Monday Musings | A Labor of Love

Rhode Island Ballet Photographer


When most people think of love, they think of relationships between a couple. Love doesn't have to just be for a person, it can be for a place, an object, an activity, a hobby, a lifestyle and is so much more than a lustful whim. The saying "the labor of love" is one that I feel directly connected to with photography. I didn't just wake up one morning and thing "I think I'll be a photographer today!" (anyone get the Legally Blonde reference)! It took me years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears (sometimes literally) and thoughtful, conscious decisions to launch my passion and career. 

My first love was for dance and movement. As a dancer and gymnast since childhood, I came back to dance as an adult while in art school. We had to do a project that was a series and I wanted to figure out how to incorporate dance into it somehow. So armed with my point and shoot camera I headed down to the beach with some old pointe shoes and a rickety tripod and took some photos I dubbed "Urban Dance". They weren't well received by the other students who thought I was just vain. I went to Starbucks and cried to the barrista, second guessing my entire final project. However, I remembered that art is subjective. I loved my project, and just other didn't like it didn't mean it wasn't successful. 

Here are some of the photos from the project circa 2012 (because I'm not afraid to show progress!):

Rhode Island Dance Photography
Rhode Island Dance Photography

Now these images are completely not a representation of my current photographic style, but I still love them because this moment was when I started to create with a camera and that is special. 

I didn't give up. Fast forward about a year, when my boyfriend got me my first DSLR, a Pentax K10D. Again, I was drawn to photographing dance in outdoor places, and mostly self portraits because I couldn't afford models and didn't know how to reach out to people. Some of those images:

RI Dance Photography
RI Dance Photography

I mean, check out my rockin Zapfino watermark!

I kept going. Just last year I did one more shoot:

Rhode Island Dance Photography

The reason I'm sharing this is passion and love. Years of practice that shows progress, both technically and artistically. Love is something that can be cultivated with time and nurturing. Sure, anyone can pick up a camera and say "I love photography!", but until you work, fail, work harder, fail, work harder, fail, work harder, fail...repeat! Does it drive you past those roadblocks that seperate lust from love, and profession from passion. If it's handed to you and you never have to experience the hardships that drive the passion so deep into you, the labor of love and learning won't be the same.

Keep pushing, keep driving, keep reaching for those goals. Pursue them with learning, experience, failure and persistence. Work hard and dream big!

Happy Monday!