Doubt can be as invasive as kudzu, and like the plant, doubt can consume and kill you. Kill your hopes, your dreams and your light. As an artist I have seriously struggled with the doubt that I am any good at all. That my work is authentic and that I actually have the right to call myself an artist.
When I picked up my first camera in 2007 (a small canon point & shoot gifted to me by my amazing little sister) my entire life changed. I didn’t know it at that moment, but I had finally found an outlet for expressing myself and my emotions and not only that, it was the only hobby/activity that I’ve ever “stuck with.” Still, over the years I wasn’t so sure I could call myself a “real” photographer because I had not come out of the womb living and breathing the original medium, film. However, photography has made me so incredibly happy and I knew I had an innate knack for seeing pictures… everywhere. That’s half of the battle of being an artist, having that creativity inside, recognizing and honoring it, finding your preferred medium and then perfecting the technical skills to make and create your own style. All of that sounds way easier than it actually is! Today’s Daily Post prompt came on the same day that I received notice that I was a finalist in the Shoot & Share photo contest. I watched the entry deadline approach and compared my work to the work of the past winners doubting that my own work could stand up to it, you know that dream killing doubt narrative that starts the minute you consider stepping out of your comfort zone. On the last day of entry I said “fuck it” and haphazardly chose 27 (you could submit up to 50) photographs that I had taken and entered into 8 different available categories. Throughout the contest I received “favourites” meaning other voters had selected my photos as a favourite, so I knew I was still in it. Two weeks ago I received an email that I had made it to the 12th round, however, I stopped receiving any information after that so I thought I had fallen out of the contest. I was okay with that! I was still so proud that I had made it to the 12th round, it didn’t really matter to me that I hadn’t made it to the “best of the best,” the validation was really nice but not “needed” to recognize my own accomplishments. Then today I sat down to write about how doubt has held me back and I received an email that I was a finalist; at least one of my photographs has made it to the top 3.5% of ALL photos in the contest! Brilliant! And while this is amazing validation about my art, the real doubt crusher for me is that photography makes me extraordinarily happy, it makes my heart and soul sing and that my dear friends, is enough to keep the doubt at bay.
I’m signing off a very happy woman today; I’m proud of myself and utterly grateful to my wife and my sister, constant believers and supporters. Shout out to my mom who also gifted me with the very first big camera, the one that I learned all the magic on. Today’s title is an homage to one of my most favourite songs & the anthem of my twenties: “Not Bad for a Girl from the Gutter like me.” Check out the thunderpuss remix here. I’m hitting submit and dancing it out! Doubt what?! xo