I've actually been writing this post over several months, and requiring it for class only gives me the push to actually finish.
It's so strange and beautiful to me how little, inconsequential things in one's life can build up to giant things; how little actions you took as a child transformed you into the person you are today and prepared you for opportunities and challenges that you could have never dreamed up. For everything that I am passionate about, there was great influence to culture those passions from my childhood--specific, perfectly timed things that are only labeled after looking back.
For photography, I never considered it a possibility for someone to have a job taking photos until I was a junior in high school (about halfway through my first 365 project). I never imagined that the photographic medium would mean so much to me in my "adult" years, and yet I can see so many things leading up to this moment. I can remember spending summers in my grandparents' town when I was in kindergarten and first grade. We would go to the local walmart so I could purchase disposable cameras, and then I would consequently go home with literally hundreds of photos of the alley cats that I sought out. Hundreds. And of course there were the typical junior high dressing room photos and camp photos, and I loved making ridiculous videos with my friends and siblings. It wasn't until January 1st, 2010, that I thought, "I think I'm going to start a 365 project!". It was that insane, impulse decision that changed my life and sparked a passion that I'm seeking to exploit forever. Who knew that the crazy cat photographer would end up being a real photographer? It was because of other photographers who I met in real life after following online for years, the magazine publications, the clients who trusted me to take photos of important events in their lives, and the biggest Triple "S" Award that showed me that maybe I could actually do this. And in this day where everyone is a "photographer", encouragement is absolutely necessary. Photography is for the special few; it is a unique and beautiful opportunity, but it also is a great responsibility to bring along the people who can't be there in person. I want to have that responsibility.
For writing, its always been in my genes. My mother is a freelance writer (and on a separate thought, I recently learned that photography is in my genes as well--my late grandfather was a film photographer), and my little sister is also a writer. It's in our family and was a profession I always dreamed of doing. I've told this story before here, of when I wrote my first "story", but the answer to our assignment is this: I've always wanted to be a writer, and no matter how much I run away from it, it is in my blood. There was the typical elementary school writing assignment, and my teacher was so impressed that she had me read it in front of the class (that is the story I am still dreaming of to this day), then there was a different teacher in seventh grade who encouraged me to submit poetry (and then a short story) to an anthology book, then magazine publications, scholarships for writers conferences and specifically Caleb Breakey, who was one of my mentors and greatly influenced how I write, and the list continues ... Everything is a stepping stone, building up to this moment in life. Everything I've ever done builds up to the moment that I am living in now, and then that moment becomes a stepping stone for the next moment. It goes on and on until my life is complete.
Even with things like graphic design, blogging, and social media that I'm interested in today were stemmed from designing birthday invitations on Microsoft Publisher and creating Neopets layouts with HTML (ten year old Lauren was really popular, let me tell you), and keeping random diaries. Everything I've grown up doing has just been cultivated and honed into what I currently want to do--and what I hope to do in the future.
Recently I had to "defend" my two majors of English and Art in order to get financial aid (it was accepted, just for the record), and every day it seems, there is just one more thing that makes me realize that these two things of Writing and Photography are the two things I'm meant to be doing in life. From teachers and editors and colleagues and publishers and photographers and artists encouraging me, especially in times when I've doubted myself (and trust me, that happens nearly every day), I am reminded that everything in life happens for a reason, and my experiences and struggles and crazy hobbies all have a purpose.
I am so thankful that these things I am interested in are intricately connected. I need writing to portray my photo concepts, discuss methods and give tutorials, let people know about what I'm photographing, email clients, etc.. I need photography to help visualize writing concepts, for cover design, for description. I need blogging for both, to market myself, to show my work, and social media also helps in this way as well.
Okay, well I want to keep talking about this subject of growing passions from childhood, but I'm done talking about myself. I really and truly want to hear about the little things that brought you to this moment in life right now. From you bloggers and fashion people, to the scientists and writers, and everyone in between, let's continue this conversation! I know we've talked about passions before, but now I want to get into everyone's beginnings. Since we are all human and have a story to share--and deserve to have it be shared--let this be the place where it's shared. I would love to hear your thoughts!