Years ago, I went through a pretty rough breakup. It crushed me and was the first time I really experienced true heartbreak; at the time, it seemed like the end of the world. After a week of feeling sorry for myself, I knew I had to pick myself up and move on with my life. But how?
I realized that slowly, I had lost myself in the relationship. I seldom did the things that I had once loved doing, I had abandoned my own loves, wants and needs to focus on someone else’s. While I couldn’t see it at the time, this breakup was the best thing that could have ever happened to me, because eventually I was able to find myself once again and value the “old me” that I had left behind in the dust.
You know what the best part of a breakup is? Your best friends. Friends who stick with you through thick and thin, even when you’ve been a huge asshole. They look past that. I thank my lucky stars all the time that I have such great girls to call my best friends. Christina, Kristy and Natalie all got me through that tough time. Natalie moved in with me, Christina offered great support and advice (and cocktails) and Kristy showed me the most awesome month of May in Indianapolis. With a little help from these gal pals, things turned around for me.
I started going to more concerts. I always loved music so I immersed myself in the Indianapolis music scene. I went to shows big and small, discovering talented local bands and grimey hole-in-the-wall venues. In doing this, I reconnected with old friends from high school, one of which inspired me to pick up photography once again. With his encouragement, I purchased a new camera and began experimenting with one of my long-lost passions. I went to shows with him and was able to witness the amazing images he would capture, itching to be able to do the same.
So I took the plunge and was able to land my first gig photographing Monolith music festival in Colorado. While I was more excited about this opportunity than I had been about anything in the past several years, I was also scared out of my mind. Yes, I had taken photography classes in high school and college but I hadn’t seriously done any photography in years. I went to a local show and played around with angles, lighting, camera settings and lenses, just to see what happened. Looking over the pictures on my computer that night, I figured they weren’t too terrible, but wasn’t sure if they warranted a media pass for one of the most incredible music venues in the nation: Red Rocks. But hey, you know what they say…just dive in!
So I hopped on a plane and off I went to Denver. I was ready for an escape with one of my dearest friends and couldn’t be more excited to see so many of my favorite bands all packed into two fun-filled days in Colorado. I spent the first few days in Denver touring the city by bicycle with my camera around my shoulders snapping away at everything from the skateboard park to street performers to the gorgeous scenery. The time finally came for us to go to the festival and I knew this was it.
The first few bands were nerve-racking. You get the first three songs of each band/artist to take as many pictures as you need, and then that’s it. You have to pick that perfect spot in the photo pit that will get you all the right shots, because sometimes there isn’t much room to move around. What if you decide to stand towards the left but the singer only faces the right? What if you don’t have time to change lenses? What if you miss that critical moment that the band does something off-the-wall and unbelievable…that moment that you know you HAVE to capture? It’s enough to drive you crazy!
After going through the first few bands with this mindset, I had to tell myself to just have fun. Let yourself go; don’t simply be a photographer, be an artist. Get inspired and just let it happen. This is something that I love to do, so why take the fun out of it? ENJOY it. And I did.
When I got back to Indianapolis and pulled up the pictures on my computer, I was so proud. I knew I had found my niche. I hadn’t done anything lately that made me feel like I truly accomplished something. I hadn’t done anything that really gave me a sense of joy. This was it, I had found it again.
From that weekend on, photography became my favorite hobby once again. I don’t make much (if any at times) money from doing it, and I don’t really try to turn it into a money-maker. I do it because I love it. I love the anticipation of waiting for a band to get on stage, hearing the crowd roar behind me and truly being in the moment, capturing it for people to remember or see for the first time. When the music starts up, my adrenaline starts pumping and I know I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing. I’ve had the great honor of photographing for some great people such as the folks at My Old Kentucky Blog, being able to capture performances at Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and all over Indianapolis.
Looking forward to another season of concerts and festivals, I am so happy that this once-lost hobby of mine is still very much a part of me. It has given me the chance to meet amazing people all over the place, including my current boyfriend, who encourages and supports me instead of judging and trying to change me.
Some great advice I was told by my best friend Christina: you’ll never be happy with someone else if you’re not happy with yourself. So go out and find what makes YOU happy.