On the Shadow Under Joy

taeden hall toronto photographer blogger artist

As of August we received our confirmed manufacturer contract and our remaining initial run of designs are being made as I type this, it’s our first time moving to this style of manufacturing, our first international contract, etc etc. 2018 has involved a lot of firsts, and a lot of very steep learning curves. It’s also been one of the hardest years of my life. I’m not quite ready to write at length about how hard this year has been, we are almost out of the new manufacturing evolution woods but not quite- and part of me doesn’t want to count unhatched eggs- but it’s been a rough year. I did not create many photoshoots, or much of anything, in 2018 because I felt so lost.

But now it’s September and I am back creating photoshoots- we have a contract, things are moving forward one way or another and I can get back to work! I feel a bit like I am back from the dead. 

I can make art again, and it’s the ONLY thing I feel like doing right now. I am shooting multiple things per week, calling in every model I couldn’t schedule over the last 18 months, rabidly editing photos. Giddy hyper and chugging coffee like a fiend. I’m alive again and just so delighted to be back doing what I am so passionate about with the weirdos and misfits.

But there’s a shadow under that, and I’m sure some of you out there will identify with this feeling. The pit under jubilance.  The idea that “If I Celebrate and Relish This Good Feeling – It Curses Me”. That somehow if you get too comfortable in the good places that some karmic judge will notice and rip them from your hands. Maybe this is a Protestant habit, maybe this is from a culture where celebrating your achievements is sometimes seen as gloating or ungrateful, whatever it is it’s: crap.

1- The “fall” if things don’t work out isn’t going to hurt less if you didn’t relish the highs. The blows are not lessened by being perpetually wary of their approach. 

2- By avoiding “celebrating your highs” you are spending your life dodging happiness, sidestepping excitement and magic in order to “protect” yourself from something that may or may not happen. Why choose that as a way to live? 

3- Life is short. It doesn’t feel that way when you’re waiting for a bus or in a bad place but 2018- despite all it’s terribleness- has gone by so quickly. As we age time seems to accelerate, or maybe we just fill it with more and more (much of which is just tending responsibilities and less exciting) so try to grab hold of what’s good when it’s there. When it’s fresh and tangible.

4- Because when you’re 80 you aren’t going to look back on your life and wish you’d enjoyed the good times less. 

So when I texted one of my best friends this week asking if it was wrong of me to be so excited right now when there are still so many What-If’s he replied, “No, we get so little of it. Take it and set it on fire”. And I hope you will take yours and do the same, without guilt, without reluctance.

Image result for woman hand hold lit match


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