I am visiting my old high school today. Not the one I graduated from. The one before that one. The fancy $30K a year prep school that I walked away from. That one.
And because I'm Michelle and because I feel the weight of things, big and small, today is a big deal to me. In so many ways.
I wanted to write something to give to them.
And as I wrote and revised, I really began to ask myself, "Do I tell the truth?"
I really began to ask myself some important questions.
Anyhow, here is what I'm handing out:
In My Opinion
Photography is everywhere. Photographers are everywhere. From the paparazzi to the ad campaigns to the tiny exhibit in the local library to your instagram feed. It all looks so damn pretty. And there’s nothing wrong with pretty, but I’m in this life for more than playing pretend.
Here’s the thing.
I still believe that photography has the power to save the world. I still believe that photography has the power to save our broken hearts. I still believe that photography has power.
But in order to tell those healing stories; in order to be a vehicle of change, you have to go deep within the seat of your soul, and then shoot from one place: the truth.
Is it easy? Nope. Will there be rejection and intimidation and swimming against the tides? Probably.
But all of that will only make you a stronger artist.
It’s not about the magazine covers, or the credibility or the book rights. It’s not about how many ‘likes’ you get or how many teachers tell you ‘good job.’
We have to be careful about which carrots we are chasing.
Images that speak to people, even when they can’t quite pinpoint why or how; doing the work that takes your business off of the page, off of Facebook and the internet, and into the real-life heart of living, that’s the work that’s worth doing.
When you take the time to unplug from it all, and tap into your message, your story, your gorgeous and authentic view of the world.
When you get the should-boogie-man off your back.
When you dare to stand in the pouring rain of your truth without an umbrella.
Then your images will save the world.
Then your images will sing with the power of a hundred choruses, because then, and only then, will you be telling the stories we all so desperately need to hear.
Photographers are everywhere, and it is my invitation to you, when you bring that camera or that phone or whatever the future holds up to your face, to be one of the ones who tells the truth.