This saying has been repeated to us and by us innumerable times throughout our lives, especially when referring to art that we may or may not agree with, right?
This thought recently reoccured to me as I was sharing my photos from my recent trip to the Getty Museum with some of my family members. Their comments and praise on how well the photos came out made me think about the reason why pictures and photography became so important to me in the first place. Back in January of 2019, I decided that I would put a little more effort and time into my presence on social media and I would honestly like to say that its been an eye-opening (although often arduous) yet rewarding task. The amount of hours that I've spent driving to locations, shooting, editing, and publishing have not been without its struggles and frustrations -- but the end results have usually always been worth it.
I am by no means saying that I am a professional anything. I feel that that would be an injustice to the actual truly amazing professionals out there who are far more dedicated than me. What I do is out of pure enjoyment and I've recently acknowledged that I have been using photography and vlogging as another creative outlet to pour my soul into. For those of you who may not know me, I've always been a bit of a creative soul, something that I inherited from my mother. I always enjoyed drawing and painting to the point that I even wanted to be an artist growing up. Over summer breaks I would spend hours and hours painting from two in the morning to six am or until the sun would start to come up. My creative juices would always flow late at night for some reason and that was when I would do my best work. Alas, my dreams of becoming an artist were brought to a halt as the realistic expectations of my parents outweighed my silly dreams and they told me that though it was great to be artistic, I could always have art as a hobby.
And I did. For my 2018 new years resolution, I promised myself that I would get back to my art since I would be taking a gap year before preparing for law school... but to be completely honest, I probably haven't picked up a paint brush since last summer. I've always known that I needed some kind of creative outlet to express myself in some way -- I have been saying it since high school but I let life and school get in the way of the things I am passionate about. It took me one year to fulfill that promise. While in the process of working on my social media presence, I was able to realize the joy that snapping and editing pictures gave me and so I set it as my new creative outlet.
I was able to see the positive feedback I was getting from the content I was posting which helped bring me out of this negative place that I sometimes fell into by giving me something to work for, to strive for. What started out as just a hobby became a self-improvement project. As much time and effort I've put into social media, I also try not to take it too seriously because it can also be incredibly damaging and toxic. Sometimes we forget that the amount of likes that we get on a picture does not summate our worth and for me, its something that I have to remind myself every time I post something new.
I began with myself or landscapes as the focus on my content, but one particular event is very memorable in my journey with this new medium. I will say that, while traveling solo, it can be difficult to find someone reliable to take a quick picture of you with whatever tourist place you've decided to visit. In this particular story, I had found the perfect spot to get a shot of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. I had gotten down on one knee to get the perfect angle for a tourist couple and once they expressed their delight at how the picture came out, a few other people around us decided to ask me to take their photo. I spent a good amount of time getting just the right shot for these people and as I started my walk back to my hostel, I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness. I was able to capture a magical moment for someone else and they would have a keepsake of that memory forever. I felt blessed to have been able to make that happen for someone.
This event in particular has remained with me ever since I've returned from that trip and I've applied it continually throughout my life. One time I even asked these two girls who were looking super gorgeous at Coachella if I could snap a photo for them. They had just been standing there but they looked absolutely amazing and I wanted them to see what a total stranger was seeing: their beauty.
I've been thoroughly enjoying having my picture taken as well as taking pictures for my friends and family (fair warning if you go with me anywhere - if I think you look good standing or sitting or walking somewhere I will snap a picture of you). I feel good and gain a little more confidence when I see a great picture of myself taken by someone. Sometimes we need to be shown through the eyes of someone else to remind us that we are beautiful as we are. We can often be too critical of ourselves and our outer appearances but we should be able to accept the beauty of ourselves as much as we observe and praise the beauty we often see in others.
As my mom always says, "At the end of the day, pictures are all that are left". I couldn't agree with her more and the fact is that we're not getting any younger. We might as well snap as many pictures as we can to preserve those special moments that we may forget one day.