Wednesday, August 25, 2010

like breathing

RustyNut on failure.

RustyNut on Success.

RustyNut. Shit. What the heck do I do now?

I am really good at spending a lot of time planning things. I usually put way too much time, energy and thought into making sure that everything is going to be perfect before I'm ready to pull the trigger and really give it a go. Sometimes that perfectionism is a little…paralyzing.

I had been taking photographs for my entire life and I knew that I had some good, interesting stuff. Then, Brian came along and the two of us worked at really fine tuning our work and creating a specific vision for it. So about a year ago, I opened up Rusty Nut Studio on Etsy. I say opened but really all that I did was type in my email address, upload a banner and let the shop sit there, eternally empty. I convinced myself that I wasn't really ready to open up a shop, that I needed a bigger inventory, that I wanted to know my audience, that I had to cull through all of my photos and choose only the extraordinary ones. I was in "planning" procrastination and self doubt mode.

Photography is the way that I express myself. I'm good at words but there are just too many things that I cannot say so I take pictures instead. If you ever really want to know what is inside of me, my pictures are the closest you'll get to knowing. So I was scared to put them out into the world for fear of rejection. I knew that was what I was doing but still, I resisted.

Eventually I pulled up my big girl panties and said enough is enough. I spent weeks choosing photos, writing clever little descriptions and stories, creating labels and tags, uploading images, writing shipping policies, starting a facebook group, joining street teams, marketing, advertising, promoting, and finally getting my butt in gear. It felt so good that I wondered why the heck I had procrastinated for so long. We were getting hits and mentioned on blogs and lots of positive reviews. We were in tons of Treasuries and we even got our first online sale. I was proud of myself.

Then I realized that I had been remiss and I really needed to backup all of my photography so that I could better protect it . In the process of trying to be responsible and proactive, I lost everything. Not only the most exceptional of my work, but the mundane too, and the memories. Pictures of my sister's first visit to Seattle. Pictures of my nephew's birth and the first Easter that my niece spent at my house. Pictures of my mom's family at Christmas. Pictures of my ex-husband and the many apartments we lived in over the years. Pictures of my dearest friends and my deceased grandfather and my dad, before he got sick. Pictures of trips to New Orleans and Paris and Mackinac Island and Yosemite and London and Utah and the Badlands. Pictures from my first photo safari with Brian. Pictures of my kitty, self-portraits that I was finally brave enough to take of myself. Many tens of thousands of photographs, gone forever.

I took down most of the images in the Etsy Shop (a few still remain because I have print outs of them already prepared). I stopped marketing and I wallowed in my own stupidity for a while. Until finally I said screw it, picked up my camera and decided to start over. I might not be able to get my portfolio back but I had progressed so much over the years that I knew I would be able to shoot like never before. I was determined and even a little bit excited to start shooting with an intensity that may have been slightly lacking before. And then……my camera broke, my beautiful Nikon. Fixing it would cost nearly as much as a new one. I declared tha tI was finished and the the Universe was jumping in to save me from failure and that obviously I wasn't good enough to be a "real" photographer and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

That was a month ago. I haven't taken a single photograph since July 23rd and it feels like I am missing a limb. 2 serious Epic photography failures 3 days apart with no immediate solution.

But you know, I'm determined. I'm going to try to sell the remaining stock in the shop to start funding the purchase of another camera (quick, hurry, run over there now while some inventory remains!). And in the meantime, I'm reading and studying and planning my next photo shoots. And in the end, I know, without a doubt that I'll be back in the saddle again. I don't have a choice, photography is like breathing and I don't know who I am without it.


  1. Your photos are moving so I'm glad you'll hurdle these latest obstacles.

    Perhaps the obstacles are really a "forced" procrastination, eh?


  2. Oh God! I had no idea that is what had happened, that SUCKS! I lost all my Vancouver Island photos and felt like I lost a limb so I can totally relate. The CDs seem to have disappeared during our move so even when you back stuff up, it can still disappear. Not to worry, focus on today and the future. It is hard to recover from such a profound loss, I know. Just as an idea, I backup my photos now online via Flickr and emailing them to myself via Gmail.

  3. Tanaya, I had a very similar experience with losing ALL my photos on my 'puter. My brother thought he had backed them up but somehow, they were deleted, gone, erased from my computer. I was devestated but tried to hide it as I know that my brother was utterly despondent that somehow they were not backed up. It took him a few months, but he found a way to retrieve my pictures, not all of them, there is only one family vacation that seems to be lost in cyber space, but any techie will tell you nothing is really gone from the computer. Please call a tech savvy guru, they may be able to get them. Going through that loss is one of the reasons I joined flickr, so I had another form of back up and along the way, I made some really cool friends :). I wish I could help you more with the camera... Hang in there love, if you have your photos on flickr, you have them backed up and can retrieve those ones. {{{hugs}}}

  4. Data from a dead hard drive can often be saved, as long as the disk isn't jammed up or scraping, etc. Have you looked into taking it to shop to try and retrieve the data?