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you always said I was a dreamer

At 14, my parents bought me my first camera. I would lock myself in my bedroom at night, painting all over my skin or glueing inanimate objects to my face, and then sit in front of my camera until I was satisfied with what I saw on the screen. They did nothing after that but sit on my computer - most were even deleted before they found their way there. At 15, I unintentionally started photographing other people, and began sharing the photos I took. It happened one night, when I was at a friend's house and her power failed. We spent the rest of the night scrambling through each room of her house (which was filled with beautiful vintage furniture and knickknacks) with my camera, using the two sources of light we could think of - cigarette lighters and candles. The following months were spent finding more and more people to step in front of my camera. I'm not sure where I got the courage to ask some of the people that I did, because even though many of those people were close friends, most were people that I had never spoken to before.

Peyton was one of those people that I had never spoken to. And yet, upon first meeting me, she sat in my bedroom for an hour while I wrote all over her face, shoulders, and chest with my stick of eyeliner. Five years (and many more shoots) later, we decided to recreate our first shoot together and I can't even explain how I felt while editing the new set. Just scrolling through them brought tears to my eyes. I hadn't realized how far I had come, up until a few days ago. Taking pictures has always made me happy, and I've spent so much energy and so much of my own money on shoots and equipment. But many of my nights throughout high school were spent in front of my computer, crying out of frustration because my images were not good enough and I couldn't figure out how to move forward. Just this past year, I was constantly contemplating whether or not I should give up on photography all together, always feeling frustrated and too exhausted to even think about shooting. 

For the past month, I've been pushing myself harder than ever before  and I can already see growth. I don't know where I will end up or if I will ever be able to make a living out of this, but I am determined now more than ever to push myself to learn and to grow even more.