Growing Pains - Featuring Keith McGonigle | Emily McGonigle Photography

In case you were unaware, the growth pattern of a creative is not linear. The emotional patterns of a creative are certainly not linear either.

A chart I found on the interwebz... I see it come up in my social feeds from time to time and it always makes me chuckle... Because it's so true.

A chart I found on the interwebz... I see it come up in my social feeds from time to time and it always makes me chuckle... Because it's so true.


A few weeks ago I posted a blog titled, "We All Start Somewhere". It was basically a before/after comparison of my work when I FIRST started, to my work now. I poked at how terrible of a photographer I used to be, but it also had kind of an air of pride and self-backpatting for having made such vast improvements. And I mean... I have improved, and I should be proud of that... But fast-forward another week or so later and I found myself in a massive pit of self-doubt and despair. Why? Because I went to the studio one weekend with my husband to try some stuff and I got frustrated. And frustration lead to self-doubt, which lead to anger, which lead to depression, which lead to... well, you get the idea.

I came home and didn't touch those images for AT LEAST 2 weeks. Anytime I thought about doing so, I would just get mad again, so I left them alone. Finally, one night, I was calm and happy enough to open the folder on my hard drive housing the images, and I started to go through them. "Okay... Alright... These aren't as bad as I made them out to be...".

I picked out a handful that I decided to work on and I finally finished them last night.

Are they terrible? No. (Well, maybe the last few, ha). Could they be better? Yes. (We can always be better). But here's the thing: I'm going through another growth period. I'm experiencing a lot of artistic growing pains. I'm forcing myself to take the feedback that I've gotten about what I need to do to make my work better, stronger, and more interesting. Part of that is having to be okay with making mistakes; Making things that aren't 100% perfect, and figuring out why they aren't and fixing them.

So why am I spouting all this off? It's not because I want tons of comments of reassurance... I'm not fishing for compliments... I'm saying this because I want people, specifically artists and creatives to understand that we all go through this. A lot. And sometimes it sucks, but we come out on the other side much better for it. Because, it means that we have a passion for our craft, and we want to be continuously growing and stretching ourselves to be the best we can possibly be.

Here are the images I made with Keith that day in the studio:


Keith saw some images I was looking at the night before we went to the studio, and he told me that he wanted photos "like that". I reassured him I wasn't sure how to make photos "like that", but... we could try anyway:


I tried... Did I accomplish what I was going for? I'm still not sure, but the important thing was that I tried, right? LOL


As our dear Mz. Frizzle always said: "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!"



Emily McGonigle Photography is a Nashville Portrait Photographer, and can be contacted for booking inquiries here.