It has lime green laminate tile floors, pipes from what used to be a sink and drain, a secondhand desk and file cabinet, and is cluttered with products I need to take pictures of for our business. There are two Lowel lights on either side of the prop space – despite the fact that the room is too narrow to practically use more lights, I have a talent for breaking bulbs so I incidentally only have two light bulbs left. The prop floor is a piece of white laminate covered particle board that has a line in it where someone had used a razor blade to cut out a project. I neurotically scrub the surface with Lysol wipes after and before every shoot because the dust and dirt from the shop are demons I cannot escape from. I can smell the lemon cleaning solution every time I bring my hands up to my face to adjust camera settings and take the pictures. It’s not pleasant.
But when I turn on the lights and listen to the crackle of the umbrellas stretching with the warmth of the beams I am her. I am that girl that has natural light filtering through walls of windows into my own studio space. I am that girl that has pictures and portraits on the walls of my own creation, a testament to my talent and business success. I have appointment times, repeat customers, and the confidence to say yes, I am a photographer.
Every click of the shutter brings me closer to that goal. Every time I adjust the lights and break a bulb, I am learning how I can be better. Learning how to see the finished photo before I even look through the viewfinder. And when I do finally get my dream studio space I’ll look back to this tiny, hideous photo room with gratitude. It may not be much, but it’ll do well enough for now.