#inreview: april

 Photo Credit: @skinnywashere

Photo Credit: @skinnywashere

Happy spring, y'all! I hope the season has kicked off with minimal showers and full flowers. It certainly has been an incredible month for creativity and development on my end, and I pray the same for each of you. 

As you may have noticed, I did a little spring cleaning on the site. This was done mainly for site experience but also to showcase a more serious brand direction for #drewinthecity. I'm now in a place where this project can start becoming more than just a hobby, and stories can only be shared and experienced properly if their platform is laid out well.  

To be honest, this is something I put off mostly due to laziness and insecurity. I knew soon after launch that an upgrade would take place eventually, but I wanted to make sure any new change happened organically and made sense. Fortunately, spring is the perfect transition, and a celebrating the first year of stories through a site reboot felt right. 

From here, my hope is that you'll gain further support and encouragement to pursue your own dreams and endeavors. The process is ever evolving, so this is just the beginning to an overall fresh start in my creative life. The passion is alive and well. 

No longer creatively ashamed.

During the past twenty-four years, my heart has journeyed in many directions, literally and figuratively. I've moved locations multiple times, and with each move came a new path, activity, or something to "achieve." While I could spin the situation like nobody's business, there was always a creative energy boiling inside. 

Knowing me now, one might read this with a confusing eye. I've been pretty open about my journey towards photography, writing, fashion, and art, but that hasn't always been the case. It was easier to hide behind other to-do's. Student government, sports, and community service all took priority because they were slightly more tangible and less vulnerable emotionally.  

Furthermore, it wasn't always a "blue ribbon moment" when I wanted to pursue artistic things. Don't get me wrong, my family wanted me to be confident in these pursuits, and I'll forever love them for it. (They still won't let me live it down that I stopped piano and saxophone.) Regardless, I let the weight of growing up in the South squash those dreams, delaying growth in the craft.

But now, I'm choosing to use these experiences to propel this project forward. Shedding the worry, I've jumped headfirst into the dream, and I hope you'll join me. 

 Photo credit: Aundre Larrow

Photo credit: Aundre Larrow

Different but together.

As mentioned in my last post, I had the distinct opportunity of joining six other New York-based photographers on a weekend excursion to Rhode Island. Each of us has a pretty distinct visual eye for space and photos, which was inspiring to see. We traveled with a common goal for championing beauty, storytelling, and adventure, and the slight composition differences only enhanced the experience. 

Additionally, we found ourselves discovering different approaches to conversation, life, and thought. The conversations had were fulfilling even when there were differences of opinion. We were able to respect and learn from one another, which is something that doesn't always happen. This rawness mixed with genuine curiosity refreshed my approach to relationship building in all areas of my life.  

This is something I hope to bring to the forefront of this project in the coming months. (This is a community oriented site after all.) Throughout the month, as I realized my own viewpoints, interests, and gifts, the light shined brightly on my desire for communities of people to intertwine regardless of time spent in a given place. A place like New York may be super transient, but that shouldn't discourage from sharing life with others. 

Act with positive intent. 

The above points are only furthered that much more by positive intent. Sure, haters may hate, but it's possible they just don't understand the message. Instead of slamming back, I'm learning that it's more effective to listen, for this helps gain a better understanding for why a person is asking a question and how to best deliver a response. Once you know how the other person likes to receive information, confidently give your response with kindness and grace in that preferred way.

When this isn't practiced, it can lead to miscommunication and potentially hostile interactions. Confrontation can be hard to handle, but I'm finding that it's smoother sailing the sooner something is addressed. Allowing multiple smirks, reactions, or comments compound into a greater issue can drive a wedge in the relationship. 

But when positive intent is presumed and respect is maintained, direct feedback and conversation can happen in a more productive way. Things can then be addressed and corrected before the thought of "confrontation" even has a chance to keep you up at night. 

In the end, we want to make an impact through our craft. Sometimes the best way to share this with friends and the world is to spend time with them as you normally would and allow them to ask questions about the project. And if they offer feedback on your personal habits/actions or the direction of the project, listen and be gracious. Often times, if it's bothering them (or if they simply don't understand "the why" of your project), this is perfect way to learn how to learn, grow, and repeat. 

If you have thoughts on this or anything else, please feel free to comment below or send me a direct line via email. I'd love to work through things with you as I work through them myself.