I have been brewing over my dreams the last few months as I consider where I want my business to go. Six years have passed, and I look around in awe. This is real. You’ve done it, Kelly. You made a business from scratch. I was eighteen when I created my first online portfolio, and nineteen with my first paid customer. It still posed as a cool, paid hobby to bolster my book budget as a lucky college student.
People often ask, “Are you going to do photography full time?” “Oh, nah! I don’t want that,” I gently scoff.
My dad was a new-age thinker. He believed that we could change the world for the better with intentional decisions and problem solving. He inspired me to be a part of the solution, not the problem. So, that’s what I wanted to do with my work, which I believed didn’t align with photography since it was my creative outlet on the side, and nothing else.
I have been wrestling with my purpose, as most do. I keep wondering why I choose photography over and over again. I choose it on the hardest days and the best days, even when I was setting up my life for something else entirely. So, now I am on a precipice between what old-me wants and what new-me needs.
My dad saw what new-me was gearing up for all along. He saw the old-me shifting and wilting. So, he invested his time, energy, and resources into Kelly Photo & Design with a heart for memories. For me, photography isn’t about what the world should see, but what the world could show us.
He saw how art and emotions light up my soul—all the way since day one. He saw my dedication to ballet as I limped home in my sweat-stained leotard and blistering toes; he would show up to every performance to see my smile. He saw my sporadic presence in theater as I tapped, howled, and spun across the stage. He saw my dramatic reaction to Titanic’s tragedy and softly laughed at my rolling tears. He even saw my big toddler feelings when I would scrunch up my face and narrow my eyes at him. He saw my deep desire to express, and not only that, but be an artistic change-maker. He saw that I didn’t like doorways or hallways, but big, open spaces where the wind flutters and the fields cluster. He knew I liked to fly.
But, our deadline barks as we march toward a shrouded end. My twenty-four-year-old self looks around and digs her heels in. All we have in life is truly our memories. And our emotions. And how we express them. Really, photography isn’t about being pretty, but feeling pretty. It’s not about showing beauty, but seeing beauty. People and nature alike beg to be known deeper. The surface level of living is only a scratch of what could be. So, when we dig our heels in to create authentic spaces, our march to the end can be a dance instead.
This blog is groundwork for a life of smelling roses, smiling at pictures, laughing at mistakes, trudging through the muck, embracing creativity, and seeing humanity. I am working on building my wings, so my dad can watch me fly from above.