Behind the Scenes: Don't Look Down

 Standing below, behind the broken wall up on the hill behind me. Photo Credit: Tom Newfordge 

Standing below, behind the broken wall up on the hill behind me. Photo Credit: Tom Newfordge 

"I have faults and barriers and I'm not okay with that, but at the end of the day - I'm human. I can accept that notion whole-heartedly OR I can take responsibility of who I am and work towards positive goals and genuinely be a better version of myself. Not a perfect one, because no one's perfect; but a better one." 

I wrote this quote to myself a few weeks before starting the new year. It's something I really fell in love with and something I've been working hard on doing. When you live your life portraying yourself as the cookie-cutter version of something that's been expected of you, it puts you in a rather uncomfortable position. You start overthinking the simple things and reevaluate if what you're doing is going to make everyone around you happy - you care too much of what everyone else thinks. In doing so, you may reach this point -  a point where everyone's content with you, except for yourself. 

The more you go out of your way to change yourself to make others happy, the more you'll look at yourself in the mirror and start hating the facade you've built and the uncomfortable situations it's put you in. If you're living to make everyone happy around you everyday, you're losing out on your own happiness, and you build these ugly invisible walls. You sacrifice your well being for those around you and you momentarily start acting like another person, and simply put, that's just not fair. You're caught in the scenario, "Damned if I do, damned if I don't." 

I'm learning and growing. There's always room in life for these elemental things. You can not and should not stop them. What's the point in going through life thinking you're done? You've learned and seen it all. That's just a little boring for my taste, if you ask me.

One of the things I've been learning recently is that you absolutely CANNOT make everyone happy, as much and as hard as you try. At the end of the day, you have to be happy with yourself and the decisions you've made for YOURSELF. Only then should you consider letting in any exterior worries into your life. You can't put too much on your plate. It's your life. Learn to take some damn control of it. 

I've been opening up to myself in recent months, more so than I have in a really long time, and you know what, it feels good. It feels good to be genuine and to take down those fronts and bare all for the world to see. Sure, it's scary, it's new, but what's life without transition and growth? Starting that new chapter everyone's always talking about. 

That's where I feel like I am with life right now. Working through the tough bits and looking forward to those positive goals I want to reach for myself. A lot of what I've been through recently represented itself more in this image now, then from when I originally shot it. Fear of the challenge. Don't look down, just go with it. The height shouldn't defer you from where you want to go, only your preparedness. The unraveling rope representing my control of the situation. 

You can only learn to take each day as it comes, because that's how they're going to come, and you have to face that. We can't control time as much as we'd like to. As long as you're living for yourself, you're living. 

 Behind the Scenes of one of Robert Cornelius's newest images for his "Dust to Dust" series. Click this image to his blog to see the final piece! Photo Credit: Tom Newfordge 

Behind the Scenes of one of Robert Cornelius's newest images for his "Dust to Dust" series. Click this image to his blog to see the final piece! Photo Credit: Tom Newfordge 

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When life's got you down and you have a spare few hours, spending time with friends can make all the difference, helping you get your mind off things for amazing moments of clarity. Right after New Year's, our friend Rob (of Robert Cornelius Photography) invited us up to his studio for a photo day. We usually get together once a month, and just do awesome creative things all day, helping each other out in the process. 

Driving up, the most amazing fog rolled in and lasted for the majority of the day. This is pretty rare for our area, so we took the opportunity to go to the nearby park, before spending the day in the studio. Oh yeah, and I got into a small car accident too. After brunch, we drove to the park and broke off into little groups, just doing our own things. I was itching to shoot. Tom (of Newfordgestudios) and I strolled down this strange path down the hill, below the rubble above, and scouted for possible spots to shoot. 

I kept getting drawn back to this shattered wall on top of the hill. It told a story to me, and I wanted to create something that resonated that feeling in my head. I've had this huge rope for almost two years now, and I've never done anything with it. Always carrying up to meet ups and whatnot. I've seen it used by others in some pretty killer images, but I finally felt like this was the right opportunity to use it. Tom was my human remote for me on this shoot, just to help wrap things up more quickly to make our way back to the studio. 

We had a great day in the studio, drooling over all endless props, equipment, and the awesome brownies Rob's wife made for us. Delicious, gooey, melt-your-heart brownies. Everyone took turns executing different ideas. Personally, I've never been a studio guy. Even when I was in school taking my Advanced Lighting course, I lugged all the equipment and lighting with me and shot on location. That didn't stop me from helping though and I modeled for Rob in this amazing concept for a series he's been working on. 

It's hard to tell me otherwise, but photographer friends are simply some of the best to have, or at least the ones I've come across. We get to set out on day adventures, bounce ideas and talk about common interests, get ourselves in some of the funniest and strangest situations, and still be able to produce some really amazing images. That creative bond and circle of friends is something I hope all people can find.