As you probably know, I spent last week at the NZIPP (institute of professional photographers) annual Iris Awards & conference in Queenstown. My mind is buzzing with so much photography inspiration & it's been a difficult couple of days back at the accounting job trying to concentrate on anything besides all the exciting ideas I have brewing.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much value I took away from this experience, nor can I use words to describe how the experience of Conference made my heart evermore hungry for this passion of mine. To spend a week with like-minded creatives was inspiring, overwhelming and was everything I needed to help me break out of my shell.
I could tell you about the page of action items I now have written down, I could tell you about all the new tricks I learnt in the workshops and I could tell you about how much I took away from all the speakers, but above all of that there is one thing that has been playing on repeat since arriving home on Monday night.
To have courage & believe in myself.
One speaker spoke about acknowledging your talent, about feeling the fear and doing it anyway, about understanding that self-worth is not the same as net-worth.
Then she read us this quote from Patrick Overton:
When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.
This speaker is a hugely successful portrait photographer from Australia, self-taught with no formal training, yet she has paid off her mortgage and more from her photography business. She shared her journey & how she once felt like a fraud to call herself a photographer.
And her words made my heart tighten. Earlier that week Matt & I had been speaking to someone who had asked me what I did for a living. In fact I can think of a number of occasions when meeting new people recently, where I've been asked what I do. And each time I've hesitated, just a fraction of a second because I want to say photographer. I want to. But I don't. Instead I say; 'I'm an accountant'. Half the time Matt corrects me & tells the person that I'm also a photographer. When truth be told I now easily do more hours in my photography business than I do accounting each week.
It makes no sense to be afraid of calling myself a photographer. I am a photographer & I'm intensely proud of it. But it's a fear I've always had & it comes from not having any proper training, the fear of someone calling me out, telling me I'm a fraud, just a girl with a fancy camera. Which is stupid because I know how dang hard I've worked to get here today. My family believes in me. And I also know my clients believe in me. So why do I still hold onto this fear? Listening to this speaker tell this uncannily familiar story of feeling like an imposter brought a sense of relief to know that I was not alone in my fears nor my ambitions.
So I've decided, next time someone asks me what I do for a job, I will answer with pride; 'I'm a photographer and I get to take photos of awesome people & awesome places' because I owe it to myself to believe in me.