five.

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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This is the fifth year. Saying it out loud makes it feel more real, and if I had to judge a number 5 ranks as a pretty good one when it comes to counting time. It’s not as though I feel I’ve arrived, on the contrary since the day I started I felt as though I was out to prove to myself, and to the world, that I could do it. I spent the last few years working so hard that I hardly realized the progress I had made. Now here I am, in the fifth year of this adventure of being a photographer, working for myself and running a business.

*So to those family members out there still wondering if this is my “real job”… the answer is yes :)

Since I wasn’t opening a physical space, it was a bit harder to judge the date of my beginning, as is with most people who step out on their own after a slow evolution. However, if there was one way to judge if you are legitimate or not, giving the government money seems about as good a place to start. So, I count the first of 2008 as the start of my business since that was the year I started paying taxes. Of course, plans had been in the works before that time as well as many years of studying photography and art – which you may have already read about here.

Taking the plunge into something new is never easy, the water shocks you as you adjust to the temperature and new surroundings. For me it was a self conscious start, because I felt like everywhere I looked there was another person starting a photography business. I didn’t want to be just one of the masses out there flocking to join the club, thankfully that wasn’t a reason to keep me from doing so. I put blinders on and went to work, which both allowed me to improve and stay focused it also kept me from growing with a community of photographers.

It’s taken a while – perhaps the last four years – to feel comfortable not as a photographer individually, but as a part of the larger community of photographers. It’s time to look up to see those around me and share in the common experiences we have. I realized that in working for myself I could potentially never feel like I’ve “arrived,” although in many ways I have when I consider where I started. I haven’t been the most successful in the least amount of time, made the most money, or traveled to the most exotic places. What I have done is grown immensely as a photographer and person, met wonderful people and shared in their wedding days, and built a small business on doing something that I love. I count that as a success. (Oh, I also moved states twice which as you business owners know is a lot of extra work, just needed to add that in). I will always be working to improve, learn from my mistakes and take on challenges that might come, but before it gets any later I thought I would stop to share. I plan to keep sharing, starting with my experiences starting my business and from there we’ll see where it goes. While I’ll be doing most of the talking it’s more fun when I hear from you too so it doesn’t have to be so one sided. Feel free to leave a question as a comment and I’ll respond so everyone can read. happy Monday + thanks for joining me in my fifth year!

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