Hello, hello, hello! You might know me as Greta Nisswandt of Greta Nisswandt Photography, or you might not know me at all. That's okay, I'd like to introduce myself regardless. My name is Greta, and I'm a singer. I love flowers, and swing dancing, and watercolor and photography, but what I am is a singer.
Four years ago, in June of 2012, I started shooting portrait sessions for high school seniors. I myself was a sophomore-going-on-junior, and shot mostly friends and acquaintances. And, wow, I loved it! I loved running sessions, I loved catching the perfect photo, I loved editing. I thought "Yeah, I could definitely see myself as a photographer." And so that settled as my career plan. I'd graduate high school with three years of photography under my belt, I'd start shooting weddings, I'd market myself and build a business and be fulfilled and be able to balance work and play and I'll never have to work for anybody but myself!
It sounded great. Better than great, even.
But I was forgetting something: photography has never been my passion.
For a while, I convinced myself it was. I was having a great time, and even the monotony of running the administrative side of my own business was nothing I couldn't handle. I would be fine. It would get easier, I would be able to discipline myself better, everything would be fine. Spoiler alert: it wasn't! Here I am, my fourth summer finished and while I am so grateful for the sessions I had the privilege to do these past few months, I've come to realize that I don't want this to be my end goal. You can call it photography burnout, or a phase, or whatever you want, but I'm looking for a career shift.
If I'm willing to put in the time and effort into building a business from the ground up (when it's not even what I wanted in the first place!), why wouldn't I channel that same energy into building the career I'm actually passionate about?
I know the answer to that now. I'm afraid. Afraid to put the deepest part of myself out there, because what if I get rejected, what if after pouring my heart into this, I don't make it? Who is even listening?
While I was asking these questions for days, weeks, months, God was listening. And He took me through a few bum auditions and set me back on my feet and now I'm facing the direction I've always wanted to go. And my heart is bursting at the seams at the thought of the things I have planned. A few weeks ago, I stumbled across Jonathan Coulton, a musician who spent a year recording and releasing one song every week back in 2005. And built up such a following that music is his full-time gig. That sounds like a pretty good gig to me. I started reading everything about him, figuring out what he's like and why he did what he did (release a ton of music for a year for free), and found these words:
"I give away music because I want to make music, and I can’t make music unless I make money, and I won’t make any money unless I get heard, and I won’t get heard unless I give away music. This is all part of the experiment. I believe it can work, but we all need to adjust our thinking about the relationship between artists and fans – the RIAA thinks that music listeners are criminals and that music should be locked up and protected. I disagree. I think there are times when free music and file sharing can greatly benefit an artist. Believe me, I spent many years making music and not sharing it with anyone, and that didn’t get me anywhere."
I like that. I like the idea of giving away, even though (maybe because??) it seems against the grain of the whole industry. So I'm going to give myself a year, too. A year of writing, covering, recording, and releasing music. Right here on this blog. I hope you'll come by and listen, maybe even join the mailing list and share with your friends!
I'm posting the first song tomorrow.
ps. despite all of my passionate words about doing what I really love, I'm still doing photoshoots + illustrations, because living costs money. Consider hiring me sometime this year. :)