Photography Manifestations of 2019

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m so excited for this new year to be able to expand myself and find comfort in all that I am. I know I fall into this Imposter syndrome constantly but this year, I’m not letting it get to me. 2018 has taught me that in order to move forward, I NEED TO BELIEVE IN MYSELF AND MY CRAFT! It’s amazing to have strangers and family believe in me but what about Ashley Jacklyn? We forget that people can feed on our energies and I honestly believe that others could sense my mood and fear of not being good enough.

I’ve said it last year to so many people, we are our own worst critics and the reasons why we are not where we want to be. Thankfully, I was able to see that last year and decided to finally make my photography a real LLC. Now that I fully am immersed into my path, what is next? It’s important that I stay focused and remind myself everyday of why I’m a photographer and mental health advocate.

Step one: who are the people that I want to target for my photography.

I want to work with people who see the value in photography and not just a photograph for their Instagram. Last year, I realized that A LOT of influencers do not respect photographers AND photography in general. To them, we’re a means to an end, which is them using OUR photos to get famous. Not here, not anymore at least. I want to work with influencers who respect what I do just as much as I respect their work. I know it isn’t easy to style yourself and always put your best foot forward, that is extremely exhausting but as a photographer; we too have similar struggles, especially when our work, like influencers work, do not get taken seriously. I’m throwing it into the air right now that I want to work with people who make my time and effort worth it. I want to create relationships that will last and grow with them.

Step two: My rates are high for a reason.

I don’t mind the collaboration here and there when I know that I am also gaining something out of the situation. But if you’re coming into my DMs asking me to collaborate with you, you gotta sell yourself to me as to why I should work free of charge. Just because you might be a pretty face, doesn’t mean that you can get away with free things. It’s time in 2019 people stop trying to use their physical appearances and actually understand how businesses run, especially from those of us who are smaller. I charge a specific amount because I have to pay for higher taxes and keep up to date with mainstream photography but the main reason why is I know I’m worth it. My workflow isn’t just me slapping a pretty filter over an image and calling it a day, I actually take the time to feel the images out and find the right style to match the person as well as the scene. Photography isn’t just a filter, it’s a moment in time created by us, that to me is magic.

Step three: Stop comparing my work.

I know ever since social media blew up the way that it did, photography has come along with it. Everyone and their grandmothers thinks they are photographers and I feel like I can’t keep up. Firstly, these trends that are popping up on Instagram are a bit excessive; like the person you started out with is transformed into some superhuman doll that looks like they would enslave our race, HAHA. Or that it’s just overly filtered and to some photographers, that’s their thing, more power to them but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I wonder if I’m good enough to keep pursuing this. Of course after those thoughts and me making it aware to my friends, I get yelled at for not noticing how good I actually am and then those thoughts stop. But it’s something we all deal with and it’s time that I accept that there will be photographers no matter what, some will be betters and others won’t, just keep doing me.

Last step: STOP USING MY ANXIETY AS AN EXCUSE.

Listen, I know most of ya’ll think I’m this powerful being and you’re damn right! I live everyday constantly with anxiety on my mind and still kick ass at a lot of things but it’s extremely difficult to do things at times. Take the first week of this year, I contracted a stomach virus and could not eat anything. It really messed with my mood and therefore I started to fall into that trap of negative thoughts. Also, seasonal depression is a real thing and she’s trying to drag my ass in with her. BUT look, I have anxiety, generalized anxiety to be exact and no it’s not your normal anxiety. Let’s please lets stop the “Oh I have it too” because if you really did then you’d understand how stuck I can really get in my mind. The type of anxiety I have is living in constant worry, trying to find escape plans and always thinking the worse of a situation. If this isn’t your daily, then you don’t get to tell me that all I need is to breathe through it or “TaKe yOgA, YOu’LL bE cuReD” BECAUSE THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. It’s a chemical imbalance ya’ll and I don’t see you guys telling people who have physical illnesses if they take “yOgA” the illness will disappear, so STOP. Anyhoo, even though I live in the world of anxiety, it doesn’t mean it’s an excuse for not doing the best that I can. I will always give 110% of myself and work my hardest but it’s also understanding that there will be times that I can’t do something and that’s OKAY! My anxiety is a curse and a beautiful blessing, it invokes things into me that neurotypical people can’t understand and it teaches me empathy and kindness that I don’t think I’d have if I were anxiety-free. I know a lot of people think you can be cured of this and I’m sure in the future they will be able to but as of now, I am living with it and accepting myself for all that it comes with (sometimes but i’m learning to do this more) and I LOVE ME.

I know that 2019 has the power to be a wonderful year and I know that it also takes me putting a lot of effort and work into it for it to be a wonderful year. I also understand that I will fall but I know I have the ability and strength to get back up and do it again. Thank you to those of who you are here still with me, we have a lot of work to do.

Until then, xoxo

Jacklyn

2018, thank you.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and as I sit in bed on this Sunday evening, cramping and eating (true story), I’m hit with nostalgia.

2018, I’ve lost a lot but I’ve also gained so much.

I didn’t want to see what you had in store for me and honestly thought this year would be trash. In January, my best friend since I was a child decided to stop being my friend. After everything we went through, he decided on love and I’m okay with that. I wish him well, but he’s gone to me, I have to move on.

That feeling of losing a friend brought out a lot of hurt and pain from the past and my trust issues with people slowly crept back into my mind again. I’ve always wanted friends, especially a sisterhood that would empower one another and this time around, I got extremely lucky to be surrounded by wonderful, beautiful women; Rei, Tejal, Elvia, MJ, Shae, Baylee, Alexandria, Larissa, Alexis, Erica, Crystal, Ashley, Sharan, Swati, MahJ, Emily, ; women that believe in ME and my craft, and so many more beautiful souls on my Instagram. I never knew how powerful these women could help heal my soul in a way I thought couldn’t happen. I’m truly grateful and changed by the kindness I have received from all of them and on Instagram too.

I have been blessed to be a part of so many amazing opportunities this year, the Goddess event, getting to write my mental illness story on Trust me, I get it, being on a local Jersey City blog called Growing in Jersey City for International Women’s Day ,working with beautiful brands like, Wunder Body and of course AMERICAN EAGLE! I want to say that each opportunity is NEVER too small to me. When someone comes to me because they want me to be a part of their wonderful change in the world, I always give my 100% heart and mind because I know how hard it is out here to be a small brand and make a change. But WE ARE changing the future and I cannot wait for all the new opportunities to make this world more beautiful in 2019!

In the end of February, I finally decided to create my photography LLC. I felt that it was truly time to invest in myself the way so many others believe and support me. I realize as this year is coming to an end, that believing in yourself and what you are meant to do is one of the hardest journeys of self love. People will ALWAYS try to bring you down or make you feel like your dreams are not possible but they ARE! I still kick myself to this day because if I had the courage and strength to believe in my photography, I would have created this sooner.But that’s the funny thing about life, everything happens when it’s meant to be. God’s timing for us will always out-weight what we believe is the right time and I am finally trusting this process. Shout out to Francisco Hernandez , Jessica Kobeissi, Photo me Ike, Manny Ortiz, Tony and Chelsea Northup, K Visionary for being the inspirations I need!

In July, the week of my 27th birthday, Brian and I got a call about an apartment space in Downtown Jersey City and we only had a few hours to decide what we we’re going to do. You guys know that I have anxiety and deciding things so quickly and being such a huge change, instilled so much fear into me. I worried that we couldn’t do it on our own or that it would ruin our relationship but I took a leap of faith with Brian holding my hand, our families behind us rooting us on and God telling me that “it’s all going to be okay” and we became apartment owners. It was hard in the beginning, I cried a lot because family is so important to me and I really loved being surrounded by Brian’s family everyday but I knew that it was time for us to start our own journey and of course, we’re like 10 minutes away from both of our families (yes, I’m a CANCER!)

In September I got extremely sick with a middle ear infection that caused me to lose some of my hearing, a respiratory sinus infection and bronchitis. For a whole month I was stuck to a bed, unable to breathe and afraid to sleep because I thought I’d suffocate in my sleep and never wake up. I also was unable to hear and when one of your senses are compromised, the world seems so lonely. It felt really lonely but I promised myself that I’d get better because I had so much more to do in this world and I did.

At the end of November, something traumatic happened and I had to take a week away from the world, to hide and try to recollect myself. It brought back a lot of anxieties within me that I thought I had overcome but were only push in the back of my mind. As I write this, I’m looking at my vision board of 2019 and have promised myself that I will see a therapist and heal again. Healing isn’t linear and it isn’t beautiful either, it’s ugly and probably the hardest thing to do but I am ready.

There was so much more that happened but I’d be here writing a novel and I’m sure with this generations mindset, half of you haven’t even made it this far, haha but I digress. I’m so appreciative to be able to still be here despite all that life throws at me and I know my Grandpa is watching over me and protecting me because it’s not my time yet. This world still has so much to learn about empathy and mental health awareness and I’m going to be the one to stand tall and make that change. It’s not easy and just like those days I had in 2018 where everything felt wrong, I know I will find the strength to keep moving forward.

One last thing before I go, I want to say thank you to Brian for being my soulmate. He has taught me patience, how to be grounded and how to love when I was afraid. God knew we needed someone like you in the world to remind us of how beautiful it can be. And to my family, friends and my pups, thank you for loving me for who I am, growing with me and seeing the beauty and pain in this world. I love you all so dearly and I cannot wait for 2019 with you all.

Until then, xoxo

Jacklyn