“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” –e.e. Cummings
Each week we share a piece of us on our photographic journey. We have titled this series, “Courage to Grow”. We hope that our own soul searching will inspire similar introspection in our readers and that together we can make our best art and live our best lives.
I am frustrated. I have been very frustrated of late. Why? I am at that stage in my photography journey where I know how to rock the camera. I don't think about it while shooting; it is automatic. When I first started out, it would take an hour to do a simple session because I would be trying to work out the settings in manual. Now, I have moved into the stage where you find your voice, and develop your unique style. Catch phrases that are shared regularly around the photography community. Seriously, what do they even mean? I search endlessly online and in books for the answers on how to find my voice. Nothing hits me in the heart. It feels like lots of words and blah! I feel like Dory in Finding Nemo, searching the Australian coastal line for "P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney" with no idea how to find it.
I know how to identify a voice in another photographer's work, just not my own.
I can see the unique voice in other photographers. Their work pops into my feed and I know who it is instantly. They have a theme with their work, and the editing is consistent. They have their stuff sorted, and many started their journey the same time that I did. I am not comparing myself to them, but I know what it looks like. I know how to identify a voice in another photographer's work, just not my own.
My voice is quiet, and I am struggling to hear it.
If we were to meet in person, we you would see that I am a quiet person. I am not a loud talker, and often need to repeat myself. I am an introvert, and I am happy to let other's take centre stage. I grew up in a big family of fast talkers, where humour was bounced around very quickly. I could never keep up, so I listened. I am a listener. I am happy to sit in the quiet, and enjoy the peace. Not that my home is quiet with 5 children. In fact, I often crave peace. However to speak out, to express my voice, is difficult. I think this is why I struggle to find my voice with my photography. I have listened all of my life, and now I need to talk. My voice is quiet, and I am struggling to hear it.
In the mean time, I will continue to shoot from the heart
and wait until my voice finds me.
I tell you this not because I want you to critique my work. I don't want you to say "But you have a voice" or "Your work is unique". I don't want to you to pat me on the back, and give me compliments. I tell you this because maybe you feel the same way. Maybe, you are at the same point in your journey. Maybe you feel the same frustrations that I am feeling. Maybe, by reading how I feel, you will feel a sense of calm knowing that you are not alone. I tell you this in the hope that my voice gets stronger. I tell you this in the hope that your voice gets louder. I tell you this in the hope that we move forward. In the mean time, I will continue to shoot from the heart and wait until my voice finds me.
Cindy Cavanagh lives in Sydney. She is a Lifestyle photographer of real moments who chases light and bursts of colour. She is a storyteller, an artist and a photographer. Cindy is an adventurous person who takes her camera with her everywhere. She enjoys baking, a good coffee, and escaping with a good historical fiction novel.