Words matter and so does reflection.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

— Mark Twain

I’ve been pondering the thought of starting some type of blog, journal, or online publication for the longest. It became closer to reality when I started Urbane Aperture in 2017. After walking the tightrope for a little over a year, I finally decided to “do and be” instead of feeling regret later. This is where the pixels I capture, content I create, and my experience in life are translated through the process of writing. Where photography, photographers, portraits, creatives meet the process of sitting with thoughts and asking, “What do my eyes see and what does this mean?”

Wish me luck and encouragement as the journey begins, because I’ll take all I can get.

While searching for something to help me reflect on photography in 2018, I landed across Josh S. Rose’s post on Finding Purpose in Photography. It hit home. The part that was most impactful from my vantage point was his feelings on the state of social media and the illusion of what a follower count gives someone:

Making it even more complex these days, social media has created a kind-of fictitious success ladder, rooted in a generalized hierarchy of followers — a number that can be easily gamed and which rarely equates on a one-to-one level with talent. I’ve felt it myself — I’ll have made it if I get to 5k! I’ll have made it if I get to 10k! I’ll have made it if I get to 15k! I’m at 20k followers currently and the number doesn’t define me as a photographer any more now than it did two years ago. Because purpose comes from inside.  — Josh S. Rose

That purpose we search for will not be handed to us because we flaunt on the gram. Posing to be something you’re not, or posting without a sense of what’s right or wrong all for likes can lead down a perilous path. Just imagine if our social media influencers of today used their “influence” and energy towards something more worthwhile than promoting flat tummy tea. How many of that 5K, 10K, 15K, or 20K followers can someone say they have an actual real-life connection with? Would photographers keep shooting if online photo communities didn’t exist anymore? Does their clout evaporate with it? Where do our passions and convictions actually lie?

Finding my focus.

I recently had a conversation with a childhood friend of mine, Muresuk. Our parents worked at the same nursing home and when my mom would work, his mom would babysit my sister and I. We lost touch through middle school and high school, but recently connected again a few years ago post-college. Our conversation centered around, “What’s in your focus?”

We typcally talk ourselves out of things because of fear, doubt, etc. It’s ok to feel those emotions; this doesn’t mean however you have to be those emotions. The emotions you feel don’t have to be the response you give. —Muresuk

The posture to find focus should be that of a captain leading his or her ship. To pick up a compass and actually voyage to those places that have captured your heart. It was tough sailing at first, but photography has captured mine. I’ve been shooting wedding, event, and portrait photography in Minnesota since 2012 and haven’t stopped.

“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” — Jonathan Safran Foer

It’s the dreams and visions that we press against in the self-doubt our minds that leave the pits in our stomachs. 5-years after I picked up a camera, I gathered up the courage to go out and voyage, explore, dream, and discover through starting a business. It would have been easy to say, I’ll just do this as a hobby and never take a leap. Instead, I decided to make a vow. One that’s intentionally lived in the pursuit between the days I release my shutter and the time spent looking for new clients and people to create with. I guess the few years spent putting people in focus helped me in return. Putting a frame around an important part of my life and allowing me to stop straining. Because picking one or two directions is better than picking none at all.

What are you talking yourself out of? Are you letting your emotions rule you or are you letting them fuel your journey to take you to a life unexplored? I ask, “What’s in your focus?” Your life is calling.

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