how 1 woman wrote the perfect bio and found who she is

by Kellie Bieser

Last year I launched a website for my photography.  Most important to me in this endeavor was that every aspect…the images, the fonts, the colors, the language…would be a true reflection of my voice.  So imagine my surprise when I sat down to write the “About Me” paragraph and could.not.do.it.  I spent hours upon hours writing and rewriting blurbs that could describe the “me” that I wanted to reveal to my potential clients.  And I came up empty.

how 1 woman wrote the perfect bio and found who she is photo

That “About Me” paragraph failure set in motion an inner dialogue of panic: “If I can’t even write a few sentences about who I am, then how am I supposed to create a whole website that shows who I am?  How am I supposed to take photographs that show who I am?!?!”  I became insecure in my voice as an artist and unsure of my work.  And as we all know, that is a very scary state in which to be as a creative professional.

In the midst of this self-doubt (and, let’s face it, pitiful moping) I serendipitously stumbled upon a TED Talk given by Shea Hembrey.  In his talk, Mr. Hembrey recounts his adventure of creating the Seek Biennial, essentially a one-man-100-artist art show.  And as amazing as it was (and is) to me that Hembrey could create two hundred pieces of art in the unique style of 100 artists of his own imagination, that was not what struck me most about his talk.

What absolutely floored me as I watched Hembrey on the TED stage was that for each piece of art he shared with the audience, he gave a brief, descriptive biography of the “artist” who created that work.  Of course, all of the artists were him…and yet each one of them had a distinct story, personality, and force of inspiration.  Essentially, Hembrey had managed to do exactly that which I had been struggling to do…one hundred times.

After that seventeen minute video I knew that Hembrey had unlocked something within me.  I wanted to be able to look at any photograph I created and be able to give a one-sentence biography of the artist (the version of me) behind it.  And so I began to keep an “Autobiography Journal.”  Each day, I write a simple sentence about one facet of who I am:

I am Kellie Bieser and I am a mom who is madly in love with her children.

I am Kellie Bieser and I am a mom who is overwhelmed to madness by her children.

I am Kellie Bieser and nothing makes me happier than drinking a good cup of coffee while it is still hot.

I am Kellie Bieser and I love to laugh until my cheeks hurt.

I am Kellie Bieser and I love to watch sad movies just to have a good cry.

What I have discovered in this practice is that really, we are all 100 (or more!) artists trapped inside one body.  And by identifying all of that which inspires us, what makes us smile or sad or frustrated or gleeful, on a regular basis, we are equipping ourselves with motivation to create work that is diverse and unique and true to our personal perspective.  Each day I write in that journal, I have a better grasp on what I want to photograph, how I want to photograph it, and what my choices in processing will be (before I even touch my camera!).  It has become a tool as important to me as any piece of equipment because it holds the beginning of almost any meaningful image I create…it holds who I am.

And that “About Me” paragraph?  It finally came along.  By writing hundreds of paragraphs about myself, I was able to identify the twelve sentences that spoke to who I am and what kind of artist I promise to be for my clients.  But more than what it offers to my clients, that little paragraph provides me insight into the expectations for my work and allows me to exceed those expectations.  By knowing myself I have the confidence to create my art.

how 1 woman wrote the perfect bio and found who she is photoKellie Bieser, Ohio
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Kellie Bieser of Shutter & Glass Photography is now an expert at writing her own autobiography paragraph.  In addition, she is the mother of three joyfully mischievous children (with a fourth on the way) and the wife of the world’s most patient man.  When not chasing her kids and clients with her camera, she enjoys reading, running, and lemon macaroons.

 

Read all photography tutorials by Kellie Bieser.

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10 Responses to “how 1 woman wrote the perfect bio and found who she is”

  1. Apr 15 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Kellie, I LOVE this! I’ve only recently discovered you on CM (during Capturing Joy!) and every time I see a post of yours I’m amazed at your writing skills. I feel like you always manage to state things simply, you get to the heart of the matter, and you do it in such a kind way! Thank you for sharing this! <3

  2. Kristy
    Apr 15 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Love this so much Kellie! Thanks for sharing with us. <3

  3. Apr 15 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Wow. Just wow… I want to just sit and chat with you for hours… :) And I’m adding this to my ‘to watch’ list. I also like to drink coffee while it’s still hot. For those of us that can’t always get to it… buy this cup: http://www.gocontigo.com/16-oz-autoseal-west-loop-stainless-travel-mug.html?utm_source=google_shopping&272=145&gclid=CIi1j7Gf470CFSho7AodBygAtg It keeps it warm freakishly long, hahahha.

  4. Apr 15 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    Kellie, I love this! What a great idea! I think I’m going to try it!

  5. Vironica
    Apr 15 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Love this Kellie! What a great idea!

  6. Apr 15 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    Hi Kellie, I feel like I know you from class and reading your article. Interesting how our work and art speaks so much about who we are. Would love to have a cup of coffee with you sometime!

  7. Brittany
    Apr 16 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Wow, with photos like those, I don’t even think you need an “about me.” Stunning work.

  8. Phyllis
    Apr 16 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    Kellie, my curiosity got the best of me and I had to check out your ‘About Me’ page on your website. I absolutely loved it! Beautiful pictures. I love the warmth you’re able to capture in the pictures. If you’re ever in sunny California, I’d love to have a cup of coffee with you and for you to take pictures of my growing family. All my best!

  9. Apr 17 2014 at 9:13 am #

    Kellie, what an interesting topic. I can SO relate. As I was building my site, I just cruised along designing layouts, retouching my portfolio photos, writing out my services….but when it came to the “about me” page, I was stuck. It took me weeks and weeks to write something….anything….I can’t say I’m thrilled about what I have now but I basically just got tired of re-writing it and put it away for a year. I love your idea of the different version of ourselves. I think you hit the nail on the head. How can we possibly describe ourselves when we our complex beings? I love you article. thanks for sharing.

  10. Apr 17 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    This is really wonderful insight and has inspired me to rethink my “about page”!
    Thank you for sharing!

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