Anyone who is over the age of two years old can attest to the fact that life has a funny little way of not going exactly according to plan. And unfortunately for me, I am a planner. I just work best that way. So when my life inevitably doesn’t exactly mimic my carefully thought out plans, photography is there to help me work through it.

For example, when I first moved to Clovis, NM, I experienced an intense culture shock. I had never lived in the Southwest, a small town, or a remote location. I had never seen so many abandoned buildings before, and most of the stores, restaurants, and things to do that we were used to, were only available two hours away. As fans of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, my family quickly came up with our own version of a quote from the movie:

Well ain’t this place a geographical oddity! Two hours from everywhere!”

Let’s be real, moving is tough, Attempting to make friends as an adult is terrible. Or at least it was painful and awkward for me. Kids can just walk up to other children and declare that they’re friends now, but I feel like that’s generally frowned upon in grown-up society.

Documentary photography gave me a reason to explore more, meet new people, and generally get myself out of my very introverted shell.

I met quite a few talented photographers and other awesome Clovis creatives in my endeavors. Candice and Kristie are some of my favorite Clovis ladies, and I can’t even tell you how much I’ve learned from them, just by being lucky enough to hang out with them.

Through my photo adventures, I also learned to find the beauty and fun in a place I initially hated. I was seriously miserable when I first got here. But the photography carried me through. As a rule, I tend to take a lot more pictures when I’m having a hard time. And with all those pictures, the way I saw Clovis slowly changed. Remember all those abandoned buildings I thought looked so depressing when I first arrived? They definitely transformed into super interesting shooting locations.

In all honesty, documentary photography has kept me sane. It’s fun and I love it. I love having a creative outlet I can take wherever I go. It’s a way to make sure I don’t forget valuable memories and people. But, one of the most important things it’s provided me over the past few years, is that it has forced me out of my comfort zone, forced me to grow and learn, and helped me to see and appreciate the beauty in daily life, no matter where I am.

Documentary Photography saves the day.

Or at least, it has saved my days, over and over and over again.