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What Three Months Can Mean | by +Jo

10 Jan ’12
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Apply for Season [Gold Lion] of Our Photography Internship.

{text and images by +jo}

 

Three months.

A lot can happen in three months. For the past seven years my life has been defined by three month {10 week} increments. Even after I graduated from SCAD – things still continued to flow in and out of my life in the same pattern.

Three months can mean plenty of things:
a season
90 day rehab
break something, surgery to fix it and healed
15 college credits
a lot of money
not enough money

 

An Internship.

Three months. I was so used to throwing myself into everything for three month increments. I would get a small break and jump right back in – head first – sink or swim. Let’s say I learned how to tread water like a pro at SCAD. I spent 5 {five} years at that college. I had no idea in all that time I would end up being a photographer. But every moment helped.

Every second of every 3 months section of my life helped with the internship. Everything contributes to art.
At least that is a philosophy I discussed in one of my senior projects – the universality of multidisciplinary influences in art.

“Anyone can be an artist – it is just a matter of how much of your heart you are willing to show. “

So what on earth does all this mumbo-jumbo have to do with Leah and Mark’s internship?
I would have never tried.
I would not have given myself a shot.
I would have walked away from the idea.

So?

The internship changed my life.

{Wow – that was a little melodramatic…}

But in all honesty, it did. It’s something I skimmed around in my intern postings. It was too fresh. Bare with me for a little bit – this is going to be a big circle. I promise, I have a point.

Back at SCAD I was dealt an improper hand by the school. I went through a senior portfolio class with a professor I did not select and who should not have taught the class. He made my life Hell. He broke contract with me on what was to be included in my portfolio and the chair of the department only had deaf ears to my problems. So I worked. And worked harder. I overworked and kept on working. I did not stop for three months. I ate once every couple of days. I slept only when my body forced me to on top of my art or when Eric {or a good friend} would make me lay down. I ended up passing the class with a portfolio that made the professor happy but was completely unusable for me. I also triggered an autoimmune disease that had been dormant in my body my entire life. I didn’t even know it was there until another three more months went by, I was in completely different classes and symptoms began to show.


The stress of that one class triggered it. And there was nothing I could do but ride it out and take the treatments.  That was few years ago now and I’ve done very well to keep myself level and less stressed. I’m more careful about my immune system and listen more to when my body is tired. I eat better than I ever have in my life. This included the senior project for my second degree – I blew out my ACL running up a wall {yes, parkor style, it dislocated on the landing and the ACL shredded when I poped it back into place} but I still had to put on my senior show, finish my dance minor and complete my stage combat training to certify as an actor combatant. That was a stressful three months but I took care of myself. At the end of it I passed out, had surgery to fix my knee and spent the following summer in rehab and relaxing. I listened to my body and I didn’t have a relapse. That was the summer before I moved to Atlanta.

 

When I moved up here I gave myself three months to find a job and start my career. It was top priority. At first I thought I was doing a great job. I was getting interviews and a couple follow-up interviews… but never the job. I became more and more desperate. I started looking into internships… that were not legitimate internships. Some lead to other ‘opportunities’ that only wasted my time and I was never properly paid for… I just figured that’s how it goes. When you are not good enough.

I wasn’t good.
I surrendered.
I completely gave up on art. Myself.
I didn’t want to do it anymore. I wanted to walk away.

I told myself to get a normal job… but even the most common coffe shop did not have a spot to use me.
My three month mark was long gone and I was only a month away from the 1 year anniversary of graduating college. Jobless.

 

Hopeless.

I didn’t want art anymore. It was useless and had become a distraction to what mattered in life. What society said was important. I have to pay off my debt. I need to take care of my family. I should get married and have kids. I can’t just keep dreaming my life away on useless things that no one wants from me…
Those types of thoughts plagued me. I cried so hard. All the time. I don’t think I ate much even with Eric placing amazing food in front of me everyday. I’m not sure how long I tried to strip the art from me. It must of been 2-3 weeks… I don’t remember now. What I do remember is waking up on my bedroom floor and just simply knowing – if removing art from my life meant tearing myself apart in the process – it would be the death of me if I was successful. I have never in my life had a sducidal thought. It woke me up. If art leaving my life means me withering away into death’s grasp… I would hold tight to my passion and grab life by the balls again. The grip might not be that tight at first but I knew I would figure it out eventually.

 

Art is and always will be the blood flowing through my veins.

So I began scouring the internet once again. And there on CraigsList was an ad for a photography internship. I fthought “Why not? It’s something SCAD didn’t taint and something that has always been around in my life.” I was nervous at first because it was CraigsList, but after reading the ad and researching the site/company I thought it was more legit than any other gig I had seen in a while. I applied. {By that I mean I rambled in every box in such a way that seemingly answered the questions.} The days passed and I kept on searching because I honestly thought, with my track record, I wouldn’t get into the internship. Nothing new came along.

Then I was an intern. And I knew I could create again. The confines of the lens became a sanctuary and gateway. Something familiar but completely new territory. Something I wanted to explore but never fully conquer. I gave myself the three months to see if art was supposed to be apart of my life. If it was, three months would be more than enough time to figure it out. So I dove in, head first.

 

Then my health decided to give out. The doctors told me something was wrong with my adrenal gland and thyroid. They did some testing and put me on one wacked out diet {No gluten, no dairy, no fruit} and a strong herbal prescription medication. I went through the most intense detox in my entire life lasting almost two months. Leah, Mark, Debra, Raven and all the other interns helped get me through that mess. The internship helped me focus every day. It made me get out of bed and do something new. Everyday.

 

I was so tired of hearing “No” to everything I was trying to do. Yet,  at every turn in the internship I had the opportunity to say “Yes. ” I was able to join in and help. I was able to work with professionals and learn. I was able to grow. In two days I shot more photos than I had in the previous two years. I was suddenly buying more photo equipment and setting up my own shoots. I was trying to take on my own clients. Friends started asking me “Photography is your job now right? Because it seems to make you so happy.” And I liked how that sounded. I was learning with a great group and assisting amazing people. I was challenged every moment and I was more focused in those three months than I had been in any previous quarter at SCAD.

I can’t really explain what the internship is – I think Alumni Intern Megan explained it the most accurately. {She kinda took the words out of my mouth.} I gained so much from everyone durning the internship. I think I’m still processing it all. It is now five months later and I know art is in my life and will never leave again. As a little touch of cosmic irony – my autoimmune disease came back. I was shocked when I realized what was going on. I was pretty distracted with life, family, photography and art. I counted back and the number landed on the weeks where I tried to erase art from my life. I suppose my body truly, completely and wholly rejected the idea. It sounds crazy, I know. But this relapse is not as bad as the first time around. And even though I do not have health insurance, I’m trying holistic/herbal approaches to healing my body. I don’t know where I would be right now if I had not been accepted to the internship. I don’t know the person I would have become if I was successful is banishing art from my life. But the internship put a stop to that nonsense and opened a brand new door for me.

Though this is an extreme case – I can guarantee you 100% Lean and Mark’s internship will change your life. Every ounce of energy you put into it will come back full force. It is a 1:1 ratio. I’m an intense person who has some strange limits to what I can do and everyone with LeanAndMark.com was able to keep me energized. They made me check myself and quicken my pace. They reached into my life and pulled out a part of myself I never fully acknowledged.

 

I like who I see. When people ask me what I do for a living, first the first time ever, I proudly announce “I’m a photographer and freelance artist.”

~*~

 

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2 Comments

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