I began blogging in 2009 as a creative writer trying to break into the world of food and travel journalism. I’d just had my first article accepted by Edible Vancouver and had begun writing about restaurants in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada for a travel guide company based in San Francisco.
Due to the recession, I was unemployed and in between careers, unsure of what to do next. I had nurtured lifelong passions for food and writing. Combining the two seemed like the logical next step and I figured a blog was a perfect way to get my work out to a wider audience.
However, if you know anything about the life of a writer, you know that it can be difficult to make a living out of it. Despite early successes in food writing, I felt that I needed the security of a nine-to-five job. I went back to school and became a career counselor. I continued to write my blog in my spare time and began taking photography classes to improve my skills—an unexpected detour in my writing-focused blogging journey.
I will never forget the familiar buzz of excitement I experienced the first time I picked up a camera to take pictures for my food blog. It was like the natural high I often get when I’m writing, when I’m in the zone and everything is flowing and it’s good. It’s the way I feel when I’m writing a story and am losing myself in the characters and the unfolding of the tale I am trying to tell. Having previously taken nothing but vacation snaps, I was stunned by this sudden, burgeoning interest in an art form I had barely given any consideration to, even as an observer.
A photography teacher once told me that there are two types of photographers: one who is good at capturing what Henri Cartier Bresson called the “decisive moment”, the other who is best at arranging objects or a scene to create the image as he or she envisions it. I am definitely the latter. I have been in love with words all my life, but am also a visual learner who has always made art. Photography wasn’t such a stretch, after all.
To me, the real allure of every photograph is the story. It took me a long time to realize that the element of story is the common denominator in the writing that I do and the photographs I take. Storytelling is in my blood and it is what ties these seemingly disparate skills of writing and photography together.
This is why I started Gastrostoria. I wanted to create a space to show up and tell my stories. Through words. Through images. Although I still love cooking, I was no longer satisfied with simply creating a recipe bank. There are millions of those and many of them are excellent. Doing what everyone else is doing at this point feel false to me. I believe that we each have our own unique voice and way of seeing the world. To be happy within ourselves, we need to stay true to that voice. Even if it means we’re not going to be the next Nigella Lawson or the most popular blogger on the block. We need to create for the sheer love of it, to express our higher selves, and use the talents we were born with because it is our duty to the world to do so. Oftentimes we will find in being and expressing our most authentic selves, that this is where the magic happens.
Almost nine years after starting my first blog, I have come full circle. I no longer work in any office but the one I have at home. I am a working photographer, writer, and teacher with a career of multiple income streams in which I can utilize my best skills: photography, writing, teaching and coaching people.
I am currently available for freelance photography and writing assignments. If you would like to enquire about my rates or have any questions about working with me, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I also license many of my images through Stockfood, OFFset and Adobe Premium.
My photography portfolio can be found at darinakopcok.com.