• Meredith

What's your Worth?

Have you ever had one those moments where all at once your hard work, time & effort are being praised, and yet in that same breathe the very foundations on which you stand are pulled out from under your feet? Well that happened to me this week!

During a telephone call regarding the potential sale one of my photographic pieces- see below (insert a little happy dance and the biggest grin), it was drawn to my attention that a fellow photographer had taken it upon themselves to tarnish this very same photographic piece.

Autumn Colours

Now please don't get me wrong- I am all for constructive criticism and feedback, how else as photographer am I too grow. What draws my eye doesn't necessarily draw another's, so to get another's perspective on a photographs composition is always appreciated!

But when the comments stray from being constructive to tarnishing ones reputation I draw the line! But in that moment, knowing those words had be spoken & shared amongst complete strangers, my heart broke. When the call ended I sat quietly in my office and let the tears that had been welling quietly fall.

As I sat and gathered my thoughts, it got me to thinking-

What gives this individual, or anyone else for that matter, the right to tarnish my journey and therefore My Worth?

And unfortunately I am learning that this kind of behaviour is happening more than I had thought possible amongst. I knew passive aggressive styled bullying was riff amongst nurses but I honestly thought creatives would be more compassionate! Just recently I was devastated to hear that a young photographer, whose works were so brutally criticised had put away her camera and has not had the courage or the confidence to use it to take another photograph.

I guess I have been hesitant in sharing too much for fear of being judged! But laugh out loud, it appears I am being judged either way. So I am going to take the time and share with you my journey!

All I ask in return though, is that you respect my journey! The world would be extremely boring if we all travelled the same path!

My Journey is My Worth!

After a work place injury in 2012, my accomplished nursing career which spanned some 26 years came to an abrupt end. My left hand was crushed resulting in the permanent disability known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) & I left with what was medically deemed a 30+% whole person impairment.

"Imagine your hand in doused in gasoline, lit on fire and kept going for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you know that that burning was never going to go out!
Next rub in some salt, and just for good measure rub sandpaper on top of that".

Keith Orsini

This is one of the best defined descriptions of CRPS I have found! Everything from the food I eat, to the clothing I wear and even the weather will flare my CRPS, for which their is no known drug, treatment or cure.

McGill Pain Index Scale

I spent years in physical therapy retraining not only my brain but also myself to do the the simple things such as eating and dressing. You honestly don't realise how the simple things are impacted when you only have one functioning arm.

So against all advice, because I am a rebel and don't really like being told what I can and cannot do, I picked up a camera to aid in not only my physical but also my mental therapy.

It was hard work, and even today there are days when I cannot physically co ordinate my fingers or have the strength to hold a lens. But it gave me a new found freedom to explore. To appreciate the things I had been too busy to stop and admire before. To live again.

And a whole new world of opportunities began to present themselves.

I ventured off to do photography courses & I invested in online courses, seeking out my style of photography. I went to night school to get my creative on with a Creative's Course to further hone my skills not only as a photographer but also for design. At present I am completing an online Instagram and Social media course, and I will continue to stay abreast and invest in education and professional development.

I spent months searching out suppliers with whom I aligned. You see it would be easy to have my photographic works printed and sold on the cheap, I could make myself a tidy little sum in the short term. But I don't like having things come back to haunt me! So it took me months to source suppliers with whom I aligned. Suppliers who offered high quality products, and products that are designed to keep your photographic pieces looking as good on your walls as the day you brought them. Products that come with a warranty that back this up. I have custom designed and manufactured a pack that accompanies all investments made in my Custom Framed Photographic Pieces.

Being accepted early last year to undertake the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) was one of the most challenging & rewarding educational courses I have under taken. It pushed me to almost breaking point. As par of the course I had to compile and submit a detailed business plan, which when completed was just shy of 80 pages but also a comprehensive two year financial plan projection- both within a few short weeks that the course ran.

I have just given my first, of what I hope is many, Photography Workshops! For this I designed a fun filled day, along with producing an educational 15 page activity workbook for budding photographers. The feed back from the Workshop has fuelled my desire to continue to grow and develop Professionally.

I am in the initial stages of designing introductory brochures for Investing in my soon to be released Newborn and Pet Photography Packages- details to follow at a later date.

And I look forward to many new and exciting ventures that are in the pipe line!

But this, this is My Journey & therefore My Worth.

I have enough baggage to carry, I do not need to be burdened by yours! Nor do others!

Criticising others can only be warranted when they can be there in person to defend themselves, so please remember the old saying:

"If you have nothing to say, say nothing"!

Mark Twain

I don't dwell on the past, and I won't dwell on this. In fact I acknowledge it and will draw strength from what it has taught me about the person I am.

It is not yet two years since I started this journey with my camera and small business, but the best is yet to come! I may not yet have the years of experience or a name that is renowned, but my passion and style are uniquely my own, as is this journey.

And so as this adventure ramps up, I want to continue to share it with you!

So Let's Venture Together,


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