The Stuff You Can't Put on Instagram

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Do you ever feel compelled to share something? Something scary, I mean. It's what is inspiring this post and this project and this obsession with pursuing vulnerability and honesty as an artist. 

And I'm writing it because I just want you to know you're not alone. It's been about 8 years of me running a business, and it is one of the bigger loves of my life. The people I've met the places I've gone, the flexibility and fulfillment and joy- all that is just as good as it looks. But today I'm gonna share the part that you probably don't see. The part where grief and joy have to mingle together like one of those oil and water jars where you just shake shake shake until it's kinda mixed together but not really. I want you to see the dark days too: the days where I had to "pull it together" after the loss of my brother because I had a wedding. Or flying home to morn the loss of my dad one week, and returning to celebrate and photograph a beautiful couple getting married the next week.  I've always said wedding photography is emotional work just as much as it's artistic work. I give of my whole person when I photograph someone, and in the middle of grief, it was almost too much for my body to bear. What you saw on the internet was me being flown to an exotic location to shoot. What you didn't see was the pack of pills I had in my bag that my doctor had given me in case I miscarried on the airplane and "started bleeding to death." Or being in the process of miscarrying my baby, but photographing a wedding where they almost forgot to give me a vendor meal. And that was just 2014-2015. And yes- discouragement still happens even in seasons where you're on the top of your game.

 

I guess what I mean is, you may be sitting there feeling like you are suffering alone. That no one else understands or has dark days in their business. And I just want you to know that you're not alone. The internet is a tricky place and it can mask a lot of pain... but grief, pain, and discouragement don't have to destroy you. Artists are some of the bravest fighters I know, because we have to do battle with our own brain every day and show up even when things are falling apart. Don't fear the dark days, because the hard days make the bright days even brighter and your work richer and the friendships deeper and the victories more fulfilling.

- Kristin Sweeting (@kristinsweeting)