• Justin Key

Behind the Title - Tryin'

Updated: Jun 6


"Tryin'" - by Eagles



I've long wished that life was like a movie where the perfect song would soundtrack a moment. Imagine walking down the street to AC/DC's "TNT". That song can make you shoot a wink at someone because you know they were thinking you look good. Just try to hold back from kicking over the nearest trash can as your confidence overflows. Or how much better would your underwater experience be if Enya was playing whenever you snorkeled.


Now imagine driving down an empty two-lane highway winding through the mountains. Pine trees line the asphalt strip baking in the afternoon sun without a cloud to obstruct it. Pick your car, sleek convertible, purring sports car, maybe a rumbling motorcycle, either way, the wind is blowing your hair and your hand is out cutting through the gentle breeze. You've just begun a road trip after surviving another week of work and have two days of fun once you reach your destination.


With that image in your mind, turn on "Tryin'" and tell me that feeling of freedom doesn't make you want to gas up and find an open road.


That was the feeling I had as I drove through Independence Pass. The bright blue sky above made it hard to be anything but happy. The windows were rolled down and the warm fall air blowing through the car carried my worries away with it. The blurred palate of pine trees rushed by as the road wound back and forth through the mountains. It was during a stretch where a sandy green river ran alongside the road that I took this picture.

"Tryin'" is one of the few perfect songs I've paired with an image as the melody matches the mood and the lyrics also lean toward that time of my life. The song begins talking about arriving in a new city after leaving home.


"I'm just arriving in the city And there's music on my mind Lookin' for my destination And my home is far behind"


I grew up in Wisconsin and moved to Colorado where I spent the first year searching for my path in life. Eventually, I built up enough courage to believe I could build a career as a photographer. I had taken steps to get my photography wheels rolling and every inch gained created a rush of disbelief. In those moments I tried to soak in the reality when it hit me and enjoy the realization. Crouching over my tripod positioned on the side of the river there was a moment where I thought, "I'm doing it." I was indeed tryin' to make a living doing what I loved. Just as the song says, "we got to keep on tryin'". That was the belief I had to ingrain into my head. I could make it if I kept trying.


"'Cause you can make it if you try You gotta lay it on the line And everything will be fine If you try"


Remember learning how to ride a bike and falling enough times to establish a fear of failure and doubt that you'd ever find success? Finally, the time came where you were pedaling and realized no one was holding onto your seat. Remember that feeling? That's the feeling that hit me on the bank of that river. That's the feeling that hit me when I was constructing my website, it hits me every time I finish submitting to a contest or a show, when I order business cards, and occasionally, it will just hit me out of the blue.


"We gotta keep on trying For the feelin' to come through"


And I was trying, slow and cautious at first but eventually, I threw caution to the wind and started working at it hard. Thoughts would creep in that made failure seem like the most plausible outcome but I would chase them away because failure was better than playing it safe and never knowing. So as I fought to believe in myself and my chances I would keep telling myself to keep trying.

"Ah, we got to keep on trying Ah, we got to keep on trying Ah, we got to keep on trying Ah, we got to keep on trying Whoa, I'm trying We got to keep on trying Whoa, I'm trying We got to keep on trying We got to keep on trying"

  • Instagram
  • Facebook

© Justin Key Photography