Wednesday

how i started taking pictures

this is something i have wanted to share with you all for a very long time. in fact, it's been a long time since i first picked up a camera and things were much different back then to where they are now. this post has been sitting in my drafts for weeks and today, right now, i feel like is the right time to press publish... this is a blog post without any photos (maybe even for the first time ever), just words. about how i started taking pictures.

for as long as i can remember i have always been artistic or creative in some way. i was a quiet girl with long, untamed hair and bruised legs from rollerskating falls. i was quite dark when i was younger. i think looking back on those days now, i understand why. i didn't know what to do with my thoughts or my creativity, i didn't really understand who i was or what i was meant to be doing. i would spend a lot of time alone, i didn't like talking to new people and i always quiet at school and would mind my own business. i think inside i knew there was meant to be something more for me, something that i couldn't find by doing what everyone else was doing; i needed to do it myself.

in 2005, i was fourteen years old when colour and art began to really spark an interest in me. i opened up a deviantart account under the name of vampire-zombie for lack of a clearer vision of what me or my art was about. from there i became obsessed at watching other people's artworks. the first thing i would do when i came home from school is log on and flick through the endless pages of inspiration in this new world i discovered. at first i gushed over the work of traditional artists; drawers, painters, people who used mixed media. that slowly grew into discovering the world of digital painters and slowly after, the world of photomanipulations.

about a year after opening my deviantart account i decided to take matters into my own hands and try my hand at some manipulations. at first i would use stock images from the internet and post them up online and ask people what they thought. i never got much of a response. i would put together digital wallpapers of my favourite bands and things i thought were pretty. but after a while i realised all that was not for me. the next thing i did was grab my family's digital camera, it was nothing special - just a little compact camera, but i took it with me everywhere i went and took pictures of everything. there was something about documenting the everyday things; the mundane, the usual, that captivated me. it seemed like a whole new world of remembering had been opened up for me.

i was too scared to take pictures of people. even of myself. i would take landscape photos, pictures of my dogs and i would stop on the side of highways just to look at the flowers close up. i was particularly inspired by the sky and created conceptual photos every now and then.

eventually i tired of taking photos of the same things and started to take self portraits. i would set my compact camera on the floor on a ten second timer and would get photos of myself running through fields or jumping in the air. at the same time i would ask my sister if i could take photos of her sitting on rocks or walking through the water at the beach. my photos even when i started, were natural and full of movement, i liked the quiet moments, the little nothings.

i took photos of my sister and i for half a year while saving up for my first slr. the pictures i took and posted online were sold as book and album covers, much to my bewilderment. but i still took every offer i had with appreciation even though i didn't quite understand what was going on. when i finally had my pentax k1000d in my hands, i spent time learning how to shoot manually, with confidence that i could finally take control over the images i wanted to create. i shot self portraits and pictures of my sister for a little while longer before i asked two of my friends if they could model for me. my first ever shoot with someone other than me, was an alice in wonderland shoot. we set up a table full of teacups and pills, walked down to the supermarket to buy cupcakes to shoot with and spent the afternoon living a mad hatter's tea party while i took photos.

i didn't do any fashion shoots with my pentax camera. i spent that time learning what my style was, learning how to shoot portraits and work with people in photography. it helped me realise that i loved taking photos of people; but not in the ordinary way that the photography magazines i bought told me to. i liked to take photos while they are doing something, jumping, lost in thought, exploring the wilderness, brushing a strand of hair off their face.

i started to save up for a new camera. the lens on my pentax camera broke and i had been using it with a $7 film lens i found at the markets which wouldn't screw onto my camera so it sat on the body taped up with electrical tape. the photos were lovely either way, but i wanted something more. i started to have dreams of seeing my work up on billboards and to create art that would be remembered forever. somewhere my passion for taking portraits evolved into the desire to shoot fashion. i wanted a new challenge, to take photos of people i've never met before, put teams together and shoot for a reason (although just shooting for yourself is probably one of the best reasons to shoot). i wanted to put all my concentration into shooting and using the camera rather than trying to juggle both photography and modeling for my photos.

when i finally got my hands on my new camera, the canon 5dmkii, it was a breath of fresh air, like i was rejuvinated with inspiration. i had ideas and absolutely nothing in my way of making them happen. i planned a few shoots with some pretty models i found online and the shooting started. i spent a lot of time still just shooting for fun, i blogged all the photos i took and continued sharing my work online. eventually people started emailing me asking if i could shoot for them for money. i got to shoot book covers, photos for bands, eventually i started shooting model portfolios and lookbooks for designers. all of that came with me growing in what i'm doing. i never really pushed for that side of things or even thought about it all that much. they happened and all i tried to do was put as much passion into those jobs as i did for my personal work.

along the way my family and dan have helped me endlessly and supported me. i know a lot of people don't have that luxury, but i am so appreciative to have the love of the people who are close to me and even their help and advice when i needed it the most.

since then until now it has all been a wonderful ride of experiences and learning and meeting new people that i never expected to happen. i feel so blessed to be living the way i do and being able to do what i love every single day. i know i worked hard and i've been doing this for a long time even though i am young. since the beginning, taking photos would be the first thing i thought about and the only thing i would do during the day and night.

i guess i'm writing all this, not just to share it with you, but for myself too. even after years of taking photos and being a photographer i still feel unsure about myself every now and then. sometimes old feelings crawl back under my skin and haunt me for a couple of days. sometimes something doesn't go right and i question what i'm really doing. but the answer will always be i'm doing what i love and what makes me most happy (more than anything).

it's okay to be uncertain sometimes, it's okay if things go wrong and it's okay if you don't know where you're going or how to get there. i still don't know.

all you need to know is that if you're passionate about something; follow those dreams and make them come true. all the hard work is worth it if you enjoy the journey and live a full life knowing that you're living for something you love.

61 comments:

  1. You are such an inspiration, Julia. I know you get that a lot, but it's true. I think in some way you're still amazed by all that has happened, but never ever stop thinking about your talent, because everything that's come to you it's for a reason, and that reason is that you are an amazing photographer. I started like you, I want to be professional but I think I still have a long road to follow and lots of things to learn about photography. For the moment, you're my endless scrolling in my computer and the rolemodel I try to look after.
    Thank you for sharing your posts with us.

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    1. thank you so much andrea! i think it's important to just enjoy what you're doing at the moment, as cliche as it is to say, learning and the process of getting better is the most enjoyable thing to do rather than just waiting to get to the end and not appreciating everything that's happening now. please never stop shooting! xx

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  2. What a wonderful read Julia! I hope things just keep getting bigger and better for you! :)

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  3. love this :) but just have to point out that there's a lot of faulty grammar... did you really write this yourself?

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  4. I loved reading this Julia, you are a true inspiration :)

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  5. this is so great. it's exactly how i started. but i stopped somewhere. i'm too shy to ask people if they would like to be my model. :/ but i would love to earn money with photography. but my friends aren't really supporting me. just my boyfriend. others think i'm selfish because of my selfportraits, but it's a way to express my feelings. that makes me sad sometimes.

    i was so happy when i saw that you liked some of my pictures on my personal tumblr :)

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    1. i think it's silly to say that self portraits are selfish! it's far from it.. usually in self portraits you become different characters and tell different stories. if you don't have access to shooting models and your friends don't want to help you, sometimes it's all that you can do. i learnt how to shoot by taking self portraits and some of the most amazing photographers i know are self portrait artist and they have come so far! people like rosie hardy, brook shaden, kiara rose, just to name a few!

      if it makes you happy, you should continue shooting self portraits. people's opinions in the end run shouldn't really matter, most of the time people say negative things when they are jealous just to bring you down. so please don't let them!

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  6. Thank you so much for this! I started taking photographs at 10, and getting serious at 13, I'm 19 now and even though everyone around me likes my work, and it's my biggest love in life and something I couldn't live without. However, I see other photographers, such as yourself, and your work is incredible, sometimes I feel like I'll never get to your level, I forget that even the most amazing photographers don't know how amazing they are, and I hope that is what's going on with me. I know I'm not as great as you, but I know one day soon I will get there, and I know that I'll enjoy the process of it all, the trying and failing and trying again, and that's what counts. :)

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  7. i know you won't understand why but reading this made me cry, i needed to read this at exactly this time in my life, and this week, and it's really really helped me today. thankyou x

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  8. This was so lovely and inspirational to read, Julia. What I love so much about your photographs is how natural they are, with the fluidity of movement and, like you said, how they are not what the normal magazines dictate. It brings so much more life to them. Thank you for sharing your story <3

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I see myself in most of your words and I'll do everything that I can to make my dream come true!
    xx
    Federica

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  10. This is such a lovely post Julia, thank you so much. I'm sure this post has inspired many amateur photographers out there and it sure did inspire me to try my best in not only photography but in every small thing I do in life. You're really a model figure I look up to and I have to say in my heart and probably in many other's too, you're a celebrity. Haha, I'm serious, the things you say and the work you create is absolutely mature and elegant yet beautiful and fun. I'm glad you found your love for photography and I'm glad I found this blog. You really made me think about the way I live my life and I'm utterly happy and grateful for your words and your success. Thank you!

    fleeting blur

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  11. you are one of my biggest inspirations/favourite photographers. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, these words encourage me to keep doing what I really love. <3

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  12. That was beautiful Julia! Thank you for reminding me and everybody else that it's about the journey and not the finished result! :) I loved reading about your journey, because I'm going through a similar journey (although not with quite as much success!), and I'm always stopping and realizing how much fun it all is. I used to be a similar girl, I was the quiet girl who didn't talk much but who drew all of the time. Then, discovering my love for photography, I obsessively took pictures of plants, nature, and of course my cats. I'd always loved the idea of becoming a "fashion" photographer, but my shyness held me back from really doing it. When I finally got it into my mind to literally force myself into doing it though, I've never felt more rewarded in my life. Taking pictures with models is a journey like none I've ever experienced. Its more rewarding and enjoyable then I could have ever thought, and I'm breaking my shell piece by piece. Thank you for this lovely inspiration on a boring Wednesday morning (well, that's what time it is for me! :P)

    -Ashley

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  13. Thank you for being brave and sharing this. I admire how you're beautiful inside and out -- it reflects on your work. <3

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  14. Really lovely and inspiring to read! Thanks for sharing it with us!

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  15. I knew I wanted to make photos since my sixth grade but my family wants a different path for me. so for years i just sat down looking at photos of creative people in the internet until i stumbled upon your blog at the end of 2012. guess what, at that moment i saw your posts, you made me realize that i have to live my dreams. there were no other valid reasons but to start now or everything will just be some form of imagination. thank you!

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  16. And now you are just as inspiring as the people you used to look up to. Thank you!

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  17. Wow! This is an amazing reading and the words of the last paragraph are just so inspiring. <3 I'll keep following my dream. Wish you all the best! Xx <3

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  18. You say it's okay to not to know. But what about the passion? All the stories like this have the word passion in them. What if I don't know whether I'm passionate or not? What if I'm so unsure of myself and what I am that a story such as this despite of being this lovely just makes me infinitely sad and even less sure? I know that even if I only liked photography very much, even if it just got me so so excited but not passionate, I could make it. But the mention of passion makes me feel myself less good as a person. It's like "you can do anything, but only if you're passionate. If you're not, it's your own fault that you haven't found it".
    I'm sorry to think only about myself and to bring up a less positive consequence of your story. I've just happened to think about these things as I've decided to apply to a photography degree in a university and I've started a photo blog that truly has made me face my deeper thoughts about photography as it was supposed to. It's just not as easy and simple as I thought it would as the problem is me.

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    1. don't be sorry at all! when i mention it's okay not to know, i meant it in all the ways possible. it's okay not knowing what comes tomorrow, it's okay not knowing if you're good enough, if you're passionate enough, if this is what you want to do. every story is different with everyone as is every uncertainty. it would be a pretty boring world if we were all confident and scared about the same things.

      it sounds like you're trying to find your way though, and i hope you do. just try to enjoy what you're doing now instead of worrying what will happen later <3 best of luck to you x

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  19. amazing words. I relate alot.. =)

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  20. *Su pildid on imelised ja oled paljudele eeskujuks!*(estonian) It means Your photos are amazing and you are inspiring! Greetings from Estonia :)

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  21. I really do not understand English very well, just a little ... I have to say use the google translator to write and read. But it was worth ... I saw your work on deviantart, then I am a fan and follow you. I love your work, you inspire me a lot. This story today you share with we all, is a great help and strength to continue having hope ... It is a road with many frustrations and joys, but when we found the way, just gives happiness. That's what I get with your story.
    Today your work reaches to the other side of the world and places where not imagine ...

    I hope you understand my bad English
    Love Caro
    From Uruguay in Argentina

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    1. thank you so much caro! it's wonderful to see my story being read all across the world :)

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  22. Thanks for sharing. :) You are wildly inspirational.

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  23. A few years ago, I fell in love with your photos because they always seem to try to tell me a story, softly whispered through lines and colours. Funny thing is, when I read this, I pictured you like I imagine you to be, and so I'm once again looking at a photograph and once again reading the story you're trying to tell me.
    Thank you so much for sharing this, Julia. I wish I could tell you how this makes me feel, but I guess that 'this is one of the best photographs I've ever seen' covers it, in some way.

    xx
    Tess

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  24. Wow Julia, I'm so in love with your work and Picutres! You are one of my favourite Photographers and i really look up to you!! You are one of the best Photographers i know...with so many passion!! I have seen, that you're on youtube with a few videos..and they are sooo amazing too!! I hope to meet you someday!! It's so inspiring!!

    Many Greatings from munich

    xx Marina

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  25. This was such a beautiful and inspiring post to read! :)

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  26. I have always wondered about your blog title and somehow it to me was a perfect title for this post. You also shouldn't have been so apprehensive about sharing, this is a lovely story of how you got to where you are and I can identify with a lot of it! keep making beautiful, honest pictures because the world needs more people like you.
    x Sasha

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    1. thank you sasha! yes it seems with this new direction im taking with my blog this year of sharing personal stories, my blog title fits more than ever! i guess it's just a little strange to be so open, but im warming up to it! x

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  27. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. This touched me, because it reminds me of myself. I enjoyed reading this because it gives me hope, that someday I can reach my goals. I am exactly as you described yourself in your youth and this gives me the strenght, that I am able to come really far with my passions.
    Lots of Love from Teresa Valentina,
    I would appreciate it very much if you would visit my Blog

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  28. I love hearing the stories of how photographers find their way. The day the clouds clear and the sun comes out to spill it's sunshine all over you. That is a beautiful day. And yes, every now and again those clouds come back to cover up those rays of sunshine and you almost get lost for a moment, but it's only a matter of time before the sun is smiling down on you again and you feel whole once more.
    xxx
    www.studioflamingo.blogspot.com.au

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  29. Julz this is so beautiful and inspiring- you are absolutely incredible

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  30. Julia, thanks for sharing this, glad to know your stories. I hope I could be like you some day, guess I just needed more courage. Hope to see more from you xx

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  31. This is so inspiring Julia. There are days I feel my photography will never be that good or ever will be. But your art and your story help me stay true to my work and what I love to do. I discovered your page when I first joined deviant-art that day I became such a big fan. Your photography is so beautiful and so full of life every time I see it I just melt. I'm still trying to find myself creatively but when I do I really hope to be as good as you one day. Be blessed love. I am so happy for you and your dream. -Chelsea

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  32. you are the best photographer I know. Not just because of your talent and beautiful pictures, but because you remember where you've come from, and always help "us" beginners, and enthusiastic amateurs :) thank you Julia! :)

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    1. i could never forget where i started! without starting, i'd be nowhere, really! thank you so much :)

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  33. Thank you for sharing that. That was exactly what i needed!

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  34. hello dear you have a very nice blog
    would you like to follow each other?
    you can follow me via GFC and Like my Facebook page ( I often put more quick info there)
    see you in the community!:)

    www.jkvintageaffair.blogspot.ca
    www.facebook.com/jkvintageaffair

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  36. Thanks for sharing your story! You deserve it.

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  37. this is so beautiful julia, thanks for sharing :)

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  38. thank you for sharing this <3. i see so much of my own story in yours, and it makes me so happy. i hope that i get to the point where i'm doing this full time and it is my sole "job". but for now i will keep working and keep putting my efforts in to what i love. i remember watching your work back on deviantart as vampire-zombie. i joined da in 2005 or 2006 as well. i don't remember what year i found your work, but i know it was some years ago when i was more active on deviantart =). it makes me happy to see how much you've grown and how far you've come. i hope your journey continues <3.

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  39. this was such a nice post to read. :) thanks for sharing.

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  40. Perfection. I have felt that unsurity and insecurity so many times, it's nice to know that the one that made me fall in love with photography feels it as well.
    Thank you for everything, Julia. Seriously, I don't know what I'd be without your inspiration.

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  41. Hello Julia,

    thank you so much for sharing this with us. To speak for myself as someone who is just in the beginning of beeing a photographer your story is such a huge motivation. i love the style of your pictures and i read just every of your blogposts, watching your photos over and over. i guess you hear this so often but for me you're such an idol.

    i recognize myself in your description of the girl beside a road taking photos of everything. this was me half a year ago. right now i'm starting doing self shots for myself or using friends as models for practice.

    one day i would love to be successful as photographer and do what i love for living. thats a big aim of mine. maybe ill make it one day, as you already made it. i wish you so much luck and inspiration!

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  42. Reading this was very inspiring as I feel like I am going through a lot of this myself right now. I was struggling for a bit in school but I finally just got into my photography major and couldn’t be happier. If I read this last week it would have helped me so much and pushed me if I didn’t get in but still it does help hearing how you became so great and I hope to have just as great of success as you have. Love your work. Thank you for sharing!

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  43. SO lovely to hear about your journey, Julia. You really are a beautiful person in the way you see things, and have worked to develop as an artist. It's very admirable and humble. Know when I got my 5dMKIII last year everything changed with my photography - Still so much I have yet to learn and do with it. (the exciting part!) Wishing you all the best - looking forward to what you create next! :):)

    Allura x
    kittenlamoda.com

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  44. Just what I needed today! Thank you for sharing Julia!

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  45. Wow This post made you my new inspiration ! I can relate your story because it so much same as mine, but I'm stuck somewhere shooting my sister and cousin. My shyness keeps me away doing what I truly love. This post made me feel like I have to get out there and try to get rid of my shyness and maybe someday I can be same road as you are :)

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  46. my weblogsitepage whatever they call it now
    (http://run.atspace.org)

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  47. Thank you so much. You have no idea how badly I needed this today.

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  48. I'm getting there! Thank you so much :)

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