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A Guest Post by Elizabeth Tsung
I’m not a professional photographer by any means. I haven’t been studying this art for very long, nor do I know a camera down to its core, in its most stripped and anatomical form. I’m actually another type of artist- a musician. I currently have one more year of undergrad for violin performance, and have recently tackled on a new hobby-slash-skill, if I may, of my own.
A year ago, I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. For a musician, that’s their biggest nightmare. Because unlike other injuries such as tendonitis, which only affects muscle, carpal tunnel syndrome involves damaged nerves. My first thought was I won’t be able to to play my instrument? What on earth will I do with my all free time, then? Musicians spend hours a day honing their craft, delivering their energy to the music until it makes them sick, sometimes even going on for 8-10 hours. I know people like that, I do.
As an early birthday present, my dad bought me my first DSLR. I had been eyeing photography for the last year, after getting into tumblr and being inspired by all the wonderful images by other members. The day I received my new baby, I was so in love. Not because I had a shiny, new thing to play with, but because I knew that the void I felt from not playing my violin anymore would be filled through this life form- my baby Nikon!
I continued my physical therapy, tried to practice whenever I could, and admired other photographers every day, especially during lectures. I would find myself zoning out of what my professor was saying, and being so drawn into a piece of work. It consumed me. I started learning all that I could about my camera, and digital photography school was my biggest source. As for projects and experimental work, I started using myself as a model, taking self-portraits, and also using my friends as models. If I wasn’t particularly cheerful that day, I’d take a picture of me being happy. I created a life that I wanted to be in, one that made me happy. It gave me a sense of purpose, and something to fall in love with- my growth.
Eventually, I found my way again. I wasn’t depressed anymore about the life I had planned in my mind ever since I first touched the violin at the age of 6, knowing it wasn’t going to turn out the way I wanted to. I’m not sure where my life will lead me now, but I definitely want to pursue a career in photography and learn all that I can. These last few months that I’ve held my camera, I realized that music will always be an amazing thing that I’m grateful for, but it’s not music that helped me thrive, it was art.
For some people, it will be a violin. Another, a paintbrush. Others, maybe a camera or two. But that doesn’t really matter; what does is what sets you off and makes you whole. Because I realized that without art in your life, there will always be an inexplicable part of you that feels missing. Like you’re not seeing enough of this world, or that you could simply just be better at life. Just silly expectations our mind conjures because it hasn’t seen enough beauty in this world. Once that person does find beauty, they will realize those expectations are not worth lamenting over.
Even if you aren’t a professional artist, just being surrounded by beautiful things and admiring every-day aesthetics will bring you an innate sense of inner peace.
I promise you. Find your art. You will never be happier.
Elizabeth Tsung is a 20 year old college student who loves photography. She is the owner of www.whiteowlphotos.com