Back in August, I posted my first article about being able to visit Japan. I went back to Japan in January and wanted to share my story about how much the country has impacted my life not only as an artist but advice and lessons I learned.
Prior to going to my first time, I was constantly working out ideas and exploring different styles of photography to find what would make me feel truly happy. I would take photos of people, nature, objects, animals, urban settings, etc. I used photography as a means of self-expression and used the medium in therapeutic means.
Eventually, I had the realization that what I was creating was no longer giving me the sense of fulfillment that I was striving for. Instead, I was making work that, I now understand, was in response to the feedback that I was getting. I captured and released photos that I would take on my hikes for two straight years. Photography no longer felt like something that was enjoyable to me, but rather, photography began putting me in a cage all the experimentation was now a one-trick pony.
As it was said in my previous article, a visit to Japan was something I have always wanted to do. In all honesty, I began feeling like it was just a pipe dream because I was never financially secured enough to where such a trip was feasible. When the opportunity came up through my work, I was completely on board.
When I arrived, something internally happened to me. My creativity burst, and it was like the barrier that was in my head and spirit were finally ripped down. What I was experiencing was a sense of completeness, and I noticed a dramatic change in my work. When I was photographing and editing my work, I stopped thinking about will this be liked. Instead, I started working on what felt right. I was finally happy with what I was doing and it was exciting to me.
The lessons and advice that I learned in this experience I do want to be able to share with as many people as possible who may be feeling the way I did.
One, if there is something you have always dreamed of doing, don't give up on it. It took me 20 years to fulfill mine. I may have felt for a period I wouldn't be able to, but I kept hope up. There is a reason it is your dream, achieving it will only help you become the person you were meant to be. Two, if you find yourself no longer enjoying something that you use to absolutely love, re-evaluate and ask why you no longer enjoy it. Mine was because I stopped listening to myself and started listening to everyone else. Third, take care of yourself.
Thank you Japan for teaching me these things, and I look forward to seeing you again.