Guest Speaker at the Guildford Spike WI
Talking About My Photographic Journey
At the beginning of February I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the Guildford Spike WI. They are a wonderful group of women who gave me such a warm welcome.
There was a great turnout on the evening, and any slight nerves I had were soon dispelled once I stood up and got started.
The subject of my talk was how I switched from a corporate career in financial PR and marketing and realised my ambition of becoming a professional photographer. I started by speaking about my early days in corporate photography (nearly 20 years ago now!), my move into family portraiture, and my final destination, which is women’s portraiture – the thing that excites and inspires me the most. One of the quotes I used was this from Steve Jobs:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe to be great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
And he was so right. Choosing to retrain as a photographer and say goodbye to all the perks of working for a big financial company was an easy decision for me in one way because there was nothing about my old job that I loved or even liked. That’s not to say that it wasn’t one of the scariest things I’ve ever done – waving goodbye to the security of a regular pay cheque was very hard. And yet, had I stayed, I know that things would only have got worse – my work was, quite literally, making me ill.
Sometimes it can be difficult to let go of the familiar things when they act as a safety net. But I think that regrets about not having pursued a dream are harder to live with.
I now know that when I make women smile or even cry (yes, they do cry occasionally when they see their photos, but for all the right reasons I’m glad to say!) I’ve made a positive difference to someone’s life.
The response from the audience when I showed them my work was so encouraging, and at the end of my talk there were lots of questions from so many of them; it really was such an enjoyable evening and great to meet so many lovely women.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Guildford branch of the WI, then do take a look at their website. And if you’d like me to come along to your group or organisation as a guest speaker, then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01483 571119.