This seems to be everyone’s favorite question to ask me lately. “Nope, not quite yet” I continually respond with a hint of self-deprication. At this point it feels like I’ve developed a speech to justify my late graduation. “I just completed all of the requirements for my European Studies major in June after handing in my senior thesis, now all I have left is my French minor” (I’ll spare you the questions about what the heck I’m going to do with a European Studies major that usually follow). While most of my friends and colleagues finished the school year in June with degrees in hand and their futures and careers on the horizon, I managed to eke out one final quarter of three straggling classes. Come December, however, I will be thrust into the world without the security blanket of education that has sheltered me for over twenty years. Never before has the future seemed like such an enormous question mark, full of uncertainty and swelling with my apparent lack of professional ambition. Sure, I have goals in life (namely, move back to France. I have…have…to move back to France), but nothing seems to match up to the professional goals of so many of my peers. The more I poke around on the internet for internship opportunities or some way to get my foot in the door of the room where so many people are having an “I just started a new adult career” party, the more I realize that I don’t want to be anywhere near that room. To me it seems that when life is packed into that box of a room it becomes increasingly less beautiful and more banal by the minute.
But I want life to be beautiful.
That’s when I have to remind myself that we were all created with different passions and strengths. If we are able to align ourselves and our careers with those passions and strengths we certainly have a better shot at being happy than if we try to pigeon-hole ourselves into what society deems acceptable and necessary for “success”. That’s where photography comes into play for me.
My dad has always had cameras around the house. For as long as I can remember, he has been constantly in pursuit of a newer and more powerful camera (Canon, of course) and all the while I have watched with interest. It was not until two years ago that this interest translated into a hobby of sorts. When I left to spend six months studying abroad in Paris I knew that I wanted to take a good camera with me. My hand-me-down Rebel never left my side while I was abroad, though my experience was mostly trial-and-error. Gradually I became more comfortable with Monsieur Rebel and managed to take decent pictures. In the year that I’ve been home, however, my photography hobby has really become a passion. I am now learning the difference between what it means to take good pictures versus what it means to MAKE good pictures. I am ready to turn this passion into a profession. For me, when I have a camera in my hand I can truly see that life is beautiful.