Happiness and Authenticity
A few days ago I started my day scheduling social media post for JAJP. Originally, I had planned to plant this particular image on the Thursday before Father’s Day for a classic #tbt post (I know it’s of me, but I promise there’s a tie in). As I began to write I realized I had waaayyy too much on my mind to be short and sweet, so those of you who enjoy these blog posts insiders….this one is for you (and also for my husband)!
When you stumble across a photo of yourself in your most authentic state of happiness it should be cherished. For me, this one is. This particular image was taken in the fall of 2015, at this time I was just getting started in making my love of photography public through the then recent creation of JAJP. For those of you who remember what julieannasjoy.com used to look like, this image was on the home page. In 2015, I was slowly figuring this photography business world out and you had to start somewhere….so as another fun “throwback” insider, here is what the site looked like then.
I am reminded from images of my public photography life that it takes the support of those around you to STAY in such a saturated field like photography. There are haters and comparers, those who have been doing it for decades, and those whose local photography Instagram account went live last week. There are strangers who see you being vulnerable in an art that you love and just don’t get it. However, there are also peers who cheer you on from afar and rally around a community of creatives at all stages of the journey—that part I love. I’ve been blessed to have these strangers, who end up being “online friends” say the kindest things and constantly engage with my posts (I see you and I value you). There are those in the online education community from KJ All Access that inspire me weekly and feed my process. There are friends and family that take seconds from their day to click “like,” refer their friends to me, or even stop me during my day job to say how much they enjoyed the last shoot I shared on Facebook. These people will never know how such a small outwardly sign of support can change the mindset of my day. But, the love and support of a spouse is vital (in my experience) to making it in an ever evolving industry and staying true to your own vision.
So, back to the photo above….I am authentically happy in this photo with my then 5 year old son on my back, and camera in hand. My husband took the image, and was making me laugh—plus I remember my son, Lawson jumped on my back out of nowhere! This photo makes me reflect and think on happiness and my little business here. Why nearly 4 years later have I not fizzled out, have I not stopped? The answer--- it’s like anyone who does what they do despite the odds, you do it because you love it—not because you’re worried about what’s “on trend,” or what others are doing. My husband knows how to support me and cheer me on. He knows I can’t be forced into doing mini-sessions with cheesy props just for extra income. He knows I always do the opposite of what seems logical. I’m a someone who lives and makes choices on instinct and observation, what seems most true to myself, what can allow my clients to feel the same, and not what seems to be the obvious path.
As we approach Father’s Day and are already deep in the month of June, I want you all to know my husband is how he seems (if you are in our community here in Western Maryland you know what I mean). He is Superman! On top of all of his daily tasks, mile high to-do lists, and big dreams--- he sees me at my lowest of lows and highest of highs and is simply amazing. He stays with me on the roller-coaster and delicately listens, shows patience, and grace. He picks up a camera, learns technique, and second shoots weddings because it is his way to show support. He’s the first person I show my iPhone camera snaps of my DSLR viewer screen from the parking lot after a shoot (yes, I do this--- people, I get excited about your sessions, what can I say). He is my number one here on this planet.
In YOUR days, I hope you have moments of authentic happiness. I hope you have tangible evidence of a happy moment. I encourage you to stop the selfies with the faces you think make you look put together or “happy.” Instead, I challenge you to ask a friend or family member to photograph YOU in a candid moment when they simply see you in your most authentic and happy state. This life is hard, complex, full of bad news, and overwhelming calendars. I am thankful this image crossed my path and brought me to a place of reflection and appreciation for what I have and who I have next to me always. I am inspired to look back on my work and pull out moments of true, honest happiness I have captured. Here are some of those moments to share with all of you….