Savannah | Arkansas Portrait Photography | Erika Ryan Photography

I've never been able to call myself an artist. Not once. I was an art major in college for two years and I always cringed when someone said, "oh, you're an artist?" My answer was always "I guess so?" Over the past few months i've really spent time trying to figure out what the title of Artist meant to me. When do you really become an artist? When you create something? Anything? Or is it more meaningful than that? Maybe you're an artist when other people love your work. Maybe you're an artist when you bring an emotion to life, and have people connect with it. I couldn't quite nail down what I really thought an artist was. 

During this session with a good friend of mine, Savannah, we talked about art and life and love and the whole concept of being an artist kept nagging at the back of my mind. I'll be really honest, I've never created anything based on a plan. I had a few shots that I had imagined before I got to her house, and as soon as I showed up those all went out the window. I never (and I mean never) go into a session with a plan (Well, except weddings. You kind of need a plan! haha). Maybe that's not a good thing, but I feel like it forces me to think on my feet and use what is around me instead of relying on preconceived ideas and possibly boxing myself in creatively. Today was an absolute fantastic example of exactly why I don't plan ahead for portrait sessions. 

DSC_9079.jpg

This girl is magic. Every time I get her in front of my camera I never know what's going to happen, but I know it's going to be incredible. Today was absolutely no different. I was able to push myself in a different way than I ever have. We listened to R&B on vinyl and I was finally able to feel what I've always wondered was real: pure creativity. Pure connection to my craft. I was able to exactly replicate what I saw in my head into these photographs. I finally felt like an artist. 

It was almost cleansing to do something like this that I've never done before. To take photos for myself, purely from the pull of intuition and not because I had to get the shot. Today taught me one thing: never stop creating for yourself, and sometimes let your art create itself. It will be beautiful.