10 points to whatever Hogwarts house you are if you get my reference in my title.
This post…is going to be a two part thing. There’s two topics I want to touch on and it’s just going in one long ass post.
This past weekend I did something I never EVER thought I’d do. I know people travel alone all of the time but those who know me…will know THAT IS NOT ME. I am an anxious person and I don’t dislike being alone by any means but in certain cases I don’t like to be alone.
Well. This bitch went against everything in her head and went to Atlanta alone (for those who don’t know because why would you really…I live outside of Charleston, SC). To a concert. Alone. Stayed over night. ALONE. Wandered the city the next day A-FUCKING-LONE….and ya know what? It was awesome. Like I didn’t go to Foo Fighters in Columbia (which is like an hour and a half away) because I had no one to go with me and was an anxious mess for many reasons but WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT GIRL?!
If you read my previous post Go ahead and brush ya shoulders off.. you’ll know that it’s been a weird time in my life to say the least. While I was gone I was getting texts and snaps from friends saying how proud they were of me for going alone. It was wonderful though. The only part that was a little…eh..was in between bands when I’d go outside and knew NO ONE and everyone was laughing having a great time and there I was…looking through my camera at the shots I got. The only time I was approached was to be asked if I had a lighter. But, I told myself that as I get more into show photography there are going to be shows where I am alone so I need to embrace it and get used to it. Which is my second topic I’ll touch on. After the show I grabbed food (because I was STARVING…I felt like I couldn’t concentrate on taking photos of State Champs by the end of it because my damn stomach was yelling at me) and crashed at my hotel. Slept like a dead person and had to rush because I woke up an hour before check out. Then I just winged it. I felt like Phoebe from Friends…I didn’t even have a “pla”. I looked up the nearest coffee shop (that wasn’t a starbucks) went there, edited some shots and then picked a parking garage and walked. Road the sky view thing..and when the man was like “just you?” I legit laughed and said yep. Then made my way for lunch. Ended up at The Porter and had a beer, some delicious appetizers and a blackberry cobbler. Y’all…the looks I was getting were priceless. The looks of “is someone joining her…?” “was she stood up…?” those looks. But it was glorious. I’ve taken myself to movies before and obviously have had to eat out alone before but this situation took the damn cake.
For the first time in a long time I’m becoming content with being alone for a bit. I’m going to be 25 in less than two months, I’m single, I’ve got two steady jobs and I found something I am in love with rather than someone I’m in love with. Also, my lovely roommate is moving out (remember that engagement shoot I did?) in roughly ten days and I have not found a new one but…that’s okay. I’d rather try and make it work alone than just pick someone for the sake of picking a new person.
I’m redoing my apartment to fit me. My long term boyfriend and I lived together for about three years and we obviously purchased (I purchased actually) things for our house. I sold my love seat ($50 to get it gone haha) gave away my coffee table, will be giving away some other items as I replace them and bought a gorgeousssss emerald green couch. If anyone knows me knows my favorite color is this shade of green. Even my Fiat is Emerald green.
Basically…when I said 2019 was going to be about loving myself more…I wasn’t kidding. I’m putting work into myself rather than anyone else. I spent the better part of half a decade (yep) making sure someone else was happy and healthy and basically alive to where I became so unhappy I forgot who I was as a person. I just knew myself as “that” person.
Which brings me to my second topic. Life’s Sidebar. When I started this blog in 2016 it was to become a creative outlet for me while I was struggling trying to figure out what my life was. Then March 18, 2017, basically two years ago yesterday I made my second Instagram @lifessidebar and it was going to be an extension of this blog but I was talked into doing Rodan & Fields (which I will say…their products are actually pretty good haha I just didn’t make the time and wanted the discount haha) and was playing around with like recipes, music I was listening to, products I was using and it felt so fake. It was like a weird version of me that I was like eh this doesn’t fit. I was however doing car chats which I actually did love doing. Those were fun. Fast forward to August 2017. I started interning at Music Farm in Charleston. Part of my internship was taking photos during the shows. Now, I’ve gone to my fair share of shows/concerts over the last decade and of course took photos but I never really took the time to just pause and really try but since I knew these were going to be shared on their socials I was like “Hunter get good shots!” and the more I took…the more I went “oh wow…okay I’m enjoying this.” Concert photography became my happy place. It was my escape from reality and for those couple hours I was in a spot where I felt like myself. It wasn’t until maybe February 2018 that I was like “I really want to do this on a serious level” and I was starting to get more feed back on my photos.
I want to point out…I wasn’t using a fancy camera. I was using my iPhone: 7, then 8 plus and then the XS. That’s it. It was my phone, VSCO and that’s it. It wasn’t until I was dating a guy who pushed me to actually look into cameras and using one that I made the change over. October 21, 2018 was the first time I ever used a legit camera. Ever. I didn’t know what I was doing and as he was explaining how to use it (like ISO etc) I felt so dumb. It was all foreign to me and I had no idea it was more detailed than just “snap and shoot”. He answered all my questions and was patient and without that push I probably wouldn’t have taken the jump when I did. So thanks O’Connell.
When I posted about that day being the first time I ever used a camera there was a bit of shock on my feed. No one knew I was using my phone camera (ha-ha) and it was actually really almost rewarding (I guess that’s the word) because I didn’t think I was “good enough” (still don’t really haha).
Fast forward again to January 2019. I finally broke down and made a big purchase. My black betty (love her). She’s a canon t6 and she doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles but she’s my first camera. I still don’t know WHAT THE FUCK I am doing. There’s so much I have to learn you guys. So much. I want to take a class forreal but until then I know some basics. On January 27, 2019, I shot my first show with my canon. I emailed a month prior and got on the guest list for August Burns Red to shoot photos (internally screams still) and I remember being so nervous. It was at Music Farm so it’s not like I hadn’t taken photos there before but not for one of my favorite bands “professionally”. My ex (it’s okay to stay friends with some ex’s btw, sup adulthood) even told me “if you feel stuck using the camera just take out your phone like you normally would and do what you do” because I was that nervous. I was like thinking “I’m going to take all these shit photos” etc.
Well, you can see here, and here, and lastly here, that I was wrong. I cried you guys. As stupid as that sounds…I took a moment and stood on the stairs in the venue and was looking through my camera at some of my shots and got teary eyed. It was a rush of emotions all at once because even now a year ago…or a few months ago I would have never thought I would have done THAT. Ever. There’s photographers I look up to and one I was standing next to shooting the show.
About a week or two or something another show came up and I emailed and got a pass for just practice etc and….I hit a wall of panic. When I say I was driving in my car crying…I was crying. It was at the Performing Arts Center and I was legitimately mentally tearing myself down. “You have no business going” “You are out of your league” “You don’t know what you are even doing Hunter” “You don’t belong there” and lastly “You’re still just an _____’s girlfriend”. It kept running through my head over and over until I was in bed with a headache and feeling all kinds of low. That’s the bitch about anxiety. It will knock you off your feet when you are even feeling your happiest.
After a talk with my roommate and myself basically I talked myself into going and I’m glad I did. I didn’t stay for the entire show because my head was throbbing but I stayed for a decent amount of time.
(legit trying to not get emotional writing this out)
Fast forward again to this last weekend. I knew I wanted to shoot State Champs & Our Last Night for The Living Proof tour. There was a show in Charlotte and Atlanta. Charlotte sold out so I picked Atlanta. I didn’t really have anyone to go with me and at first I was like again I can’t go to this alone…until finally I was like “Yes bitch, you can”.
I take little moments during big moments of my life or what I’m doing and just stop and watch. Which I did. There were a couple moments during the show I just stopped shooting and embraced what I was doing and where I was. I again saw a photographer that I looked up to and got to shoot next to her.
As I’m typing this…I’m still getting notifications from Instagram for likes on one of the posts I did from that night. Currently it’s at 387 likes and another is at 227. (WHICH IS FUCKING CRAZY LIKE HOLY BANANAS) The most I’ve ever gotten was maybe 150 and otherwise if it’s at almost 100 or more it’s a photo of me (which cool but ya know….lol as a starting photographer…) I tried that promote feature and didn’t expect it to help exposure for these two photos and it helped. Instagram make it easier for people to see shit! When I say it blows my mind that not only that many people have seen my photo…but liked it…mine. My photo. I’ve had my camera maybe two month’s and still don’t know what I’m doing and still feel like I’m out of my league in the photo pit. I’m humble because I know it’s a fluke. It’s not something that will always happen and I know there are so many talented artists out there better than me.
But I’m also grateful and so in shock that this is my life at this moment. So, not bragging by any means but just so shocked and it’s a cool feeling.
I work in property management outside of Charleston, I have a cat and basically no one special. I do NOT say that in a bad way because I love my little life haha I just mean I’m a nobody.
So getting to shoot certain shows and those artists seeing that work and liking it. Even asking you to send them photos….it’s just amazing and I’m so happy.
For the first time in a very very long time I am so happy. Again, I found something I’m in love with. I don’t expect to be the next big photographer but shit I’ll try my hardest.
You can see my photos here or Instagram.
If you made it this far…which if your ass read all of this bravo. Just fucking bravo because this was a lot longer than I expected. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone following this website, my facebook page, my poor sad twitter page and my Instagram and all of the support and love.
For old times…if you made it this far leave a watermelon on a post.