Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When Life Likes To See How Much You Can Take...

Do you ever get tired of hearing the same old adages that are supposed to make you feel better, but really just make your eyes roll?

"The night is darkest before the dawn."
"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
"It could always be worse," or "look at the bright side!"
"Anything worth having doesn't come easy."
"It's not about how many times you get knocked down, but about how many times you get back up...."

...and on and on. I'm well aware that negativity feeds negativity, and only results in more negative things. I really do try to be a positive person, but lately I can't help but get caught up in all of the unlucky, unfortunate events that keep happening one after the other. Like life is testing me to see how much I can handle. And sure enough, my close friends or people who see me every day have noticed not only that I'm feeling sick, but just not as upbeat as I normally am, and they all chime in with one of the above sayings in an attempt to give me perspective or cheer me back up. My favorite is the one with the half shrug and an eyebrow raise/smirk. You know what face I'm talking about.

I catch myself complaining, or wallowing in self-pity, and get frustrated because that's not who I am. I find myself saying, "I'm not asking for much, I just want to put my skills to use and have them be appreciated." And then my inner voice goes "STOP IT!"

It's quite a challenge to maintain a positive attitude as a passionate photographer and creative individual when my 5 year old DSLR got rained on a couple of weeks ago at the East Coast Surf Championships and was rendered "un-fixable" because of all the corrosion inside. The camera that started it all--fostered my love for photography, provided some of my first great images, got me my first photo job as a staff photographer for my college newspaper--is just gone.

A lot of people probably think I'm nutso for having such emotional ties to an inanimate object, but in a lot of ways it's like saying goodbye to an old pet, one you've been through so much with. Photography is the one thing in life that I don't have to think about when I do it, and I love the perspective it gives me on simple, everyday things. Just check out my Instagram
and you'll see what I mean. That camera is what helped me realize all this.

Sure, I could go into all the ridiculous other unfortunate things that have happened in the past month or two. But I don't think I have enough space on here to do so (hah), and who would want to read all of that anyway? Enough is enough. I can't keep letting this negativity eat away at me. Nowadays it's so easy to get sucked into this black hole of self pity and whine and complain, and no one wants to be around that kind of person. Clearly the stress of it all has now made me sick, and that's a wake up call in and of itself. So I resort to my other love, writing, which I haven't been able to do a lot of lately. Right now I work full time Mon-Fri 8-5 at a university, a position that ends in two weeks, while working weekends at the mall, and owning my own photography business doing freelance gigs on the side. I do this because I know none of it is permanent and can change in an instant, and God forbid I wind up with nothing. But as a result, I'm on overload all. the. time. For once I would love to just find a creative job that lets me utilize all of my talents...then I wouldn't be stretched so thin. I'd hate to be a "Jack of all trades but an Ace of none."

So on a more positive note,  I'd like to share with you all some of the last images I got to take on my trusty 40D before its untimely death. Ironically I had such a blast at the 50th ECSC this year. It's the epitome of the kind of event I love covering: it's outside on the beach, lots of people having a good time (makes for great candids), lots of activities going on (AWESOME action shots) and concerts like three times a day. But this made it such a roller coaster of emotions. I experienced such a high after photographing Breathe Carolina that Friday night (they do the song "Blackout" on the radio right now). They put on one hell of a concert, and I got to shoot from literally right under them in the VIP area...all of that joy only to be crushed by a heavy rainstorm that ruined my camera the following morning. Luckily, one of my friends let me borrow his 5D to continue shooting that weekend...but I just couldn't get into it after that knowing my camera was probably done for.

So anyway, here are a few of my favorite images from that weekend, for more head on over to my website: www.jessicasheaphotography.com. And I'm sure you're wondering where all of the surfing pictures are....another irony, I didn't get any this year. My zoom lens was on my camera when it got rained on and totally ruined the autofocus. I was letting it air dry the whole weekend :/

But I'm happy with the other shots that made me focus on instead:
Breathe Carolina's David Schmitt

Breathe Carolina's Kyle Even

Men's footvolley tournament

EJ Bollmann from Va Beach's Cheap Thrills

Thanks for hanging in there till the end if you read all that!! Hopefully the pictures were worth it :)

Until next time--
"Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives."