Do We Need to Define Ourselves?

02 May

This isolation has given me plenty of time to think about what I am and have been doing, where I want to go and what is actually possible given my physical and mental health. It's definitely been an odd time, sort of like a forced sitdown with yourself whether you want it or not. A lot of people find themselves isolating alone which must feel like an even bigger cloud of unknowns and questions weighing on. 

I have been listening to some educational presentations and reading articles online, and something I keep coming across, or rather something that seems to find me, is the question whether we need to define ourselves (in whatever craft we are working or interested in). I have changed many titles, from a European wedding photographer to a fine art photographer, to a street photographer, and more. And I don't think I have quite found the right title for myself just yet, none of them quite stick or seem to fit. I struggle to confine myself to just one box and keep within it, it's in my nature to do the complete opposite - to explore, to try and experiment, to evolve, to throw myself in the deep (which I regret at times but it does keep you on your toes). I'd rather be simply known as Anete, the photographer. 

Whether I choose to shoot a striking street photo or a deeply personal image that portrays a mood, or a candid image at weddings, end of the day I'm still me regardless of how I or others choose to define me. End of the day, it's still my way of seeing the world, whether you look at it under the title of "a black and white self portrait" or "a mystique filled street shot". 

You might struggle to find your niche or where you feel you belong (or, where you think you should belong). It's completely natural. Humans go through life by feeling like they are a part of something, like their actions and life matters. We often want the safety of knowing exactly who we are because then the future might seem a little less intimidating; it might also give us a sense of purpose. But, luckily or not, nothing in life is either black or white. There will be times when we feel lost and we have questions about our own identity. Don't let the regret of "I wish I had known to do this earlier" stagnate you or bring you down, I know it can. 

I don't think it is abnormal to have existential mini crisis throughout your journey as an artist, it's normal. We grow, we change, we move through different stages of life. We might think, "this is me today, I am and will be known for it", but reality is a lot more messy and mangled. I try not to let these thoughts simmer for too long because I want to make the best of today, with what I have and with who I am today. The best we can do is own it and grow. You don't need anyone to put you in a box that becomes too small, sometimes our vision, our thoughts, our creations and emotions are far too big and far too complex to be confined. Sometimes we just need to accept the fact that we are multidimensional, that's the beauty of being an imperfectly perfect human. 

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