Stepping outside of our comfort zone

As photographers we tend to stick with what we know and feel comfortable with, however today I found myself squarely sat outside of my usual comfort zone. A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine asked whether IJeju Statue in Ulsan Grand Park would take the time to speak with her daughters about photography; now talking photography is something I do well, I can sit for hours and discuss images, shooting situations and what I feel is the best light, but this is usually within a situation where I feel comfortable, amongst my peers or with people who know me really well, however being faced with speaking to strangers, teenage strangers to make things worse, brought me out in a very cold sweat.

“What are you doing tomorrow?” my husband asked me, “taking a few girls out on a photography tutorial” I replied sheepishly; “REALLY!?!?!” came the response, “you hate doing things like that!” Oh how he knows me and more importantly knows my fears.

Composer and musician Frank Zappa stated that “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible” and although music is somewhat outside of my artistic genre, doing things we feel uncomfortable with helps us grow and gives us the courage to face other demons in the future. I know this to be true from other situations I have found myself in, so with this mantra running through my head, I headed out with my friend and her daughters to talk about photography and hopefully take some interesting photos.

I really was not sure where to start or what was expected of me from this outing, but once I started talking things seemed to go okay. The main subjects we covered were light and composition; looking and seeing is a big thing in my photography and we discussed how finding something different in a situation could produce some really interesting shots. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side this day, however the conditions were almost perfect for shooting flowers, so thankfully the cherry blossom was our main source of inspiration, although we did talk about how having knowledge of a subject can make us look at things differently. For example, I have fundamental knowledge about Buddhism and Buddhist temples in Korea, it is a subject I photographed often during my studies and one I have continued to shoot outside of my academic requirements. This knowledge helps me see things from a different point of view, so I would frame something differently to how others may see it; this would be true for any subject, as understanding what we are photographing and seeing it from a different perspective will only make our work more interesting and thus unique.

At the end of our jaunt I asked my friend if I did okay, her daughters didn’t seem to ask that many questions, although in hindsight they were probably out of their comfort zone too, after all they do not know me, so a strange redheaded woman articulating over a subject they could probably care less about probably seemed strange! “Yes” she said, “It was great, and even if the girls didn’t learn anything I certainly did!” This statement was actually comforting as it made me realise that I do know what I am talking about; I did not hesitate over the information I gave them and I felt confident in my technical knowledge, even if some of it was not necessarily appropriate for the day.

So now I ask myself “would I do something like this again?” Yes I think I would as the morning turned out much better than I thought it would and stepping outside of my comfort zone for just a few hours has made me realise that I can achieve almost things, not only from my photography but from my life in general.

Photo’s from this day can be found here.

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