Last Tuesday, I would not have at all predicted that in a week's time I'd be writing to say that I'm going to study this year. For many years, I have loved photography - a passion that actually started from blogging. Since knowing that I was moving to Brisbane, I've been eyeing off a photography course available at Tafe. After studying a short hospitality course there, I was absolutely fixated on the idea.
Tafe is a wonderful environment - being there was one of the happiest times of my life; getting out there and meeting people and doing stuff; showing up and not knowing what hands-on learning situation I was about to be thrown into; being challenged to put myself out there to get experience in a number of places; watching myself face adventures that scared the hell out of me, and doing them anyway.
However, for a long time I have been adamant that I wasn't going to study this year. I had a lot of reasons: I wanted to keep working and get as much barista experience as possible while I was still considered a junior, I wanted to save up because owing money terrified me, and "I just need a bit more time" - but the main reason, unbeknownst to me, was because I was scared. I didn't feel ready. I felt as though I needed to be my best self - to be perfect- before doing something so incredibly exciting and daunting, which of course would be impossible. My mum would question me about it from time to time, only to be met with me stubbornly not wanting to discuss it further. It's odd that I never realised how terrified I was, especially as someone with anxiety who pretty much expects to find anything and everything chillingly, sickeningly scary. In retrospect, so many of the things I thought about doing that didn't seem like an option had the very simplified reason of "I can't do that". Only now have I stopped and wondered "Why the fuck not?". And fear was all it was. The idea of taking a step was met with subconscious fear that made me think it was this impossible thing, no questions asked, it just was.
Wednesday last week, I was on the phone to a potential employer. He asked me if I was planning on studying this year, and my answer was the usual: "not at all". Shortly after putting the phone down, I told my mum I wanted to study. This year. Y'know...the course I said I didn't want to do right now...that starts in 12 days? Yeah that one. So, within two days, my portfolio and application letter was put together, printed out, handed in, assessed, and I was offered a place in the program. Yesterday my student loan was set up and I was enrolled and told "Welcome to the Party".
Orientation for my class is tomorrow (fuck) and I begin next week (double fuck, triple fuck, all the fucks). Obviously, I'm terrified, but it's that kind of intense, near-paralyzing fear that, if you're perceptive, you know you feel because you're at the start of something as daunting as it is exciting. In the midst of all these emotions and overthinky thoughts is also a sense, felt with the same certainty that I get from the reassuring weight of a camera in my hand, that I'm exactly where I need to be.
Pictures above are self portraits taken with the self timer on my first (and only, up until last week) camera - a trusty little cherry red touristy Nikon L120. In the first shoot I'm wearing a pair of 1940's tap pants given to me by my mum a few Christmases ago, and posing with lights made ethically by Delightful Australia from leaf skeletons, gifted to me by a previous girlfriend of my dad's for my 16th birthday.
I think there is a lot of intimate, complex amazingness to self portraits (more on that later), and I very much enjoyed making these. I don't really know all the elements that make up a great photo, but I can feel my own creative potential, and am looking forward to growing from strength to strength in the year to come - and those following, as well.