me. I’m sure this is for many reason but that’s all irrelevant. I simply know…. I want her back. I’m going to get her back. She is part of who I am. She makes me a better photographer, a better person. God gave me this amazing gift and I’ve just put it on a shelf. It’s high time I get back to being the person He designed me to be.
I’m excited to see the amazing things I create!
~ Saadia Me’Chel