The One Where I Introduce Myself

When was the last time I wrote a blog? When I was 16 and love-lorn … Well, I’m no longer 16, but sure, I’m still a bit love-lorn lol

Hello and welcome to this weird corner of the interwebs where you’ve somehow found yourself amidst the ramblings of a strange yet personable film photographer. This post won’t really do much to help you, in fact, this blog incredibly self-serving. But if you’d like to know what goes in this head of mine, grab a seat, make yourself comfortable, and well, don’t mind if I do. 🤠 I can write a lot.

Hi, I’m Ariela. And these are my thoughts as I go about life photographing what happens around me.

I don’t have very high hopes for this website if I’m quite honest. I’m more so putting this together for 1) validation 2) increased feeling of legit-ness and 3) having a space where I can just write it out. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who does this, but when I get really triggered about something I usually go to my Notes app and write a long ass paragraph about what’s going on in my head in an attempt to make sense of it. Or I record myself talking about it (which usually becomes a recording that I play back to myself when I can’t sleep). Yeah, I’m probably the only one who does that last bit. 🙃

Social media has always been a fun place to connect and gosh, I’ve met so many wonderful folks there that I’m so lucky to call my friends! But more and more these days, I find myself straying away from it. Instagram, in particular, has become a place of 7-second videos and less of still images. Reels are fun to make, but I need to be in a certain mindset to throw my dignity away and film myself doing ridiculous things. I constantly question myself, “… Have I become a content creator???” Oh God no. 🤦🏻‍♀️ But honestly, just watching the reels afterwards makes me smile, cause I have to say, it is dang funny. And that is probably enough reason to keep making ‘em. 

I remember when I was around the 800-follower mark, I started worrying about the kind of photos that I put out and being able to constantly make enough photos to keep posting regularly. And getting on all these feature pages. I’ve let go of that a long time ago, and I seldom use hashtags anymore. I think I’ve found my lil’ community of folks who appreciate my work for what it is and I’m just glad to have found a core group of people who I know have always followed along. Over the past couple of months, I’ve also posted waaaaay less stories mostly because I have become genuinely busier, but I also feel less inclined to share personal bits of my life. A part of me feels “watched” by people I’ve never met, and while it is incredibly flattering, I don’t think I will ever get used to being spotted on the street. 😅 Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting people and finally matching a face to a username, but I’m just an awkward turtle. 🐢 I’m really not an extrovert, you guys. 😭 I was just telling someone I met in Saskatoon that that’s what I love about living in the city (not as a jab to SK but also… 👀): we have a sort of comforting blanket that anonymity provides. I love being able to walk in a crowd, not get noticed and be like everybody else: just a person walking down the street. Physically present, but also invisible.

In the past, especially during the height of COVID, posting about my day was my main way to keep in touch with friends since I’m not able to see them as much in person. Somehow, that aspect of daily life has just … disappeared. Sometimes I go through an entire week not really interacting with another human being on a personal level (like yes, I would still leave the house, but would I talk about my day to the bus driver or the lady at Shoppers Drug Mart? No. I didn’t think so. 😬) A lot of stuff has changed since then. A lot of my relationships have changed: old ones have gone, new ones have formed, and some have stayed but also … we’ve just become different people. I’ve also been working less and doing more photography which is a very solitary activity by nature. Do I feel lonely? Heck yeah. Do I get sad? Absolutely. But undeniably, life has also become a lot more … peaceful. 

This year is honestly a very weird time in my life because it’s been the most lawless, unpredictable, yet freeing couple of months. I’m incredibly lucky to have the time and money and resources to do what I’ve been doing, and I’m carrying that privilege with me knowingly and gratefully wherever I go. 16-year-old me probably wouldn’t believe all the stuff I’ve done by myself just these last three weeks (also, unbeknownst to my parents 😬🤫) and 24-year-old me would probably be incredibly proud.

I still don’t have much of a concrete idea of what the rest of this year would look like, but I haven’t got much other than to just keep going. More and more each day, I feel safer occupying the space I’ve created for myself, somewhere where I can be myself and speak as much and as little as I want to. And reach some kind of balance between solitude and community.

As my photography friend Jay (hi Jay 👋) and I were just chatting earlier today, photography forces you to be introspective. Why do you take the photos that you do? What is about that moment that made you want to preserve it? Is it purely aesthetic or is there something else you see in that place in time? This entire year, I’ve probably learned more about myself than I ever have. I messed up a lot in the past: said too much and said too little, did too much and still felt like I wasn’t enough. But there is value in being able to look back, see those past versions of yourself, and being all the more kinder to yourself in the present. A lot of my close friends have showered me with kind words about how my photography has really levelled up as of late (haha you should see the photos I was posting in 2019 🤪), and as bad as I am with accepting compliments, I can’t help but think that it’s thanks to that awareness of who I am as a person and of who I’ve become as a photographer. 

But don’t say I didn’t warn you… I told you this blog is incredibly self-serving.

А сейчас … Пока)

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