When I first got into photography, everything was a personal project. A walk in the woods became a wonderland of images popping into my mind, a vacation became opportunity to do something exotic, a fun night out with friends a way to seek my inner photojournalist. Somewhere along the way, that fun turned away from a personal mind space where I wasn’t worried about anyone except me, to a business mind space where ultimately, I had the client’s opinion in mind.
I’m not saying that this is inherently a bad thing. We need our clients’ approval to make a living & to stay in business. Where it is bad though, is when we begin to forget ourselves and let that spark of personal wonder and true joy of photographing start to dim. One of my good photographer friends reminded me of this a few years ago and it woke me up to the realization that I don’t do photography anymore for just me. And that’s kind of sad.
This year I’ve made the resolve to do more personal shooting with the subjects that I never tire of, and for me that’s horses. I’m searching for a way to show the intangible connection I feel between humans and these amazing animals. I’ve made it a goal to do 12 sessions this year. I’ve only just begun, but I already feel myself waking that fire. The first session I did was for my friend Heather. She recently adopted Eddie, a sweet boy who spent his whole life helping others as a therapeutic riding horse and Heather had met him when she taught at a program in Texas. The time had come for him to retire but there was no where for him to go. Heather brought him to Virginia all the way from Texas. Eddie had only been here a few months before Heather noticed a mass on his jaw. The vet confirmed the worst; an aggressive form of (inoperable) bone cancer in his jaw. Needless to say, Heather was devastated that her newly reunited, long lost, 4 footed friend now only has a short time left. When I heard about this I new this was my starting point of my personal projects. Finding ways to seek the spirit of Eddie so that they can be remembered by all.
I’m so glad I’ve started down this journey of personal projects. I can’t wait to do more! There’s a renewed sense of energy, connection, and purpose to my work in the personal project which also is flowing back into my professional projects. What’s not to love about that?
Lisa is a D.C. based wedding & portrait photographer. Follow along on Twitter.
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