I've spent a long time and a lot of money on photography, and I am grateful for everything I have learned, and all the experiences I have had.
Lately I have been realizing what it is to be an artist (at least in regards to the photography that I do). One has to think about what people are about ; how they feel; what they're interested in, and what is important to them... and capture that in a natural, raw (yet flattering) way. That's something I never really knew before. I know all the technical settings for my camera, where to have the lights, etc., but I never knew the connection with the subject was so important in capturing something in a natural way. Ever look at a photo and think to yourself that the subject isn't comfortable in it? If you have, odds are that they weren't comfortable at all.
Strange as it may seem, I tend to make my best images when I'm having a difficult time in my life. Some people even think that in order to be a successful artist of any kind you have to have a lot of pain in your life. (Musicians are the most known for having and enduring lots of pain, due to the widespread reach of their art form). Anyhow, of course I want to be happy, but I'm beginning to wonder if that's possible given how much I absolutely HAVE to create. If I'm not creating something, I feel like I'm useless. If it came down to it, would I choose happiness over my art? I'm not so sure.
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