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The Process Behind: Mia Ballesteros

Beginnings....…..what is a beginning?

To me, beginnings can be a collection of things. A beginning can be the start of a new project. Or the end of a relationship. Or the first day of a new year. Beginnings can be whatever you want them to be.

When the team first decided that this was going to be our project theme I thought I had it all figured out. As a photographer, I knew I wanted to bring my vision to life through images so naturally, this question made me think about all the people in my life who were experiencing the beginning of something. And of course who were comfortable enough to let me photograph them showcasing that beginning.

Only a small few really stood out; my sister Nina who was entering a new chapter in her life after getting out of an almost 2 year relationship...and one of my close friends, Sunshine, who was about to become a mama for the first time. I thought okay perfect, this was a great way to capture the beauty of a new beginning, through the lens of 2 important people in my life. So I got to work, planned, and executed two beautiful photoshoots.

The results:

While I had a great time organizing and directing these two photoshoots, things don't always work out the way you want them to. I started struggling with the direction that I was taking this project and while I knew I had gotten amazing results, I just couldn't shake the feeling that I wasn't fully bringing my vision to life.

Around the same time I was contemplating this, life (of course) found a way to hit me head-on. I had just lost my job, I was struggling with my skyrocketing anxiety and depression, and I kept getting distracted by what was going on around me or the people around me, or what people thought of me. Everything I was worried about was simply keeping me from focusing on myself.

And that's when I realized that was exactly the problem..

It hit me that I was going about this the entirely wrong way. Instead of concentrating on bringing someone else's beginning into the light, I should have been looking inward at the chaos going on in my life and how that could be a beginning in itself. Every situation I was in at the time was completely new to me. Shortly after this realization I ended up landing a new job, I was experiencing amazing new friendships, I took the first step into my healing journey, and discovered this newfound acceptance of the things I had been holding on to for so long. To top that all off I had just purchased my very own film camera, something I had been wanting to dive into for as long as I can remember. The very second I stopped running away from all the things in my life that I considered problems and instead evaluated a way I could document my process of working through these problems, I knew I couldn't fail.

Now that I had locked in on the direction I was taking this project, the first thing I did was buy a couple rolls of film. I told myself I wasn't going to worry too much about the planning and execution of any photoshoot, instead, I would just carry my camera around everywhere I went and document whatever I felt like documenting.

Being a digital photographer, I had gotten so used to being in control of every single aspect of any project I worked on. DSLRs give you the power to analyze every shot you take after you take it and this was something that I had grown to rely on. Even though stepping into the world of film photography was what I had wanted to do for so long, the concept of it all was a bit daunting to me. I wasn't in control of the final outcome and I didn't have a way to know whether my shots had turned out the way I wanted or not. Usually, I would let something like this get in the way of me creating something amazing, so I deliberately forced myself to stop thinking about the outcome and focus on the moments I was capturing. The moments that I would never get back spent with people I adore. See, that's the most important aspect of it all.

I used up my two rolls of film taking pictures of my friends and family, even myself. This was surprising because in the last year or so I had grown to feel so uncomfortable being in front of the camera. Releasing all my worries about what the images would look like ended up being such a great tool to use in my healing journey. And I really think this beginnings project helped me get the courage to even start that journey. I created my own beginning.

But finally, I am here to showcase the results of my beginning...I hope you enjoy the outcome as much as I enjoyed living it.

I just want to take the time here to thank Troy, my Simplex team, and my friends and family for supporting me through this time. Quite possibly one of the most clarifying times of my life. I realized that when things get tough, being able to feel the unconditional love and support around you is so special and I couldn't be more grateful for the people around me that have been with me through life's beginnings.

I hope this finds you well. And I hope that if this post made you feel anything, it makes you feel that the concept of beginnings may be a positive thing to look forward to, instead of something to be afraid of.

See you next time



Special thank you to:

Nina, Sunshine, Millie, Arisa, Jasmyn, Troy, Carissa, Ricky, Robert, Antonio, Patrick, Santo, Santi, Aiden, Avia, Veyda, Kass, Tony, Cass, Jenessa, and Jay.

Thank you for inspiring me.


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