THIS SUMMER

i’m writing this at my grandma’s farm in genava, nebraska. i’m looking at the gravel roads and corn that goes on for miles. and miles. and it’s actually not that hot out. and i’m eating some cheetos. and my cheeto fingers are getting the keys on my laptop all greasy and i wanted to share some things that have been on my mind lately and some things i’ve taken away from this summer. these things are a lot of little things and are probably unorganized but stick with me here. i think they are important. at the very least they’re important for me to write down for myself-

SOME TID-BITS

1. new photography motto- don’t take forgettable photographs.

2. i love long sleeve t-shirts.

3. i started out this summer thinking that traveling lots would some how fill me cup and make me SO happy. and yes, it’s true, meeting new people and shooting photos in new places is a blast but guess what? the most fun i ever had this summer, the time i felt most alive, the time that i literally ended every day in goosebumps was the week i spent as a high school camp counselor at the nebraska show choir camp in freakin lincoln nebraska doing nothing but leading high schoolers, hanging out with them, realizing how cool they are, pouring my heart into them and showing them how fun singing and dancing can be. it. was. amazing.

4. i feel like writing these lists makes me seem like a really deep person who is always thinking about how heavy life is but you should know that my summer has been FREAKIN FUN. so much fun. so many laughs. any why? because i’m shooting and doing things i love. with people i love.

see, this summer i’ve technically had far less photographic success than i did last summer. but for once, i’m doing things that matter to me. i’m doing shoots that matter to me. and i’ve decided that just being a good photographer isn’t enough. i need to live for more. (side note- i owe a ton of thanks to my friend sidney morgan for inspiring me to live for more than photos and to do photography that’s important to you. thanks sid.) and this promise to myself lead me to hosting my first workshop (WHICH WAS AMAZING) and giving a TED talk (tomorrow!).

and these are things i’m damn proud of myself for doing because i could have NEVER seen myself having the confidence or the drive to do them even a year ago.

NEXT- TWO LITTLE STORIES ABOUT ME THINKING MY LIFE IS HARD

1. whenever i’m thinking that my business is hard or challenging (which stupidly is often) i think of my friend nick who’s working 10 hour days outside installing retaining walls, waterfalls, and gardens in 100 degree weather and i suddenly snap back to reality and realize that my life is not hard and i’m damn blessed to have the job i have.

2. on the same token, at the workshop i was giving last week, i learned that one of the photographer attendees named isabel lives with a disorder called POTS. basically this means the faints uncontrollably and with out warning almost every day. this disorder kept her from attending college last year because there’s no way that she could go not knowing that the next minute she might faint on the side walk, in her dorm room, or in class. but- through the past year isabel has filled the gap that college left with starting her photography business. and holy heck has she grown into an amazing photographer. she said this at the workshop to all of the other young photographers in attendance “to me, photography means redefining myself. i’m no longer known as isabel, the girl who faints, i’m know as isabel the photographer.” goosebumps.

the next time i think my life is hard just slap me ok?

SOME QUOTES I’VE HEARD THIS SUMMER

-i’m on the hunt for who i haven’t yet become.

-happiness is wearing your heart on your sleeve.

-you are the only one who can create your own happiness.

-trees that grow fast die fast.

-if you’re moving a million miles an hour you are in everyone’s way.

-when life gives you nebraska, eat corn.

-there’s not a lot of company in the extra mile.

-life is often like a bow and arrow- you have to pull back before you can move forward.

-you might not need to change what you do, but you might need to change why you do it.

-life is going to fail you it’s full of people.

SOME PROMISES I’VE MADE TO MYSELF

-when i’m investing my time in others i’m not worrying about what other people are thinking about me or what other people are causing. i promise to give more of myself to other people.

-i will never give up on kids.

-being a good photographer isn’t enough. i promise to live for more.

-i promise to have more fun.

-i haven’t been involved with a church or religion since middle school and though sometimes it’s been on my mind, i’ve brushed it off because i was too busy or because it scared me. but since this past june i’ve promised myself to have an open mind about religion and christianity. i’ve been able to meet and learn and challenge my friends and new friends in conversation about christianity and it’s been an incredible learning process. (more to come on this soon)

-lastly, i promise to try to like dogs.

IN SUMMARY

to quote a very wise man named jason mraz “i’ve got to learn what i’ve got, who i’m not and who i am.” the past few months have been a huge period of growth for me. i’m not as good as i want to be, but i think i’m on the way. this summer has been nothing i expected and everything i needed. life is so damn happy and so alive and i’m doing a little happy dance. WOOOHOOOO!!!

to finish this post off, i thought i’d share a few images i took of my grandma just after i finished writing this. taking these photos was important to me.

thanks for listening guys.