Photography that Speaks

My love of photography started way before digital was a big thing. I was trained in school primarily in film, so incorporating film in this project wasn’t a foreign thought to me. Photography can be so tricky because some people think it’s not a skill to just click a button. Isn’t that just insulting?! It’s hard work! There have been countless times that I have picked up my camera for a shoot and by the end of it I wonder why I chose this profession in the first place. The feelings of discouragement, failure, lack of creativity and the constant reel of comparing myself to everyone else and their work just completely consume me! It’s so hard not to compare yourself and your work to other people. It’s human nature, but you can’t let it decide your future for you in a negative way. Now, I am not saying that this doesn’t happen to me anymore because believe me- it does! I just have a better grasp on how to chalk it up as a learning experience instead of a disappointment. I have come a long way in my confidence as a photographer. It came so easily to me when I was younger. As I have gotten older, I developed this sense that what I was producing just wasn’t good enough or as good as what other people were doing. It really got in the way of my work for a long time. And when you aren’t creating work, your brain isn’t striving for something bigger and better, it’s just kind of-resting. So, I started to create more work and by creating more work I began to feel like I was getting my mojo back. I feel as though to create something new you have to push yourself into a place where you are uncomfortable- which brought me here to this project.

I had to push myself out of my comfort zone (a repetitive theme you’re seeing? You are correct my friend.) I have never really been comfortable in front of the camera because “I can’t get my angles right.” I know I know- but you’re a photographer! Just because I know the angles doesn’t mean I can do them myself. I just know how to tell other people how to do them! Haha! Most of the time I just look like I’m trying too hard- like I have this I’m trying to be sexy face but really I just look angry and need a sandwich. Anyways, I wanted to put myself in front of the camera to depict this idea of photography speaking for me. Wrapping undeveloped film around my mouth, leaving my eyes exposed was the perfect way for me to express these thoughts and feelings without words. Even though yes- I am using words now I’m aware. I have always been a firm believer in art speaking for itself. That’s what I want people to feel when they view my work- that it speaks to them. And I will keep working towards that goal until I feel I have accomplished it and then I will move on to the next project to inspire someone else.

Art is such a tricky subject. It means something different to everyone. There are art galleries and museums all around the world filled with artwork. The majority of the time there is no rhyme or reason as to why a piece of artwork will speak to you, it just does. It pulls you in and makes you a part of it’s medium. Art can make you feel things you didn’t even know you needed or wanted to feel. Art can change your life. Art will change your life. I will never forget the first time I saw Jackson Pollock’s One: Number 31, 1950 in New York City at MoMA. I cried. I walked around the corner and I immediately cried. I have always been a fan of Pollock’s work. He is one of my favorite artists. I guess I just understand the expression and emotion behind his work, or at least I think I do. If at the end of my days, I know that I made someone feel the way that Pollock’s One: Number 31, 1950, made me feel that day- I will consider myself a successful artist. This is the first of many steps towards this goal. I will continue to push myself out of my comfort zone, no matter how reluctant I may be at the time haha! I hope you will stay on this journey with me- there are bound to be some funny and interesting stories that come up along the way :-)! Tell me what moves you- what speaks to you. I want to hear about it!

Xo- Erynn

Hair/Makeup: Stephanie Waltrip


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