A lot of what you will create in the coming years will be ridiculous. You’ll break every ‘rule’ that you learned in your high school photography class. Most of your images will be blurry and cropped at awkward angles. Then, when you finally decide to start editing your pictures, you’ll over-saturate every one of them.
It doesn’t sound like you’re a good photographer, and honestly, to most people, you won’t be. You have an affinity for laying out in swamps and taking pictures without your shirt. For some reason you think it looks natural to take photos in snow barefoot. You really are strange and I don’t know what you were thinking.
But I know that you love what you do.
You feel a connection to your camera and the woods that you take pictures in. You will learn every inch of those woods. Over the years you’ll drag every friend you can through nettle plants and around beehives, just to show them how beautiful the woods are. One day you’ll even step on a nail because you decided to walk through the snow barefoot. That was foolish but luckily it will heal quickly and you’ll be back outside the next day, back to the crime scene for more photos.
Somewhere along the line you’ll attempt a 365 project. Taking a picture everyday will be difficult. You will fail your first time. And your second. And your third. I won’t tell you how many times you fail because I know that you will keep trying. That’s what makes me proud of you.
It will take you many years before others start to hire you. You’ll take a lot of pictures, most of them will be in your woods, but eventually you’ll take pictures around the world. I don’t want to give any spoilers though. I promise the adventure will be fun but it will also be difficult and full of self-doubt. Just keep creating art anyways. When you lose your best friend, create art. When you feel alone, create art. When nobody understands you, when you don’t even understand yourself, go out into the woods and create art.
I’m writing you today because I want you to know that I appreciate you. You have a lot of courage. In the beginning, your pictures look sloppy and poorly composed. Yet you post them online anyways. Wherever you go, you meet people and photograph them. You encourage others to create art and to express themselves. It’s funny to look back and say that you inspire me but you do. You struggle with self-confidence but you post anyways, that takes a lot.
It will be a long road, life isn’t always easy. You’ll encounter difficulties but you’ll grow from them. You’ll have friendships that come and go but pictures that you can look back on for a lifetime. I also want to let you know that it all works out in the end, there’s nothing to worry about. Life will seem like it’s falling apart but it won’t. You’ll carry on the next day and the day after that.
Also, your pictures matter to me. Take as many of them as you possibly can. Don’t worry about why you’re creating or who you’re taking the pictures for. You can answer those questions later. For now, just stay passionate and do what you love most.
Stay goofy and I’ll see you in a few years,