How to pursue your passion when the world tries to fit you in a box
Now that we are halfway through with 2019, are you making a mid-year self-reflection and review of how things are going? Well, I am.
When I told people I moved to Ethiopia to work on my Photography their first reaction is usually, "But, why?". They can't seem to understand why I would trade a well-paying travel nurse career for an unpaid "hobby".
The reality is most of us have a hobby that's been gnawing at us for years maybe decades and ignoring that feeling to nurture our creative side is impossible. At least that’s what I’ve learned over the years.
Taking six months to pursue my passion has been both fulfilling and difficult. When I decided to put my travel nurse career on hold and dip my toes into the world of photography at the beginning of the year, it was something I thought about doing for a very, very long time (15 years to be exact).
I'm a believer that the universe listens to your deepest needs, and the dreams that you manifest and put out in the world will come true. That's why I think even my decision to become a travel nurse in 2016, and more specifically work with American Traveler, enabled me to pursue both a well-paying job (where I get to travel) and my passion seamlessly.
So, when this year rolled in, I dipped into my savings, paused my travel nurse career, and dove into something new. By February, I was living in a small town in Nuremberg, Germany learning analog photography with my friends at The White Rabbit. I admit that thinking about pursuing something you're passionate about can be daunting. Often the obstacles can be overwhelming and not worth the sacrifice (at least in your head). For me, taking steps like saving, living frugally, and buying experiences instead of stuff are practical ways I have been able to pursue my passion. People think it’s complicated, but it’s not.
After February, I decided to move to Ethiopia and pursue my Photography Series and document the natural aesthetic of ordinary Ethiopian Women. By photographing them without makeup and with their natural hair, I wanted to depict the truth. After I settled, reality kicked in and I found the first few months to be difficult living in Addis. I didn't know anyone I could share my vision with or know any places where I could go to find inspiration. Determined to be mindful of my practice as a photographer I settled in and allowed the challenges.
But, like most things that become better with time, I embraced life in Addis. Many days I practiced tenacity by looking for people to shoot, and afterward, patiently waiting for the phone to ring. To me, the process of Photographing people was not a one-time deal. I wanted to get to know the women I photographed in order to build trust. I realized through my Photo Series that us women have a lot in common and that shared lives and stories are the fabric of our identity.
My pursuit for photography made me wondered how photographers like Irving Penn or Richard Avedon first started their journey. Did they have guidance or mentors that told them what they should do? Perhaps that's why I think shared stories can be a powerful tool. When we know the stories of people’s lives, we understand that our struggles have more in common than we think.
To me, I've had to learn to navigate through being a photographer on my own. No one really tells you to do this or that when you decide to pursue your passion. I think your compass is your desire to see your passion come to life. So, I eventually found people to photograph, also places to go to find inspiration like Zoma Gallery and Addis Fine Art Gallery.
I'm not saying I’ve got it figured out; I'm only saying I'm glad I decided to finally take my passion for Photography seriously. So friends and family, let me re-introduce myself. My name is Redeat and I am a Pediatric Travel Nurse and a mindful Portrait Photographer. Sometimes I give shots and other times I shoot people with my camera either way my passions is to help make other people’s lives better by doing so. Now it's your turn to introduce yourself. Come on, don't be shy. If you can describe yourself as something you are and something you want to be, comment below.