Yesterday was the most intense emotional roller coaster ever. It just sort of rocked me to my core and today I feel like I’m just scrambling for air. And I hate that feeling.
I spent the day in the hospital with the sweetest family that lost their baby unexpectedly during labor. One minute you have a healthy baby kicking and squirming as you suffer through natural labor and the next it’s an emergency c-section as you deliver a dead baby. WTF? Every second of last night and today I’ve been wondering what the mom is doing. Praying for her. Just wondering if she’s eating and thinking about their other kiddos and hoping she’s sleeping.
A friend said you can have a hangover after such an emotional day and that’s what this feels like I guess even though I’m not sure I’ve ever truly suffered from an actual hangover. Maybe this weekend while the kids are gone I’ll get totally drunk to see if the two compare.
Then I also got some news that I didn’t get excepted into this group I was trying to get into. Which basically means these other professional photographers don’t consider me a professional. I literally read that email the second I got home from the hospital which sent me into such a tear-fest I didn’t know I had that many tears left in me. Do I think I’m a perfect photographer? Hells no. But do I consider myself a professional? Um. Yeah. And they don’t. Because my work isn’t good enough.
And what sucks the most is that the people judging are talented photographers that I respect. SO it’s kind of like getting kicked in the gut and then peed on. Or something equally disgusting and horrible. I watch too much CSI and Law and Order and Criminal Minds.
I did get some good news yesterday too. A super reputable design company wants to use our images on their products. Super cool. I mean, they use a TON of photographers work so it’s not like it’s ONLY my work but still. Cool to be recognized.
And yet, totally infuriating! How can one reputable place think I’m crap and one want to use my images to promote their products?
The kids are leaving tomorrow to spend the weekend with my parents and my sister’s family up in WI. From Friday morning until Monday afternoon we are KID FREE and it’s going to be glorious. An epic weekend for sure.
Of course my main goal after getting the taxes done was to finish an absolute crap load of editing and now I can’t get past ONE image. I stared at the same gallery for TWO HOURS tonight wondering if the skin tones were too blue or too red. How as my composition? Did I need to crop or was I ok? How am I technically? Is it creative enough? AHGHRGHARGH.
I hate this feeling of being just rocked to my core. If I’m not worthy of being considered a professional than what the hell am I? Professional in the sense that people pay me for my images but not pro enough to be accepted? I guess that’s it. There were some incredibly sweet notes on my FB page tonight after I mentioned this rocked feeling and the main thought was to just let it slide. Move past it all. Ignore it. Learn from it. Grow. Which I would LOVE to do b/c some of their words were true. The areas they noted I need improving on are mostly correct (I HAVE to say that what ticked me off about the whole thing is that they critiqued the Mohr adoption session! That was shot at like ISO 6400 in a DARK courtroom hallway! Not only was it a free and non-pro session, it was absolutely the worst lighting conditions ever. How do you get perfect skin exposure there?) and I do know there are some changes I really need to work on.
The part I’ve been struggling to move past tonight is the doubt. And lack of confidence. This feeling of being completely and utterly paralyzed. How do you have someone say you’re not worthy of being a professional “among us” and then go on to edit your paid client work? How do you not doubt all of your post-processing every step of the way that just two days before you could have done in your sleep?
I keep coming back to the fact that this came yesterday. Of all days. When I was so concerned for that sweet family I hardly had time to think about that email. Did God ordain that so I would be reminded of keeping perspective? Because the entire day yesterday felt ordained by Him so the timing of it all shouldn’t surprise me.
Tonight my three beautiful children are sleeping upstairs in their beds where I can go kiss them one last time goodnight. Tonight there is a woman safe at home with her three children who are, I’m sure, sleeping just as peacefully as mine are. And I bet she’s giving them one last kiss too. But one of her babies is sleeping with Jesus tonight. And it’s not fair.
If SHE had gotten a critique yesterday it wouldn’t have mattered one teeny tiny iota to her. How is that even a blip on the screen after you’ve lost a baby?
And so? Fuck that critique. I’m going to delete it and chose to grow from it. I’m going to PROVE THEM ALL WRONG. Prove that I am a professional and can survive in this business. Because my babies are sleeping right now and that is absolutely more important than anything else.
You ARE a professional. The best of the best. DO NOT doubt that. At the core, this is about acceptance–something we all struggle with. Do not let that affect your work, because they are separate issues! You are SO good, Jodie, and I know you’ll get back into your groove, because you just get stuff done, and at the end of the day, you won’t let it slow you down. There’s no time for that! Anyone critiquing something like the Mohr adoption ISN’T reading the story–and your art IS the story (one of the reasons I’m glad your getting backinto lifestyle sessions!). I’m sure that if you work hard enough and study it, anyone can take a great, technical photo—bit having it tell a story is where the talent is. Your services speak to that, and so does the blog. Your clients know it and LOVE that about your work, because no one does it better. So yeah, take the tips that are technically helpful and let go of the rest of it–and dear God, do not let it affect the way you tell a family’s story on film! Hang in there…I’m looking forward to having you tell the story of how I posed in my underwear in a few weeks (it’s a comedy).
I understand how you feel. It’s hard to swell up with gratitude when you want that for the family who experienced profound loss. It’s shared loss.
And those dipwads? They are no different than the snot kids who look down at everyone else in school. Ef ‘em and start your own group of Professionals — but don’t let them in. Make your group the one everyone wants to join. We never really leave the playground.
This brought tears to my eyes. I hope you’re feeling better today.
FWIW – and I know it’s not the same as professional peer recognition – I think your work is great!
I think it hurts so much b/c you have such a big heart. Not only does it show in your everyday life, but you put your heart and soul into your work as well. People want you capture their sweet babies, families, and celebrations of life and death for that very reason. I don’t believe anyone is simply hiring you because every single shot is properly exposed or whatever technical BS was brought up. I do, however, believe in you and your professionalism. <3
Feeling in the same boat right now and wanted to let you know you’re not alone.
You are fantastic. It sucks that they don’t see that. But you’re still fantastic.
Jodi… you’ve just learned such a valuable lesson and experienced one of the reasons why I LOVE my job in the ER so much, even after 31 years… the daily reminder that other peoples opinions don’t matter. There really ARE more important things – like LIFE itself – than what some crazy ass collection of self appointed ‘experts’ think!!
All part of the learning curve… you’re doing more than fine…
Jodie, I’ve been following your blog since I started my photography journey a few years ago. I’m so saddened to read this post and felt compelled to comment. You are an AMAZING photographer and please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Besides your photography skills, you are generous and caring and quite clearly an amazing mother. And I’d take those qualities over photography skills any day. Seriously, don’t let those people get you down. You’re awesome! MORE than awesome!