When We Support Each Other

 
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When We Support Each Other

L I F E . S T Y L E D .

The Prequel to Community Over Competition

Hardly ever do I find myself working with models or photographing people whose heart’s one desire is to be in front of the camera. This slice of digital content creation sits in a unique world where all of a sudden (well, over the past ten years), people have shared their voices, their stories, and are now the face of their brand — creating content and booking photo shoots so that they can keep sharing their journey and their vision.

Blogging is a niche industry that I am thankful to have fallen into, mostly by accident. Photographing bloggers and local brands, that is. It’s the creating, but it’s also the connecting that I’m so thankful I get to do day in, and day out.

I grew up wanting to be a chicken. This is true. My mom told me I could be anything I wanted when I grew up, and so I took that and ran with it. If I could be anything then I was going to be a chicken. Years later, I refined that career goal, and decided I wanted to be a physical therapist. It made sense; I played sports, I loved science, I love talking to strangers. This was my plan: college, grad school, physical therapist. Meanwhile — while I had a secure and respectable plan — I was shooting. I was taking photos when I was eight in my front yard of raindrops on leaves; I was taking photos in high school of skateboarding and sunsets; and I was taking photos in college as photo editor of newspaper and yearbook.

I have a point.

When I started taking photos as “Beckley,” it was my chosen creative outlet. I had been running a food blog for years, but Beckley was more about people. I’m only now just realizing (right now, literally, as I write this) how blessed I am that I made that shift. As a hobby, BECKLEY gained momentum, always to be second fiddle to my real career: physical therapy. When my husband (then-fiancé) asked me, “Why don’t you just be a photographer?” the whole world changed.

THE WHOLE WORLD CHANGED.

I saw everything in a new light. In that time of my life, I needed someone to support me in that exact way — to let me know it was okay to admit that all the while I was planning on being a physical therapist, I was yearning for more.

I made the shift. My hours changed, my workplace changed, my medium changed. What didn’t change was the bedside manor.

Growing up you don’t imagine all the nuanced skills needed for certain jobs. Accountant: know math. Doctor: know science. Firefighter: know jiu jitsu. Photographer: know camera. When it’s really about how you connect with everyone around you — clients, colleagues, balancing work and home life. Problem solving, negotiating, project planning… it’s all about your connections with the people around you.

When I switched from PT tech to photographer, those connections stayed the same, just the medium changed. When people would come to me hurting and sometimes even scared, I was able to talk with them, while giving them ways to get better. I do the same with photography. Many of my clients had a career shift, much like I did, and standing in front of a camera doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Instead of dismissing concerns and insecurities, we can address them, and then it’s within my abilities to alleviate some of those worries.

When you tell someone, “These jeans make my legs look short,” the worst thing you can hear is, “No they don’t!” Yes, they do! I know my legs have looked better in other jeans. I know I have great legs, and I know I’m not 5’10” but these jeans do make my legs look shorter than normal!

Reading the situation is obviously important — as with any interaction — but it’s okay to let people voice their concerns and then go form there. What people need is support. Someone to listen, and someone the hear what they’re saying.

We all have different gifts — different skills in being able to listen to and hear what other people need. Giving advice, being a shoulder to lean on, being a helping hand, talking on the phone.

For once, I felt myself getting off topic, but I stayed the course of where my thoughts led me. Support each other. Because we all need that person to hear what we’re saying, or what we’re not saying. Someone to offer help when we ask for it, and even when we don’t. For all the times you feel stressed, tired, and alone, it’s ok to feel those things, just remember that it won’t last, and that everyone else is out there figuring it out too — same as you.

We’ve all never done this before.

These photos were from a photoshoot for Always Coco Collection — a jewelry line by Courtney Newell that encourages simplicity and mental health awareness. I’ve known Courtney for years, and she has a gift for listening and sympathizing. Our shoots for the new Tao pendant were so peaceful and collaborative, and these behind-the scenes shots show the power that support brings, even in the smallest moments.

*Worth noting, Marissa, Lauren, and Courtney were all so easy to photograph and never once complained about their jeans - that example was not anecdotal about the photo shoot!