Silver Birch Photography was created throughout probably the hardest two years of my life. The years of white-knuckles and crying through showers. (I don’t know if the shower is everyone’s “breakdown” place, but my hands are up if we’re taking count.)
People often ask what got me into photography, and I struggle to find one answer. I was born for art the day I entered this world kicking and screaming. I wrote scripts and books as a kid, and performed for every company dinner. (Those poor pilots; such troopers) I felt the world differently; deeper and more intensely than most. I grew up in a fairly black and white culture, but I could never train my mind to stop seeing in every shade of grey and colour (this got me in trouble on multiple occasions.) What got me into photography? It became one of my favourite forms of expressing the way I see this world. It was me, my camera and nature – which, not going to lie, was sweet. I still treasure my sun-chasing photography days. However, between my love for photography and my love for people? I was meant for more than only sun-chasing.
With a lot of therapy, hard-knocks and fighting my way through tough valleys I grew to listen to my heart a little more. I let my instincts drive me, rather than my self-doubt and insecure-esteem. (I don’t think those words go together, but I like it, so I’m going with it.) That’s when Silver Birch Photography began to really grow.
I started realizing people were asking me to do their pictures, because they liked my art. So, I decided to face my fear head-on, and launched myself into the people-photography world. I guess you could say I decided to take control of my life, and create my own reality. I would fight panic attacks leading up to any shoot, but eventually I was able to relax and enjoy the real thing. I struggled to edit the pictures after, because shame would actually steal my breath and leave me filled with anxiety for the rest of the day. It would take forever to return pictures, because the feeling of fighting that shame was so uncomfortable. Fighting your subconscious is not an easy task, but it’s worth it.
Every time I faced my fear it would loosen it’s grip little by little. Eventually I looked forward to shoots, and the opportunity to let my creativity shine. Eventually I booked my first wedding, and soaked up every piece of positive energy until I was officially a wedding-photographer-addict. (The kind of addiction you don’t have to go to jail for. High-five.) Eventually I began charging money for my shoots, because I grew to respect my own art. Eventually I enjoyed editing pictures for clients, and was proud of the pictures I worked so hard to take… And proud of each client who had the courage to step in front of my lens. Being on the other side of a lens is so very vulnerable and it takes courage! I’m always so proud of those clients.
I still have all the emotions (even the hard ones), depression and anxiety. I still feel things deeply and intimately. I still love harder and am affected easily by the world around me. I still practice therapy skills, and try to incorporate a steady self-care routine into my daily life… Because the reality is that if I don’t take care of myself? Then my war with depression and anxiety will grow stronger. Soon I’ll find myself on front-line in the battlefield. This doesn’t make me crazy. It makes me a deeply feeling person; it makes me an artist. It makes me a strong and powerful woman. It makes me, and every other artist who can relate, any other person who can relate, courageous.
So I decided to share more of the heart behind Silver Birch Photography, and create a community that is safe for the rest of those deep feelers out there. I’m excited to post some self-care ideas, some of the struggles, lessons and those victories on here. I’m excited to share why we should laugh at some stuff we never thought we’d laugh about, and take ourselves a little less seriously. I’m just excited to have a business that is also a community; because art is always about connection.
To the one who’s reading this who’s heart is beating a little harder, because you’re able to relate a little? You’re not abnormal or less for struggling. You’re beautiful, a masterpiece and worthy of love. You’re badass for fighting battles and climbing mountains. You’re awesome because you’re alive. You’re capable of freaking anything, and the wars you fight along the way will make your journey sweeter and dreams richer. You’re also not alone, because regardless of the extent of the struggles, we’ve all got them. If you say you don’t? Then your first struggle is not being honest with yourself, because I promise, you do. The point is to fight the battles hard, and overcome every hurtle, because you’re strong enough to do it. Also, because things like your love for photography and people get mixed when you fight, and the result is wonderful. You’re capable of dreaming, setting goals and fighting for them. Even if you doubt yourself and get doubted sometime. You’ve got this, because you’re awesome.
Here’s to living this life outside of our comfort zone, and making it count. Go love yourself a little more today, and believe in your dreams.