In 2016, I had a year of serious self doubt. I was feeling uninspired, and was losing my love for photography rapidly. I took some time and did some research on ways to bring the life back into my work, and I figured that maybe a photography conference could be worth a try. I wanted to be near a large group of like minded people, so I could find inspiration where inspiration starts. I googled for hours and finally stumbled upon one in Vancouver. It was accessible, affordable, and the lineup had so many photographers that I admired, I couldn't resist. I took a leap and I traveled to Vancouver on my own, my first solo trip. I did it because I couldn't go another day with feeling doubt, and I am so, so happy that I did. It changed my life. I had this completely new passion for my work, and I dove in, head first.
When the chance to go for a second year came up for 2017, I did so without hesitation. For this trip, I decided to open up more, talk to more people and get more involved. I brought my camera with me everywhere and kept my phone in my pocket (after losing it in a cab once). After each day, I left feeling motivated beyond belief. While I was going through them, I could see how emotionally weighted I had been feeling. One of the speakers was talking about how she could sometimes tell how she was feeling by reflecting on her work, and so I treated my own work the same.
Gord Downie passed away while I was there. He has always been a huge part of who I am. The Hip was something that meant more to me than just music, or being proud of my country. It was about my family, it was a determining factor in whether the person my sister or I were dating was a good candidate. It was our dancing in the kitchen soundtrack, our breakup albums, The Hip's songs are an anthem, each one having a special place in our hearts and tied to different memories. After the conference in 2016, I took my first self portrait in years. I took my first self portrait since then after getting back to my hotel. I was emotionally drained, and I decided to go for a swim in the pool. It was raining buckets outside, and as I sunk into the pool, The Hip came on through the speakers. (Here is a link to a blog post my sister did on Gord and The Hip, if you had the love we did you should give it a read)
On this trip, there was lots of talk about personal projects, and I have started two! The first one is a secret, but the second is a series on my incredible friends. The project is simple, but it is definitely personal. The first picture in the series is of one of my boyfriends oldest friends. This lovely lady's name is Jennie. I had the chance to grab a PB & J burger with her while I was in Van (get that though, it's really freakin good). We talked about love and music and life, and it felt like two old friends just shootin' the shit. She is a badass with a wonderful brain, and has really cool style.
The biggest lesson I learned from this trip is that there is no need to impress anyone. I don't need social media likes, I don't need recognition from big names or to have a popular or curated instagram feed. I started photographing because I loved it. Not because it was a way to make money (because most of the time it isn't), but because it was a different way to see the world. I could imagine things in unusual ways and show people a new perspective. My future projects are going to be a way for me to show my clients and people a bit more of myself. If they like it that's great, and if they don't then that's okay too. What matters is if I like it, and if it inspires me.