It’s here! Volume 3 of Roots Magazine is now available for digital download through the shop tab on my website. Here is an excerpt of one of the articles I wrote. Enjoy.
Did you know that the human brain is still developing until around the age of twenty five? Scientists and researchers used to believe that your brain was pretty much developed around your teens, but current research is revealing that the developmental period of adolescence goes on long after we leave our teen years. It’s true that our brain stops growing in size in adolescence, but the connections between neurons and the development of our different lobes continue well into our twenties.
While this may be new information for you, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Though our brains are more plastic in adolescence, you can still learn new things later in life. How else would we excel at our jobs, or build new, healthy relationships, or raise children, or do anything new in life? Our brains are more receptive to learning new things through adolescence and early adulthood, but it’s also important to continue that sense of wonder and learning throughout our whole lives.
Trying new and creative endeavors is one way to keep learning and growing. My current passion is photography. I started shooting digital images three years ago. I’d borrow a friend’s camera when I went on trips to Seattle or Portland (bless him for letting me borrow something I had no way of replacing if I lost or damaged it!). I eventually was able to purchase my own Canon Rebel, a wonderful crop sensor starter camera, and began working on the craft of portrait photography.
I reached out to other local photographers with questions and asked for advice. I started going to meet-ups and community events for creative people from a variety of fields. Not only was this a great way to grow my understanding of the craft, but it was a wonderful way to meet new people, to socialize, and to creative new friendships in my life. In fact, I met my best friend through Instagram just over a year ago. She’s a local illustrator, and an incredible person to have in my life.
I practiced with friends that I knew would be patient with me and supportive of my goals. My portrait photography skills have grown so much, along with my confidence. I still get anxious before each shoot. Will I make the client happy? Am I truly worth what I charge? What I’ve learned from my peers and mentors though, is that clients are hiring me because they like my work, they connect with my style, and they trust my abilities. I try to remind myself of this each time I work with a client, and to remove those thoughts of inadequacy as soon as they start to creep in.
I consider my work as a photographer as a side hustle. This, for me, keeps the endeavor sacred; I’m not dependent on it for my main income, so there is very little pressure to book jobs. I work full time at a local high school in the admissions department and love engaging with adolescent girls. I use my free time to shoot with other photographers, models, and friends, and appreciate the fact that booking clients allows me to pay for other passions, like film photography.
Old photographs, family heirlooms, long-standing traditions - I’ve always been interested in them. I love looking at photographs of my grandmother when she was a little girl, growing up in rural Oregon with her two brothers and mom and dad. I love all of the jewelry she’s passed down to me. It’s sweet to look through photographs of my parents when they were young and in love; when my own brothers and I were little and our family so young.
About eight months ago I decided to try my hand at film photography. I asked my dad if I could borrow his KS Super II. I remember being so nervous about that first roll and if it would even turn out. To be honest, I always have that sense of nervousness and eagerness with each roll, especially when I’m self-developing black and white film in a dark room.
One of the greatest lessons film photography is teaching me is about patience. My astrological sign is Capricorn, and I’ll share with you what that means about me: I’m hugely impatient. I love immediate gratification. I like to be in control of things. And I like for things to go my way. Film is teaching me to be patient from start to finish. Unlike a digital camera, you don’t get to see the image right away on a screen and adjust to reshoot if necessary. I’m reliant on someone else to develop my color film and digitally scan it. I want to be mindful of what I shoot, because with just 36 exposures, and about $30 total from the film to development to scanning, I need to use my money and shots wisely.
One of the things I love about film is that I know virtually nothing about it. There will always be something new to learn, a video tutorial to watch, a conversation with experts to have, and different techniques to try. My favorite thing to work on right now is double exposing images. I’ll first shoot scenery, maybe a building or tree, and then shoot a second image on top of it, like someone’s profile or a flower, and come out with two images stacked on top of each other. You really never know what you’re going to get, and that is part of the joy of it. Even the strangest outcome can be cool and unique.
My dad has reminded me throughout the years that we rarely get to do what we love as our main income. That’s not to say that we won’t love and appreciate our jobs. But more often than not, our greatest passion is not our main source of income. This is true for me. The work that I do with the girls I work with makes my heart sing. But my film photography is something that I do just for me. It will forever be a challenge, one that I meet eagerly and excitedly. It brings me joy, and a sense of accomplishment when I learn something new, or improve my work with double exposures.
Side hustles and creative outlets are so important to our mental and physical wellbeing. It can provide a secondary source of income, or simply a form of self-exploration and expression. What is your passion? What would you like to learn more about? Perhaps it’s photography like me. Maybe it’s learning a new language, working with a nonprofit or learning how to play an instrument. Whatever it is, throw yourself into it. Learn from those more experienced than you. Put yourself out there to meet new people and gain new experiences. I can assure you that you won’t regret it if you are following your heart and your passion.