Talking about yourself / by Laura Ward

I've been keeping myself busy since the beginning of the year. I hear a lot of people telling me to make more time for doing nothing, like it's better for the soul. In my case, it's not. I'd always rather be doing something rather than nothing. Some of these somethings are developing into exciting ventures.

One of my new roles is Project Manager for Shutter Hub (I totally L-O-V-E that team). One afternoon in early February I had the opportunity to address a room of aspiring photographers at a workshop run by Accumul8. Their mission is to empower young, homeless people through creativity. I talked about my journey and approach to photography, and how my camera is my tool, my weapon, my voice and occasionally my therapist. Afterwards I spent some time with one of students who couldn't believe we had so much in common. 

The most refreshing thing about the afternoon was the lack of assumptions anyone made about me which is what I had feared the most. I walked away feeling empowered by the process of sharing advice, tips, fears, ideas and how I measure success. People listened and made notes. I'm very grateful to both Shutter Hub and Accumul8 for giving me that platform and for allowing me to listen to them too. 

It's helpful to spend a chunk of time thinking about your motivations, your work and the narrative behind the pictures you take. Sometimes it pays off to be honest about the stories to tell and the reason we pick up a camera or paintbrush or pencil or guitar. I've often found myself editing or deleting blog posts that tread onto the fringes of personal content. Recently a good photographer friend Ted told me 'if it's not personal, why bother?'. He's right. So right. My most recent projects have helped me heal, forced me to get outside of my comfortable zone and in turn, made me feel much better about my place in the world. The most immediate thing in my gift to change is where I put my energy, which projects I'll focus on and who I want to invest time in. It's my food for thought this year.

Here are a few pictures from my local park this winter.  I can't get enough of Crystal Palace when it's cold.