I wouldn’t be honest to you all if I said that I was doing fine. I hope you don’t mis-understand, life has been treating me very kindly. I have an wonderful and supportive partner, a bubble dog that loves me un-conditionally, a garden of heirloom tomatoes and a growing list of clients that I love photographing with. I’ve been satisfied, content with waking up every day excited about what I hope to accomplish, discover and create.
But over the last 6 weeks, I’ve been feeling a void, a missing piece of the puzzle that kept me awake at night more than normal. My instagram pictures (Diane Cu) were a reflection of how I was feeling during those early hours and many of you reached out to me, comforting me and I thank you deeply for that.
I believe I need to share with you, my friends, an explanation of why I was photographing the way I was. This is all part of my healing.
You see, I made a decision to close my photography studio of the last 10 years. This company I started was one of the most fulfilling projects of my life and I nurtured it every single day for the last decade. It was a business that specialized in portrait, family, kids and special events photography. My clients became friends and many evolved into family. Having clients trust me with their precious family moments was the biggest compliment anyone could offer.
Over the last 2 years or so, I was feeling burnt out and losing some creative juices when my shoots were scheduled. I stayed incredibly busy with the photography work for the 8 years prior, that I wasn’t able to explore more personal projects. I worked so hard to build my business and making my clients happy and wanting to return to me for their next sessions that I completely forgot about personal self.
I worked so hard and feeling tired, overwhelmed with all the daily commitments it took to maintain my business. I started to yearn for other creative, personal outlets more and more. It became worse when I kept wanting to be in a different place and doing different things.
Then an opportunity came up for me to leave the business, to close my portrait studio without any further lease obligations. It all happened so quickly, feverishly and within 48 hours, I made the decision to give up this business without selling it or my special event accounts to anyone else.
I just didn’t want to have anything else to do with it anymore. I ran out of creative fuel for this part of the business. And most importantly, I needed to take care of my self, my sanity.
The lease allowed me 30 days to close my studio, clear out my belongings and shut the chapter of my life that I made helped me grow and nurtured me for the last 10 years.
My head was pounding with fear. My heart was aching to pain to say good bye to all that I worked hard to build. The risk I was taking to change my career path scared the shit out of me.
Foolish was the word that was whispered within my family circle. I don’t doubt that the decision I made was risky and abrupt, but I was liberating myself from something I wasn’t happy doing any more. The thoughts of Todd and I having to work every single Friday, Saturday and Sunday exhausted me. Holidays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Prom and Graduation seasons had us working 16 hours a day.
The freedom I felt from letting all this go was liberating. I was going to take care of my personal self, my sanity again.
My multimedia business I started with Todd kept me busier than ever before. Finally we were able to take jobs and assignments that allowed us to travel more and this was where the new creative energy thrived and continued to explode. Life was finally surrounded by what I wanted to be doing, producing new visual/video content and the new list of clients was fresh and fiercely exciting.
Still, I was feeling like something was lacking, the missing piece of the puzzle I kept searching for.
This photograph that I captured above with my iPhone spoke everything to me. While on a road trip up the CA coast this weekend, I witnessed this little excited child being cradled between her 2 elders. I watched her for a few minutes and it made me happy to see how she frolicked in the water, how she managed to splash her little legs past bigger waves and how she always made sure her Mom was close by for comfort.
I had that surge of happiness again, like when I was photographing kids a few weeks back at the studio. Witnessing the togetherness of family and children was so wonderful and it was an even bigger privilege to be asked to capture their special moments.
So there it was, right in front of me, that happy little child on the beach reminded me that my heart belonged there. Photographing kids, in their environment, doing what made them happy, sad, play, cry, jump or fall. I need to go back to photographing kids. Their free spirit, innocence and wonder with the most simple of things makes me happy and to be able to capture that on camera completes me.
I found it, my missing puzzle. I need to go back to photographing kids. Their free spirit, innocence and wonder with the most simple of things makes me happy and to be able to capture that on camera completes me. If I can return back to more of what 10 years at my studio taught me, then I’ll feel complete both professionally and creatively.
I implore you to find your missing puzzles. We all have missing pieces to the whole picture and we owe it to ourselves to never continue the journey to fulfilling the vision of the life that we want to live. I’m confident that I’ll be missing more puzzles over the years, but I’ll always be exploring and searching.
My hope is that I never finish my life puzzle. I continue to find challenge, hope, creativity and answers to my frustrations when I look for these missing pieces when they appear lost. My life is often like a scavenger hunt and often finding those little things is all it takes to get me back on track.
Thanks for listening,