I have not Always been and Artist | Personal Blog Entry

Hey all! My friend Katie and I have been working on an art project for several months now where each week we publish a piece and send it to each other. Each new piece is a response to the previous one and at the end of a year we will be making an album with each art work! Well needless to say I have been busy. VERY busy and I have gotten behind on my piece. I didn’t want to leave the blog we use to share them un-updated so I decided to blog a little. :}

At first I wasn’t sure what to write about. I knew that I wanted to say something that someone somewhere might read and be interested in but I wasn’t sure what I had to say that would be personal and captivating enough to get people to read past the first paragraph! ;] I felt…boring! And then it hit me! When I meet new people and new clients they see my work and all the ability and skill that I might have shows there – but, I wasn’t always … well… an Artist! I wasn’t always talented! In fact there was a time in my life that I didn’t even like Art! {Who knew right?!}

I normally try not to be way too personal when it comes to work {after all taking photos is all about the people in the image!} and maybe it’s a little risky to share, but I decided to in hopes that someone might find it interesting or maybe even a little inspiring if they are trying to climb up the photography ladder! {I’m always down to help a fellow photog in need so don’t hesitate to send an email!} So here it is, my journey to becoming an Artist.

I have not Always been an Artist.

What? You’re doing an art project and you make your living as a professional photographer?

Yep. But I have not Always been an Artist. This love hate relationship started out on a rocky road with some polyurethane, a need to rebel, and the constant desire to do my own thing. One thing has always been true – I do not like to be molded. I have always needed to discover and learn things on my own!

I hated Art when I was 14. Hated it. I hated the crappy projects in my 9th grade art class {that I sometimes wondered if they were assigned more to get rid of extra supplies than to learn}. I hated working with construction paper (I am not 5!). I hated my teacher. Hated her with all her broad narrow mindedness {yes I was definitely one of those wounded teens that had issues with the world, but who wasn’t? No she wasn’t actually a horrible woman, we became friends in later years :}. Come on, I was 14!}. I Hated that I had to do everything just so – that I had to stifle any creativity that I had. I hated the crappy sketch book journals that we made out of construction paper (I cringe!) and yarn. They were the bane of my existence. I had more fun most of the time painting on the table or pouring red paint on a pad and sticking it to the side of one with a friend. {I don’t think that last one won me many points with our teacher.} But what I really hated the most was that I had NO IDEA how to express myself because I hadn’t found my talent yet. Yet.

I started to dabble with my mothers camera when I was 15. It wasn’t anything amazing – A nicer Kodak Easy Share :} I took some pretty bad pictures –  Maybe more like really bad. I took photos of dolls. I took photos of lamps. I took photos of shoes, and boxes, and doors. I Started taking photos of so many random things with absolutely no direction! And then something weird happened – I started to fall in LOVE…

Taken in the Summer and Fall of 2005 – I was 16.

Then I dabbled in portraiture a bit…

Self Portrait – October of 2006

It would be amazing to say that from then on my passion was so great that I couldn’t put the camera down! But that’s not what happened. I became a senior! What-what! The pressures of real life started looming over me and things changed. My boyfriend of several years and I broke up, college applications became a reality, high school seemed less important, and I was on track for Pre-Med at GVSU. But I still had that desire! I actually dropped chemistry my senior year to take Art 4 {much against the very strong opinions of my advisor who INSISTED that even with my previous 3 years of AP classes, being an NHS member, and having tons of extracurricular activities I would NOT get into college with an ART class instead of Chem. I proved him wrong! ;] ;] } Still, photos took the back burner for years.

After a few years at GVSU I ended up leaving the program. It wasn’t for me and I was in all honesty more content hanging out at home or having a beer with my friends. I didn’t have direction or purpose anymore and I had no idea which direction to look in.

Then I was saved! In September of 2010 my husband bought me my first camera. I WAS SOOO EXCITED!! I had big plans for this! I was going to become amazing overnight {DUH! I was ‘good’ in high school so I would be now!} and make lots of money and finally have the direction I needed and make everyone proud of me! Just one problem … This camera had more buttons and settings than I had ever expected … oy.

But I was NOT discouraged! I was invigorated! I studied, practiced, emailed professional photographers for tips, bought books, and had fun. :} Oh there were so many things to learn but I was loving it!

As time went on the emails started to come in. What?! People wanted me to take pictures for them? Seriously?! I was so flattered. I couldn’t believe it – they actually thought that I was good {or at least good enough to drop $50 on ;]} Bottom Line: I was in!

A shot from my very first wedding:

Jeff and Malinda kindly allowed me to second shoot at their wedding to gain knowledge and experience. Thank you both!

Now I can find flaws with this image but at the time I was so ecstatic to have shot a wedding {as an unpaid second shooter of course!} that I was on cloud 9! It was really an amazing experience and the hook that I really needed to bring myself into the the wedding world. {It’s such an amazing place to be! There are so many wonderful and talented people to meet and work with, and so many wonderful couples!}

It’s been almost 2 years now since I got my camera. Two years of long hours, crazy amounts of stress, deadlines, and the most fun I have ever had. It is a lot of work but I get to say this: My dream came true! Not the dream to become a professional photographer, but the dream to be someone that people could see from the outside had worked hard and invested themselves to become what they are. To be the kind of person that people in the field look to for advice and help. To be the kind of person that I looked up to when all I knew how to do was turn my camera on. :}

So, without further adieu here is a little bit of my 2012, one of the greatest years ever!


B + T

A + F

H + C


Thanks for reading my little story. I can’t say that this is what I always dreamed and where I thought that I would end up – But I am so glad that I did.

– Samantha

2 thoughts on “I have not Always been and Artist | Personal Blog Entry

  1. Kayla Clark says:

    Love it! We had very similar beginnings. Your story is inspiring. Seriously. It’s so incredible how dedicated you are to this. And it shows. Thank you for sharing! I always enjoy hearing how people got started! =]

    • evaughnphotography says:

      Thank you! :} It’s so weird to think that about it! Ya know? I’ve had a few people tell me that and because of that I’m really glad I wrote it!

      I do to! It’s so interesting to learn about people before you knew of them!

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