Taking a Step Back

I have been thinking a lot about when I first began playing with social media. It was well over a decade a ago, when my long dormant love of photography was fed, watered, and shown the light of day. While searching for knitting patterns online, I stumbled across blog after blog of yarn enthusiast. From there I found out that bloggers used a site called Flickr  to host and share their photography.  I was enamored and jumped in to the fun. I photographed and shared daily. First, using a small point and shoot camera Sony Cybershot, and eventually upgrading to my first DSLR. I lugged my Canon 30D around with me every day. I didn’t have children yet, but I did have light and shadow to chase, friends and events to document. And the knitting projects I was working through, oh and cooking.  Blogging gave me a place to not only share my photography, but a place to write. I have always loved to write and have kept a journal for a very long time. Now, I was able to include photos and illustrate what I was up to! I would hop from blog to blog, leaving comments on new pages. I would and gather inspiration and ideas and then share my own hoping to do the same for my followers. I made contacts and connections. Here were all these people interested in similar things as me – photography, knitting, sewing, cooking and eventually, motherhood. It was magic.  Slowly and quietly though, the social media I used started to shift. Clicks and comments on my blog and Flickr page began to fade. I couldn’t figure it out until I caught wind of where all the cool kids were hanging out these days. They were down the street at a place called Instagram. I was sharing an iPod with my husband at the time and began to snag it at almost every chance I had. We still didn’t have smart phones, so the iPod was my tool. I started to snap fuzzy images on the device and ran them through funky filters within the app before sharing them on my new Instagram feed. It was fun, and no one took themselves too seriously out there back then. You couldn’t upload images from other cameras and so it was a level playing field. My blog was still around, and I actually expanded to write on two other community blogs as well. But at some point, I didn’t feel like I had content to share for both the other blogs and my own. I realize I was ignoring my own corner of web and life, but I had a mobile app that was faster and quicker and didn’t require me to sit down and upload images anywhere and then write. The blog’s long hand form wasn’t as appealing at that point – I was a new mom and exhausted most of the time. Quick and easy was good.I could snap a photo with my (now upgraded) iPhone, run it through a couple of apps and BOOM, out to the web with a few hashtags and a witty comment. I was still connecting with photographers, and foodies as well as creatives of all sorts. New friendships were made, restaurants and yoga studios found. There was inspiration at every scroll. But recently, things have started to feel different, actually not only feel, but were different on Instagram (and social media in general).  Instagram wasn’t so instant anymore, with the inclusion of algorithms posts would appear out of order throwing me into a social media time warp of sorts… And then there are the advertisements. Adds started to pop up every third or four image driving me crazy. Scrolling through started to feel like a chore…And then there was the fact that my blog, this very website that you are reading now, it has been sitting neglected. Yet, words and stories and images were floating around in my head asking to be let out and put down in some form or another. I regularly write poems in my mind as I drive to and from work. I love to watch the light dance around and sing to me as I drive down the street. I wondering about the stories the people at each bus stop have to tell, and where the man on the corner with his shopping cart had slept at the wet night before. But I wasn’t sharing any of this. Maybe sometimes on my Instagram feed, but usually the words would be lost and forgotten as I parked the car at the office and started my day.
I attended events and parties and photographed them. I walked and hiked and camped and traveled with my family, photographing them as we went. Still documenting adventures and everyday life which in the past would have been written down and illustrated with my photographs out here on the blog. But I often dismissed these as unworthy because, “my clients don’t want to see that” or “these doesn’t fit into my business plan”…  I started to edit myself and my life to fit into what I thought others wanted to see.I started to change how I shared. And that was okay. I know I don’t need to share every moment (but I sort of was over on Instagram). What has been stirring in my mind is the fact that I have stopped telling stories.And that was okay…. but it also wasn’t.
Because you know what? I have missed having a place to come to and write. I have missed sharing little and BIG moments, even if I can’t categorize them into client based work for my photography business. I am ready to start sharing here again.  Share not only client stories- your stories, but also our stories as well. Maybe some of you will stick around for this, and maybe you won’t. Perhaps no one will read what I write and see what I see, but it really isn’t about that.  It’s about finding my voice again, finding my eye again. Finding rhythm in my own thoughts and creativity.  Will I still share client work? heck yes! but what I also want to do is share my work. Share what makes me light up. This could mean images and stories of my children. It might be images of my yoga practice (did you know I teach twice a week?),  or what I cooked last night for dinner. It might be the light out my office window or my best friend laughing with her daughter. But I wan’t to come back to this slow paced way of sharing. Will you join me?

Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa~

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