Thoughts from a Sentimental Artist | by Meredith Minor

I am going to start this with the honest to goodness truth. I feel like a fraud sometimes. Seriously, I love reading about how everyone’s artistic journeys started very young because mine most certainly did not. I just started learning photography in late 2016. I am self-taught through online resources and two visits to the insta-inspire retreat. Who am I to be writing a blog about myself and my work?? I am not even close to the artist that I want to be; and in the grand scheme of things, I am very much at the beginning of my journey.

My photography story is quite simple. When I was a kid, I was the girl with the camera. I documented all the things, but not for artistic reasons. My camera was just always there. It didn’t matter if it was a film camera, a point-and-shoot digital, or a disposable; I just loved getting a roll of film developed and picking up a set of doubles from the camera shop so I could share the extras with my friends! And man, I absolutely LOVE looking back on old photo albums each time I visit my childhood home. I can open the first page and be overcome with all the emotions and get alllll the nostalgic feels. I probably didn’t know it at the time, but the reason I took and continue to take so many photos is because I am an extremely sentimental soul, and I think one of the most powerful feelings photography can evoke is nostalgia.

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Nostalgia is a powerful feeling; it can drown out anything.
— Terrence Malick
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I suppose you could say that my desire to inspire nostalgia for my own family and to leave a legacy of our adventures for my son is my “why”. My deep-seated motivation to capture life has manifested itself in an obsession learn about photography. I choose to pour all my extra energy into understanding photography fundamentals and it has been like learning a new language. I’ll be the first to admit that I was off to a super rocky start. It took a while for things to click, but they eventually did. News flash: I still have a long way to go.

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But in all seriousness, I want our son to be able look back on his childhood and know that we lived life to the fullest and we loved hard. If times get tough, I want him to be able to look at his albums and feel grateful for all that we were. I also I want him to know that even though I worked full time, I was still there and we had FUN. Most importantly, I want to honor him through my images because it took us four very long and painful years of infertility battles to conceive. It’s a very long story, but we miscarried twice before having him and I almost gave up hope. My photos of my son are my love letter to him and my tribute to the miracle of his life.

My style is…undefined? If I think about it though, I am all over the place with my taste in clothes, home décor, tv, books and music, so it’s not surprising that my appreciation for so many different styles of photography is reflected in my own work. As for my voice? I would say that telling stories has my heart., I embrace all types of light, locations, and capture life as authentically as I can. I am sentimental. I am emotional. I am an over shooter and an over sharer, and might be a bit of a digital hoarder, too.

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While I may not have studied photography or art in school, I’ve always had a creative side so developing this still later in life makes sense. I am not afraid to try new things, I shoot from the heart and edit how I feel in the moment. Sometimes that results in inconsistent images. I am at peace with the fact that it might take me years to feel like I have found my groove. But I’ll be honest, sharing my work so publicly is equal parts terrifying and therapeutic, because I know that I am being both vulnerable (by putting my not-so-cohesive images out into the world) and caring for myself (by nurturing my creative heart) at the same time.

I still have a hard time saying that I am a photographer. I have so much to learn and don’t feel like I am an authority on anything in particular. I am still settling into a style, trying to refine my skills, learning what my place is in this community and determining where I want my abilities to take me in the future. I love low light and golden hour is my favorite time to shoot. I may not have it all figured out, but I know that holding my camera makes me feel alive and editing images of my own experiences ignites something deep in my soul that I simply cannot ignore!

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