Instagram is a phenomenal platform which allows us to create an online presence that displays exactly how we want our lives to appear. We can curate the perfect life, with perfect light, perfect brunch, beautiful flowers and choose exactly what we share. It's brilliant but also hard to find the authentic person behind the square image and gauge what's really happening in their lives. Doesn't everyone look insanely cool and successful on social media? I have been on both sides of this and I struggle with the balance of honoring my authentic self and putting my best foot forward. It's also hard to accept that as a mother, I am still a bartender and am not the super successful photographer that I want to be...yet. It's a process and I have come to know that everyone has been there, or is there, and you have to honor your individual path.
I am inspired to share this after seeing a photo by one of my favorite bloggers Jessica Reed Kraus. She posted an image recently and wrote about how her and her husband started their Etsy shop as a last resort after she didn't get a waitressing job. Now, 5 years later, they have a great business and she is able to be super mom. Seriously, if you don't follow her blog, do it right now. She has the cutest boys and a super rad So-Cal beach life. I identified with this story so much and respect Jessica for being honest and authentic.
After a decade in Los Angeles, I know people in various creative fields ranging in levels of success who all started somewhere. I know people who are one TV shows that still work in restaurants and it's great! They are making it work and keeping their path and this sacrifice and determination will eventually pay off. I have to admit, I am guilty of keeping my bar job private and since I have one foot out the door, don't really identify with it anymore which makes it really hard to claim. But recently, while I was having dinner in my home town, a friend of mine was telling me that he was about to graduate from college. I congratulated him and he made a comment about how nice it must be for me to have gotten out of restaurants with my creative career. HA! I corrected him and reassured that I still bartend a couple of nights a week. For the longest time, I was embarrassed to admit this, especially at gatherings in Los Angeles where everyone is just so damn fabulous. How do you tell an award winning anything that you still work in a restaurant and feel like you're on the same level? At that point, no one will take you seriously as a photographer, you're a bartender, period. I am finally booking consistent work with photography and feel my restaurant career nearing an end. In the meantime, I am embracing this path and appreciating this job which has served me very well over the past few years. It has enabled me to spend every day with Wallace and take time off as needed to shoot. I would not have been able to establish a photography career without this job. I can also occasionally drink beer at work when it's really hot and there aren't many jobs that allows that. Such a win.
Being an artist is very different than a being a business professional because there is no linear path or blueprint for how to move forward. It's a choose your own adventure situation where tons of ideas are thrown against the wall and fingers are crossed that something works. Add social media and the inevitable comparisons into the mix and it's hard not to get discouraged. After all, everyone is putting their best self forward. But the glitter isn't always gold and everyone is at a different point in their life. I am so grateful for authentic people like Jessica Kraus, who isn't afraid to be honest about her journey. If you're working a side job and you're not where you want to be, keep working. Keep making good art, doing good work and eventually, it will happen. For the first time since I started shooting professionally, I see light at the end of the tunnel and nothing feels better than years of hard work paying off. You can do it, we are in this together.
Here are some recent snapshots of my family who I have been able to see because of my flexible restaurant schedule. Grateful for times like these. All shot on 35mm.