Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
“Alright, perfect.” I announce, looking down at my camera to peruse through the pictures I had just captured. The model in front of me wore a meticulously curated outfit of my choosing: a muted rainbow of varied sportswear, accompanied by denim accessories and worn-out sneakers. Though clashing in most eyes, it was definitely a work of art in mine.
Growing up in the Bay Area, I was exposed to an array of styles for all of my life. The one place that served as an oasis for my fashion exploration, however, was the urban jungle of San Francisco. This city, a hub of expression and counterculture, portrayed a different view of beauty and style compared to the rest of the world. Here, I learned that fashion was not only to be enjoyed by socialites and shopaholics, but it also served as the common person’s outward expression of character. People wore their own emotions and aspirations on their backs for the whole world to see, which intrigued me deeply. I viewed fashion as art and I was thrilled to start creating my own masterpieces.
Enthusiastically, I arrived to every event decked out in eclectic ensembles, expecting positive feedback. In spite of my sparked fascination, not many others experienced fashion in the same way that I did. If anything, I received several compliments on my carefully chosen outfits, but nothing more. To them, fashion was nothing but an irrelevant aspect of the daily routine.
The lack of appreciation for my style prompted me to look elsewhere for a creative outlet. Utilizing an arsenal of search engines, I researched mainstream art and one artistic path in particular stood out to me in my desperate time of need: photography. I remember feeling as if a light bulb went off in my head. If others didn’t understand the inner workings of my artistry, I would present fashion to a platform in which they would.
I gathered a few friends to model and immediately went to work. My thoughts became reality as various outfits materialized before me. Bright and monochromatic fabrics effortlessly meshed together in a sort of mismatched cohesion, and I captured this concept with the push of a button. Equipped with a starter camera, I began to manifest the very art I saw through my own eyes.
Soon, as I poured my heart and soul into this hobby, my peers began to gather an appreciation for my work. My daily outfits were no longer simple recollections, but art pieces that would weather through time as pixels on a screen or fresh ink on glossy paper. Each shot captured the flair and spirit that I experienced every single time I delved into the fashion realm and as a result, people finally began to understand and enjoy my art.
At this point, I began to notice that the satisfaction stemming from my art arrived even before any praise rolled in. I realized that I was not fulfilled because I had the approval of others, rather, I had the approval of others because I was already fulfilled.
Though unexpectedly, my dedication to fashion photography ultimately led me to become a more secure person in different aspects. I became more confident in all of my creative ventures, gaining an awareness that even the smallest possibility of success was worth the risk of failure. In addition, my ideas coming to fruition has also nourished an artistic independence within me. I recognize the value of criticisms and opinions of others, but I never let outside input overshadow the manifestation of my own thoughts. Overall, what started as a ploy for artistic affirmation ultimately transformed me into the liberated, individualistic person I am today. My journey of personal growth is never-ending, but my creativity is ultimately what pushes me to continue this long, winding road to self-discovery.