Welcome to our Introvert Interviews series, where we talk to introverts from all walks of life about their experiences and their introversion.
Emilee Ayers is a portrait photographer. She also blogs about dancing, and has blended those two interests in this series of cool photos: http://www.mleephotography.net/movement. So, what’s it like being an introverted photographer? Let’s find out …
What was your reaction when you first learned you were an introvert?
My literal first thought was, “Huh. That makes sense.” But it was definitely hard to fully transition into. I understood that I was an introvert, but no one else around me did. I was forced with the choice of pretending I wasn’t an introvert to avoid annoying questions–some of which I didn’t have answers to–or throwing caution to the wind and accepting it. I have, over time, chosen the latter and people are finally starting to adjust, which is really nice.
How much of an effect do you think being an introvert has had on your photography career?
It can make it rather difficult at times. If I have a new client, and I’m already over stimulated, I have to fight the dread associated with pushing through and doing the shoot anyway. If I don’t, the pictures can come out less than ideal, and that is bad for business. So I reason with myself, have a fit on the way over, power through the shoot and focus all my energy into it, then reward myself with a whole bunch of nothing to reset my brain.
What first drew you to photography?
I can remember going on trips with my friend as a kid and my mom would send me with disposable cameras. I would come back and show her all these pictures of amazing things I had seen and she would get mad at me saying, “But there’s no people in these pictures!” I saw something else, something I found beautiful that I wanted to remember, so I took a picture. Mom didn’t understand that. I’m also big into history. I love that pictures are moments immortalized, and–if taken correctly–can capture the entire essence of a person or place, event, etc. It makes temporary things last longer than a lifetime. And to me, that’s pretty special.
What kind of people skills are necessary for a photographer?
You have to be kind and open minded, considerate of what your client wants. If the client is happy, even if it’s not necessarily your best shot or what you had in mind, then all that doesn’t matter. What matters is giving them your best, and sometimes getting the shot they see takes a bit of losing yourself and trying to see it from their angle. But these can end up being some of the best learning and growing experiences. It’s a pretty amazing field to be in, and I think being an introvert can help, especially in understanding how some people don’t particularly want to be in the pictures. I’ve seen impatient, extrovert-dominant families with the one introvert they are raggin’ on, it makes a huge difference to be able to understand where they are coming from to be able to get them comfortable and get good shots.
I think introversion can help with getting still life shots, as well. To be secure within yourself and not need the stimulation of other people, you can fade into backgrounds and get lost on unintentional adventures that produce some of the most wonderful images.
Are you aware of your introversion while doing photography?
Most of the time. Some people can make you feel warm and right at home. If they are more laid back, then it’s easier to fake-extrovert through the shoot. Those are my favorites. If the clients are more uptight, or needing specific direction it can be a little more taxing, but I’ve never found it to be too much. Just may take a little more time and care to warm up to each other.
You also blog about taking dance lessons. What’s the hardest part of dance?
Dance can be hard in different ways. There’s the difficulty of new techniques or new steps, there’s the difficulty of a new dance style, there’s the difficulty of increasing your stamina, then there’s the social difficulty of meeting the new people, changing classes, or if you have to change studios like I we did this summer when our studio had to shut down. But I would say the hardest thing of dance as a whole is overcoming yourself. You’ll only go as far as you believe you can go, so if you doubt yourself or freeze up or give up and walk out of the class, you’ll never get any better than that moment. You have to keep pushing yourself, even on the days that make you want to throw your pointe shoes out of the window and never go back. Because there will be days when everything goes right, and you know that life doesn’t get any better than how that class makes you feel, and you leave feeling like, “This is why I dance.” It’s so worth it.
If you were able to travel back in time, is there any advice you would give to your younger introverted self?
It’s okay to be different. Find out who you say you are, don’t worry about what people try to tell you to be. Your life is yours, not theirs. You’ll find people who like you just the way you are. Don’t change for the people here and now. If they don’t accept you like this, they won’t last long anyway. Save yourself the heartache. Your dog is cooler, anyway.