This fall I received an incredible honor when I was nominated as one of the Top 5 Emerging Photographers of 2014 by Lemonade and Lenses.
But I’ll get to the punch line of this part of the story first: I didn’t win.
Instead I, got something much more deeply personal out of this nomination. I found my artistic Voice.
I’ll back up……..When I received my nomination, as you can expect, I was at first insanely excited….and then humbled…..and then scared out of my mind!
However, it wasn’t the fear of loosing that plagued me…….
Let me mention here that the photographer who did win is my great friend Lynzi, of Lynzi Berg Photography
. Her black and whites are beautiful pieces of emotive photojournalism, and I adore her and her work. She deserved this win, and I am so proud of her.
My fear came from this: When the photography community singled me out for my art, I was forced to reflect on a question I had been avoiding…..
I had to ask myself: Is my work an accurate representation of who I am, what I feel and how I see the world? This is, after all, why I started taking pictures in the first place….
My first year was a whirlwind…….I jumped head-first into my business and quickly had almost a larger client base than I could manage while caring full time for three little ones. I was moving so fast through sessions that I didn’t have much time to think and reflect. My clients were happy so I kept going.
When I received this nomination I was asked to submit one image to represent my work……and much to my surprise, this became an impossible task.
What I saw when I stepped back to look at my work objectively was two very different sides to “Jen Bilodeau Photography”.
At this same time I was taking the course, Voice & Visual Intent by the amazing Kate Densmore
. Her class helped give me the tools, the knowledge and the courage to put words to these thoughts swimming through my head. Upon honest reflection I realized that my personal work was deep, emotive and reactive. My client work was often planned, colorful and expressive.
I like both sides…..but one side feels so much more “Me”…….And when my work touches me personally…..when it is an outward expression of my emotion, heart and soul, that is when it is at its best.
I am inspired now to bridge this gap. Rather than two opposing sides to Jen Bilodeau Photography, I want to bring my clients only what lies in my heart: images that are Honest, Emotive and Timeless.
My clients deserve the best of what I can give to them. And with all the time I put into my work – I deserve it too.
I want to wear my heart on my sleeve. I want to feel every image. I want to freeze precious moments to be aged and savored over time.
This lesson that I learned through my Emerging Photographer nomination is invaluable……
Sometimes we have to loose to find what we are truly seeking.
I have found my voice……and my vision. I dive now into my passion with a new purpose. I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings.