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IMG_0146I started writing this post a while ago and it has been sitting idle for weeks. Scared of putting my insecurities out to the world. But 2013 has been a monumental year for me and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago, that I started to really talk about it in depth with other people.

This year I quit my job. And it was scary and exciting and empowering all at the same time. In the blink of an eye, I did something that I literally dreamed about for years, being my own boss, and at the same moment began questioning everything. I’ve always been a dreamer and have continuously encouraged others to take the road less traveled, but this year, I took the steps to start making my own dreams come true. And I have to say it feel really good. It was a moment of complete vulnerability, yet somehow I felt more secure putting my faith in myself, rather than in someone else’s company.

It hasn’t been easy. I reached out to other photographers, business owners and friends and came to find that when you ask for help…people are surprisingly more willing than you might have thought. I have met so many amazing and talented people this year, all of which have helped me navigate through this crazy world of self discovery and self employment. I am continually amazed at how strangers whom I asked to coffee, were so open and honest about their struggles and successes. These strangers have now become friends and peers, and I feel so lucky to have met such a great group of individuals.

There is still a very long road ahead and I am completely aware and determined. But the year is wrapping up soon, and I wanted to share a post that I’d written shortly after leaving my job. Even now, just a few months later, I can say that I feel more confident about 2014 and the direction that I’m headed.


“It’s 2:40 am. And I’m not only awake, but furiously writing to get my thoughts off my chest. There comes a moment in everyones life when things suddenly become so obviously clear. Maybe this isn’t a one time thing, in fact, this happens to me quite often… that moment when all the noise, clutter and distraction are muted by an overwhelming thought or feeling.

Tonight, after a beautiful night out with my boyfriend, we came home and decided to end our night with a movie, as most of our date nights typically end. Being the documentary lovers that we are, I noticed that ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ was available on Netflix, and although I’m knowledgeable on the New York Times Street Style veteran, I had no idea that watching this movie would turn into one of those good-for-your-soul moments. If you haven’t seen it, go. Now. Stop reading this and watch it. I promise you, your heart will be full and your soul renewed.

Last wednesday, I quit my job. As if navigating through the battlefield of your twenties isn’t hard enough, in an economy where business is tough as it is, I did the unthinkable and left a somewhat steady paying job. Poof. On my own. I was working for a company that although I was shooting, I was completely unhappy and felt creatively stifled. I felt like I was becoming someone I didn’t even recognize, and at that moment decided, there’s more to life than this. And so like that, I was self employed.

Watching this documentary put everything back into perspective. As photographers and professionals, it’s easy to be distracted by money, contracts, and sessions booked on your calendar, but what it’s really all about is the process of creating not because you have to, but because you need to. In fact, a lot of times the work isn’t about the final result, but about the process of creating leading up to that result. It makes me sad to think that people go through life without a direction, a passion, something that drives them everyday and gets them excited about life. I have never been high in my life, but I can honestly say that the process of creating gives me the greatest high I’ve ever experienced. And it pains me to think that I would give up a shot at persuing my dreams, because it wasn’t the easy thing to do. Living an original life is hard, but I have yet to meet anyone that regrets going after their dreams…it’s always those who regret not going after them.

As the final credits ran, I sat up in bed, tears running down my face from the realization of someones persistent and inspiring commitment to their craft. It’s scary, I’m not going to lie. But there hasn’t been a day in my life since discovering the camera in my early teens that I don’t think about photography and creating in some way. Maybe I’m wild, but life’s too short to give up on your dreams and sometimes your best ideas are the craziest ones.”

comments +

  1. Caili says:

    I have chills, Natalie. I am so incredibly happy that this year has brought us together as friends and am THRILLED with your successes thus far. Keep believing in yourself – the best is yet to come!

  2. Kristine says:

    Great post, I feel exactly the same way. Wish you all the best! 🙂

  3. cathy says:

    Natalie, you know I’m a big advocate of following ones dreams , and I can see that you are truly on the right path.many people don’t take the opportunity to fulfill their dreams but you are and I so respect you for following yours.

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