Written by Lindsey Overstreet
“The time will pass anyway. You can either spend it creating the life you want or spend it living the life you don’t want. The choice is yours.” ~Unknown
When I first saw Adam Brennan’s photography I was captivated by the humanity he documented. It was more than just pretty people standing in the pretty light. The soul of the subject dominated the photograph. Their character was revealed. What struck me the most, was that his photography is consistent. His shots weren’t lucky or because he just so happened to be in the right place at the right time. He sought out natural expressions. He refined his skill to know precisely where the light should fall across. His camera became an extension of his arm. Most importantly though, is he became friends with the individuals he photographed.
Meanwhile, I was still squinting through my viewfinder, stumbling over my words trying to make small talk and embarrassed to reveal my shots until after I had edited them. I wanted desperately to become better, so I messaged Adam on Facebook hoping to meet and gain some pointers, but as it does, life kept schedules occupied and the time passed. Then in November, Adam reached out to the world of Facebook, posting an available assistant’s position. Immediately I shot him a message of interest. He replied by telling me it wasn’t a glamorous position and that it would be carrying bags of heavy gear and to keep things organized. Undeterred I told him I was still interested and he agreed to meet with me. Yet our schedules still did not line up and I was about to leave town for Thanksgiving week. He had other interviews and I saw the opportunity waving goodbye and welcoming someone else. I called back asking him if we could instead meet at 6 a.m before I caught my flight. He had a meeting that morning but assured me we would meet when I got back. True to his word we met up and he decided I wasn’t as awkward as I sounded on the phone. He connected me with Emory, his previous assistant, for a second interview and to learn more about the position. He also offered me the opportunity to observe a commercial photo shoot at Willis Hair Salon in Louisville later that week. It may not have been mandatory but I made sure to make myself available.
The morning of the photo shoot I woke up full of nerves, busted out the door and hopped in my truck. The engine wouldn’t turn over. I tried several more times hoping for a miracle. Nothing. I quickly messaged Adam that my truck wouldn’t start but I would be there as soon as possible. It’s the oldest excuse in the book and I was sure he thought I was going to flake out. Uber came to my rescue and I made it with a minute to spare.
It was a full day of work, getting to know the beautiful strangers that filled the salon and learning about gear and lights. At the end of the day, Adam offered me the position. I went home full of excitement until I noticed my tunnel vision caused me to run before I’d walked. When I slowed down enough to look around I realized I ran straight out of my comfort zone. All the doubts began to creep in.
‘I must have oversold myself’.
‘I’m not qualified’.
‘I’m going to make a mistake and get fired’.
After several more photo shoots, I realized that the fear didn’t indicate that I was going to fail at photography or being an assistant, but that I am exactly where I need to be- growing. It meant I had seized this opportunity despite the obstacles. I didn’t take a shortcut and I didn’t settle for less. Becoming Adam’s assistant and apprentice in his photography business shifted how I’ve decided to approach life. Instead of hesitating, I embrace the adventure and maximize this experience.