What I'm going to share with y'all is something I think about on almost a daily basis. Before I entered grad school, I looked at the growth in different areas of my life and saw them as individual scales, not really connected. Now, literally everything feels connected. The way I approach healing through the use of therapy and how I approach photography are so similar, it is indistinguishable.
First semester in Grad school, we were invited to figure out what theory of practice we would adhere to, with the understanding that through learning and life experience, this will most like change. Initially, I felt so comfortable with a behavioral or cognitive behavioral approach. Change your behavior, get results. See a situation, change your behavior, think about it differently, and reap the emotional rewards. Don't get me wrong, both of these approaches have incredible strength, hold up under criticism, have the research to back them up, and are helping people daily. For me, I felt safety in these. There was an process. These theories came with prescribed techniques and guidelines, and it was a safe place to learn and grow.
This week, I finished my graduate internship (insert ALL of the praise hands here), and I was reflecting on my time with my clients- I see how drastically my approach has changed. Now I approach most clients from a narrative or existential perspective. In essence, I'm on a journey with my clients. Together we will strive to help the client become their most authentic self. Their story is important and together, we can learn the skills so that they can write their stories with health. These approaches have techniques and tools, but leave more room for creativity. I still often drawn on the techniques and strategies of BT and CBT, but my perspective has shifted.
So why in the world am I telling you this? Because I have simultaneously gone on this same journey with my photography. When I first started to shoot, my brain was full of thoughts regarding ISO and aperture. I was focused on composition, and auto vs. manual focus. My time was spent learning my equipment, becoming so comfortable with my tools that I could use them in my sleep, and hoping that I would continue to learn.
Now, my time is spent gathering more information about my photography clients, learning their stories, becoming their friends. I view myself as one that gets to step into their story for a short while. I spend my time pulling out what is already there and capturing those raw emotions. This is the shift I have felt over the past 6 or 7 months. The technique is still there, the tools I spent so much time is still there, but as I get to know my clients something new has emerged. The idea that I don't want just a amazing photo for them. I want to photograph how amazing they already are. I don't want to hand a photo to a client and for that client to say "we look great, but we would never do that/ that doesn't even look like us" I want to hand a session back and for the client to say "she caught you crinkling your nose when you laugh!" or " I love it when you look at me like that!"
So for me I've made a shift. From behavior to authenticity. The difference to me, in both areas of my life, are as different as a ink sketch to an acrylic painting. Both have value, both have worth, But right now? I am having so much fun putting this paint to canvas.