Instant Positivity

We all experience moments in our lives where we feel down or feel like we were just pushed off a cliff. We all have days, or weeks, or months where we don't feel like we can do anything, or change anything for the better. We are all human.

In Fall 2017, I was in my first semester of Senior year at NAU. A lot of things in my life were changing. I was living on my own, 2 hours away from my family, for a year now. I said goodbye to my two great friends and roommates and had just gotten two new ones. I had a new job working for NAU Marketing as a student worker in the Photo department. And the looming fear of graduation was nearing closer.

I knew that once I had graduated, this whole being a photographer thing was going to get a lot more serious. I started thinking about how I would pay for my bills, how I would find work, how I would compete with other professionals and if I was even good enough to be called a photographer. I started wondering if I was even good at photography, or if people were just making me feel good by lying about my work.

It was all getting into my head and I began to spiral. My mood was fluctuating every moment, I couldn't focus, I was always tired, and I had a lot of projects at the time. Of course, projects were always fun because it meant doing the one thing I love the most which is photography. One class that was always fun to shoot for was Conceptual with Eric O'Connell. An amazing course, with an even better teacher. Eric was always so excited to give us our next task and to discuss our previous ones. I always looked forward to Conceptual during that semester.

One assignment was about text in photographs. How the usage of words in an image could change or manipulate the story you told. I began to brainstorm ways of doing that, and I must say, that was the most challenging assignment in the course. You never think about using text in an image, because you're displaying your message with visuals.

While my fellow classmates were finalizing their ideas, I was frantically writing ideas into my journal to hopefully find something that'd stick. One day, while at my desk at home, I was working on another assignment and saw an Instax of my beautiful girlfriend Skyleigh propped up against my computer. Written at the bottom of the Instax was the normal small message about that moment and the date it was taken.

It was right then that I had found my idea. Something so simple as a couple of words and a date told so much about that image. I knew using instant film would be my format to shoot for this project, but the question was what my subject going to be?

I had finally had enough of all the negativity around me and decided I would do something positive. I decided I would approach strangers around Flagstaff, AZ and ask them if I could photograph them and have them write down just one positive thing about their day. That was it. Something very simple but also something that would get me out of my comfort zone.

That is how "Instant Positivity" was born. I so tired of being focused on the negative that I decided to walk away from it and do something new and positive. I had a great turn out of individuals who were willing to be a part of it, and the project was a success. Sadly, once it was time to turn in our assignment, the project had to take a backseat. My final semester at NAU was a crazy one, and I never got to go back out and shoot some more.

Now that I've moved back to Phoenix, AZ, I've decided it's time to start "Instant Positivity" again. This time, however, I want to shoot this project with Instax instead of Polaroid. Although it was fun to shoot with an original Polaroid Spirit 600, the film is severely lacking in quality. This isn't a bash at Polaroid or to start a war between the two instant film giants, but I find the overall image quality of Instax film to be better suited for this project.

The latest SQ20 camera by Fujifilm is also a great camera for this project because of its hybrid technology which allows you to save your images digitally and then print which image you want. This feature will allow me to provide my subjects with their own copy, instead of providing a digital version later.

I am really looking forward to starting this project again, and I hope that it sparks other personal project ideas.

I appreciate anyone who read this post, and please share this post if you can! Here are all of my original shots from Flagstaff. Enjoy!

See you next time!