Of Wander & Frenzy

I woke up today to a message that I never expected. I had hoped to receive that message. I had wished. It was wishful thinking. I never thought I was worthy of the message. I never thought I was good enough – talented enough – already to be given the task that the message contained.

There were two messages, actually.

Message One:

John! [redacted] of [redacted] sent you a message. Please check it out, thanks!

Message Two:

Hallo, would you be interested in shooting Wanderland 2016 for [redacted]? Your photos will be featured in our [redacted] editorial as well.


Ever since I found out that Bon Iver was on this year’s Wanderland lineup, I’ve been dying to go. I knew I wouldn’t be able to due to my reprioritization of funds towards Infinity Blues Photography. I had the cash. I would have used my credit card, if necessary / desperate. But I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I had to focus on a future that I now have. And so I had hoped that a music website or magazine would hire me to cover the music festival for them. I hoped, but never expected. To expect would be unwise. I’ve been doing what I do for a short while and I didn’t feel like I deserved that huge a task yet.

I tweeted my hopes. I posted Facebook status updates. I let it out of my system. And then I moved on. I forgot about it. I became too focused on my new life and my future and my photography that the chance of seeing Justin Vernon & Crew live became an afterthought. A remnant of a moment when the idea of crying to “The Wolves (Act I and Act II)” live, even for a sliver of time, became possible.

Four days removed from my very first paid gig where I was dreading the reception of the outcome from the clients, I got that message. And now I’ll get to cover the biggest gig of my life. I’ll get to see one of my heroes. I’ll get to, hopefully, take a portrait of Justin Vernon.

I actually thought that a friend of mine, [redacted], who works for [redacted] hooked me up with the gig. As it turns out, her boss, the one who sent Message Two, saw my photos and forwarded them to her boss in [redacted.] And he greenlit it. I got the gig – a paid one, I might add – because of my talent and skills.

The opportunities I’ve been getting, I might add, I once thought that it was because I’m friends and I’m acquainted with the people in the indie music scene. It never one crossed my mind that it was because that I was actually good

Even with my current mostly optimistic perception of life, I still think that my photos amount to a lot less than how people perceive them to be. I’ve got to play it safe. I can’t let it all get to my head. I can’t let the compliments and the praises and the congratulations inflate my deflated ego. I have moments even in the darkness where I had the tendency to think too highly of myself. The choice of self-deprecation was a strategy I had to make to avoid that. It destroyed every single bit of self-worth I had. It shattered every notion that I, and my art, could ever amount to anything. Then again, that was pre-treatment. Maybe I can find that much needed middle ground that I never could before I took the anti-depressants. Maybe I can balance it now.

But I am starting to see why people think my photos are actually worth anything. My photos have, and I’m quoting a musician that I’ve shot, heart. I never saw that before. I never saw what they see in my photos, considering I’ve always thought that my heart was an abyss of darkness.

Still, even though I’m seeing my output in a new light, I have to remain cautious, lest I let the praises go to my head.

Anyway, I emailed the photos from Saturday’s first paid gig to my first clients. I posted them on my Infinity Blues Photography Facebook page and flickr and they loved it!!! Whatever dread I had with how the clients, the band Stories Told, would react to the photos has now become happiness. Fulfillment. That, and the Wanderland gig, made today a great day.

I feel good. I feel damn good.

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