Amanda Sosa Stone with Daughter Lilia. photo by Diana Zalucky
Have you ever felt that glimpse of (insert YOUR THING here)? When it’s close you want to hold onto it forever. It’s a clarity unlike any other. Everything makes sense, whether it’s the purpose of life or finding your own unique vision that will make you rich.
I too have sought “it,” and I, too, want to hold onto “it.” But I’ve lost it many times. But I know it’s there, and if I know it or feel it, then it must be real, right?
Who isn’t searching for the purpose of life? Who isn’t trying to build up their clientele, or make it to the next level, or just maintain what they’ve spent years building? Every person I encounter is in one of these categories, if not all of them. But how can you feed your creative soul if you can’t see straight or you don’t know your own path?
I’m no master, but I have spent most of my young life analyzing the hows and whys. I learn every day from my clients who teach me through their journeys and who allow me to tag along and honor me with the opportunity to give guidance.
What I’ve learned is this … it’s all about the journey. Moments keep coming and most fade with time, but it’s the “AH HA!” moments that shape our experience and help us grow.
I believe the journey always starts with YOU. Consider these recent pit stops on my own journey.
I did a student talk at my collegiate alma mater about finding your path, and it contained an “AH HA!” moment … the reawakening to my own style. When you consult, you wear many hats and you edit based on the individual client’s needs. I hadn’t thought of my own unique style in a long time, even though I’m thought of as the “lifestyle” consultant (although I have consulted with every genre under the sun).
So before my talk, I crawled into the attic and dusted off photo boxes (yes, those were the days we printed with developer and my nails were stained with chemicals … I wasn’t a glove-wearing girl). When I pulled down the images, I slowly unveiled a personal style that I’d forgotten: mostly portraits, classic, simple and slightly epic in emotion. I knew what I liked then. That was Pit Stop one.
The next stop was making over my office, an attempt to find inspiration in my own space. I pulled out all my old photo books and my old tears from years ago. I wanted to do a wall of things that inspired me. I pulled out photo gifts over the years (some with sentimental value based on who shot them, some that were simply awe-inspiring), cutouts from years past, landscapes, still life, portraits, etc. Sprawled out on the office floor with frames I recently found around the house and Goodwill (I am thrifty) and started editing – and yes, editing for myself is as torturous as it is for you.
Once I forced myself to pick the images that made me the happiest, I realized it was the same theme – classic, simple, emotionally epic. But what shocked me was the amount of portraiture I’ve embraced over the years. The landscapes and some of my favorite gifts were pushed to the side. What made the cut? It was some of the greats (Da Vinci, Cartier-Bresson, Callahan), some more recent but no less brilliant work (Knights, Erickson and my college roommate) and some of the actual people who’ve shaped my life (Weissberg by Markow), and a few recent success stories (Costanzo) … even some work created by myself (that wasn’t easy).
Let me explain my decorating style. I work quickly and I don’t question what I do, so once I picked the images, I started cutting and sticking the images into frames. My 3-year-old son helped me stick the images up on the wall (no walls were damaged in the process) with no specific plan or layout, other than what I saw in my head. If I didn’t do it right there and then, it might be another 20 years sitting on a bookshelf or in a folder.
And there I had it – a glimpse of myself. This doesn’t change my editing skills. But it does make me happy, to see myself reflected back, and now I see it every day.
How does this help find the meaning of life? It was a process of reflection – a look at the past and how it shaped the present, and how it’s continuously shaping my future. I got into this industry because I loved the notion of the “caught moment;” I loved the soul captured through the eyes; I loved emotion that could be felt through a shutter. It’s this love that draws me back and shows me the way. It’s this passion that drives me to help my clients everyday.
What is your passion? What keeps drawing you near? What is that one thing that stops you from throwing in the towel, even though you’ve thought about it many times)?
Discover it. Reignite it. And do it over and over again for your entire life and career.
Seek. Reflect. Keep moving forward. Remember, change is the only constant.
What I’ve learned about this industry is that whatever career path you choose, you must integrate it into your life. It can’t be a burden. Embrace it and stop running from fear of rejection. Shine your light on it, capture it and embrace the career and life you choose. It’s not about making a million bucks (but that is nice) – it’s about embracing each moment you experience.
And if you’re lucky, you brought your camera along to capture it!
Barbara Morgan – one of my most favorite images of all time.
Jim Erickson – From his Book Mothers he sent as a promo over 10 years ago to me as an art buyer. A favorite book I have kept over the years. I sinned and ripped this image out of the book because I loved it too much not to look at it every day.
Amanda Sosa Stone (circa college – aka Amanda Sosa) – this was a polaroid from a series of 4×5 portraits taken. Orlando Weekly’s award winning cover image.
Photo of Elyse Weissberg (mentor and consultant extraordinaire) by: Paul Markow
Pablo Corral Vega – (One of My Dream Clients from National Geographic Assignment Division)
Harry Callahan – A self taught master that always reminds me to capture people that are in your life.
Amanda Sosa Stone is a creative consultant based out of Orlando. You can find out more about her at SosaStone.com or AgencyAccess.com, and follow her on Twitter.