We had the good fortune of connecting with Shelby Perez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shelby, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
The question that we all sit with as creatives, leaders, and business owners. The truth is, there is not a one size fits all answer to this question. To each individual, it lies inside of their purpose and their light. What is driving you to do what you are doing? Is it money, is it passion, is it fear? What are the stakes of giving up? It takes real courage and self-searching to look inside yourself and examine what you feel to be your purpose and light to be. This is step one. Determining what deep inside ignites your soul. It is the examining of what gifts you have to offer to this world, and to yourself. I close my eyes and envision myself in a circle. My soul at the center, but my light and purpose spills out of me to runneth over into spokes coming out of my center. This creates the beginnings of a wheel. Eventually, all my spokes will fill to complete a functioning wheel. I picture this functioning wheel to be me fulfilling my purpose, but the reality is our wheels might have infinite spokes and the completion of this wheel might seem unrealistic. I feel, however, it is important to keep the perspective that there are many wheels in our lives, just as we go through phases and shedding of our past-selves. Step two is reflecting on your light and purpose and putting it into action. How will my spokes outreach to the world so I am received in my truest form? My dearest photography teacher left me with these words that have forever stuck with me, “you are free to create your impact.” That impact is my quest of continuing to exude the gifts that I’ve been given to inspire those around me. By creatively being who I am in my truest form, I know I can inspire others to feel courage to do the same. Once you’ve searched, defined, and reflected on your impact, that is when you run towards it. Run towards it to continue to fill those spokes and fill your wheel up with your passions. Even when you feel you’ve completed your wheel, you don’t give up though. It is now a way of life. A hustle is so much more than what you see in the exterior life of a person. It is an internal quest that shapes you, and you will never want to give that up once you’ve tapped into that connection with your truest form. I think the giving up part of this question really is more of a question of examining balance. There will be times in your journey where you are stretched thin, and you will be required to examine the spokes of your life wheel. You will need to realign and tap back into your core at these times. When you do so, it will allow you to keep going, even if the direction isn’t necessarily the same. Therefore, there isn’t a giving up-there is just realignment and adjustments to make sure you are in balance.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think of my photography as a way to celebrate humanity. I love photographing people, and telling visual stories while doing so. A picture is so much more to me than just something you put on social media. It’s a story, a lesson, and an expression. I truly put my heart and soul into my work, and into the interactions I have with my clients. There is so much beauty around us, and I want the world to see that. My proudest moments are when I listen to my heart and mind to execute ideas that have been brewing inside me. When I see something come to life from one of my visions, I am so incredibly fulfilled. The cherry on top is when someone becomes inspired from that art, and either learns something new or becomes motivated to pursue their own hearts wishes. Professionally, I’ve gotten to where I am at today through the community of people that believe in me, and through following my heart. Meetings with myself are like me consulting with my heart about my work. Sounds silly, but it’s true! I’ve had beautiful opportunities to learn through running my own business, but also being a part of something larger than me at my corporate job. I have the privilege to do photography in many aspects of my life, and the continual immersion of this has helped me hone in on my craft. This journey isn’t easy though, as often times I feel incredibly stretched thin in my quest of running towards part of my purpose. I really am continually learning how to find a blend of work and life right now. Having frequent conversations with myself and those around me about this struggle helps me prioritize navigating it though. To boil it down, I’m a woman with a love for people and life with a camera in her hand. Life unfolds in front of me, and I feel so blessed to be able to document this life. If my photographs are able to honor the wonders and stories of our lives, I am one happy soul.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am a donut and pastry lover forever and always, so my first place I would recommend of course has to be Habit Doughnuts in Denver. Hands down my favorite donut ever. Anything you get from there is going to be great. My second recommendation would be La Petite French Bakery in Greeley. Chef Chana is insanely talented, and you will not regret it if you are able to get your hands on one of his pastry creations. As far as places, my family and I love to dip out into the Poudre Canyon to escape. There are many pull offs where you can just chill by the river for a day. Bring some snacks and a towel so you can get your toes wet! I also would recommend taking a trip to Trail Ridge Road in Estes Park during the summer. It is so accessible, and you will feel like you are on top of the world (basically you are).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to shoutout my photography teacher that impacted my life in a multitude of ways. His name is Larry Tassi. Tassi is the reason I got into photography. Originally, I started in the dark room with him teaching me black and white film photography. This introduction to the art allowed me to have a creative outlet at a time when I needed it the most. My work became my favorite form of self-expression, and I think of his influence daily in my work. Honestly, I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for his mentorship!
First Image of Shelby Perez by Norwood Foto