Friday, April 19, 2013

What makes you happy? (Guest blog by Keyt Harrington)

The last few guest blogs I have done have been pretty grim so this time I thought I would talk about something a little more light-hearted!

For those of us with medical issues we spend a lot of time talking about it to everyone from doctors to friends and family. Honestly, my family wasn't really one to talk about it without making me feel like I wasn't going to make much of my life. It was early on my life, around 5th grade that I fell in love with photography. My parents didn't care much for it so on every vacation we took I became the one responsible for the camera. Because back when I was kid doctors always thought people with shunts couldn't go in airplanes, we always drove from Michigan to Colorado or Washington State which is where most of my mom's side lives. I didn't mind it for a few reasons; I absolutely love car trips, we got to see all sorts of tourist attractions and it was the only time my parents got along lol.

My 6th grade year I only went to school a few months because I ended up having 3 shunt revisions in a row. That was when I enrolled in a photography class and won my first award from the local paper that held a photography contest. My teacher told me at the end of the class that I had a real good eye which i thought was ironic since I was legally blind at the time!
Since the award I received from the paper wasn't such a big deal to my parents, I knew the teacher's praise wouldn't be either so I kept my love of photography to myself and continued to be in charge of the camera if we went anywhere, secretly using those moments to practice.

Fast forward 10 years or so, I had spent that time practicing on the animals at my sister's ranch, the children at our family's in-home day care and now I was having my own kids to take hundreds of pictures of. People were starting to notice I had a talent despite what my parents thought. I was told for years that it was something I should do for a living but I didn't think I was that good so I quit for a little while. I went to college the first time for a teacher assistant/sub degree and later for a systems analysis degree (computer programming). I also had many more surgeries and lost a few jobs because of it. I didn't really like those jobs anyway, the only thing I liked was taking pictures!

There was one photo though that changed my life. It was a picture I took of my daughter in her Easter dress when she was almost 3 in 1992 and a parent of one of the kids we had in our day care saw it. She said she really loved it and wanted to know if she could have a copy so I gave her one. I think about a week later I received a call from a man that owned a small photography business in town and he asked if I could be a "Second" at a family gathering he was doing a session at. I was about to say no when he said he would pay me $200 for the day. As a young, basically single mother of two toddlers, that was a lot of money so I agreed. I didn't find out until many years later that the parent who showed that man the picture was the man's sister!

Fast forward another...many years...I have since learned that with medical issues it's always good to have something you really enough doing. When I'm not feeling well and need to force myself to go outside, I grab my camera. When I need to cheer myself up, I grab my camera and find some kids or animals. I don't leave the house without my camera anymore, even my expensive one! In fact, it's a running joke in my house that my boyfriend does the run-down of things I need to grab: wallet, keys, camera! I can't even begin to tell you the moments I was glad that I had it with me!

Now I'm a little better at my craft and I have my own small business. I still find myself questioning whether I'm good enough to take a job but I will take the challenge. Animals and children are still my favorite things to photograph all these years later:

These are mine taken last summer. 

A client's daughter taken last fall

I have also had to convince myself I was good enough to take on other projects:

High definition resolution editing

Photo restoration of a friend's grandmother and uncle

I have only taken one photography class in my life and never took one for the last two. 

Now when I hear someone say "I can't do anything", I tell them if I can teach myself stuff, anyone can. I also taught myself how to crochet when I was 18, now I can make anything, like this:

I learned photography and crocheting all by myself. Now days people are lucky, they can watch tutorial videos on YouTube if they want to learn how to do just about anything, that's how I learned HDR and photo restorations.

In the words of Oprah, "Find something you like or that you're good at and run with it!". If you don't know what you're good at, ask a friend or family member what they think. Maybe it's baking cakes for special occasions or making jewelry for presents. Almost anything can be created and sold too! That flag sold for $145! Summer is almost here and you can find something to make a bunch of and take to an arts and crafts show around Christmas time to make money for gifts or just for some spending money! I have also learned over the years that something like crocheting is great to take my mind off any pain I may be having at the time..unless you're a perfectionist like me and rip out rows and rows of stitches just because I did ONE wrong! haha!!

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