Posts from the ‘inspiration’ category

definition: accomplished aim; resolution; determination; intention; full of meaning; a reason for.

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i read something recently that talked about “purpose”.  the article asked questions like; “what is the purpose?” ” what is the desired outcome?” “am I being honest with myself?”…. this made me think about my life and my dreams.  it also made me reflect on what holds me back…”fear”.  i’m consumed by my thoughts of fear; fear in pursuing my dreams and fear in accomplishing my goals.  And, at the same time, i recognized if i challenged that fear in me, use it to motivate me, my dreams will come true and probably even greater than I could ever imagine.  as i get older i try to look at fear in a different way.  my old habit is to run away so am trying to form new habits of pushing through this fear and treating it more like a obstacle to push past.

leander

I did that recently when i approached a photographer i’ve admired and asked if he’d be willing to do a one on one workshop.  he said yes.  wow, that was easy.  i was so excited until the day came to meet, my first session with him.  i was struck with fear.  i almost didn’t go.  i started thinking of excuses to cancel this workshop.  my fears manifested in negative thoughts telling me I was wasting his time, I wasn’t good enough etc.. started to flood my head.  i was on the verge of tears.  i had a good friend visiting me and shared with her what was going on.  she was compassionate to my feelings while at the same time pushed me into going by reminding me, with my own words, about why i wanted to do this workshop.   I am so glad she did.  it was GREAT!  my biggest accomplishment that day was just showing up.  what i learned that day was immeasurable.  it was just what i needed to hear the and timing couldn’t have been better.  what is also interesting is the information i learned in that class not only taught me a lot about myself as a photographer, but about myself in general.  it was quite enlightening.  it is amazing how this was a much bigger life lesson than i had imagined or anticipated.

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at the end of class i was given an assignment.   i felt fear sweep through my body.  i knew this assignment would be challenging for me.  i was encouraged to do a bit of street photography and to get up and close with the subjects.  get into the scene.  i chose a street scene and a social gathering in which to do this assignment. i actually thought the social gathering would be a bit easier because i knew the people.  both proved to be quite challenging.  i not only felt the fear but also felt so emotional as if i could cry at any moment.  i not only had to deal with fear in doing the assignment but also felt my creative drive had somehow disappeared.  it was as if my creative side had been drained from my body.  i had no idea what to do.  again, the negative emotions flooded my body and it was all i could do to not burst into tears.  what were these fears?  most were the fear of failure and feeling inadequate.  again, i wanted to give up.   once again,  i found myself trying to push aside the fear and to just do the assignment.  it was not great work and yet I learned a lot from it.  it was great to discuss this at my second workshop session.  i knew my work wasn’t great but hearing the feedback had me understanding why, encouragement on ways to improve on it and had me reflecting on how I felt during these assignments so that i, personally, know what i can do to improve them.  it will take some time and i will be out once again pushing through my fears because i know this is the road i must travel.

Lwindow

so, as i look back at “purpose” i am reminded that my fears are my NOT being honest with myself and that in order to achieve my desired outcome i must not listen to the fears and let them hold me back and instead focus on the outcome.  by doing so i will find my “purpose”.

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what a wonderful feeling it is to grab the post only to find a special treat inside.  that is what happened to me today.  i saw a package in the post and assumed it was from my mom to my kids (i’ve been expecting a package from her) and to my surprise i noticed the ‘royal mail’ stamp on the package.  i knew, at that moment,  it was for me.

although we correspond on a regular basis, i still have yet to meet my dear friend from london.  as i opened up the package i smiled….. it seems so odd that someone i have not yet met can know me so well.  the card she sent had a beautiful photo of hers on the front, what a wonderful treasure.  the book is an incredible photo book on the life work of nan goldin (i recently admired her work at the elles; pompidou exhibit). i am not only sincerely touched by this beautiful gift but am also touched by the fact that she knew me so well in the choice of book she sent.  it was obvious she knows me well.

thank you my friend, this means the world to me.

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i saw a facebook status quote from a photographer|artist dana de luca, ‘When you look at my photographs, you are looking at my thoughts’.  this made me stop and think.  this is similar to the way i feel about my photographs.  how i feel, what i am thinking and who i am are often reflected in my photos.

it has been a long time since i’ve posted.  there are some significant things happening in my life that have me flooded with emotions; happy, sad, and loneliness.  these emotions have me chanting more than ever.  although i discovered some months ago that i’ve lost me i didn’t really reflect on that nor did i do anything about it.  what did that mean, actually?  how would i find me?  i also realized i am not happy.  although i have suffered with depression, that is not the feeling i am having.  the feeling i have is my life is someone else’s, not mine.  i live to please others thinking i will find my happiness in doing that and, obviously, was wrong.  i also thought i found happiness in someone and immersed myself into that until i realized that i was even more unhappy and gave someone this huge burden by being responsible for my happiness.  what would it mean for me to be happy?  well i had two pretty incredible friends tell me that i couldn’t find happiness until i found it in myself first.  what???  well they were right.  until i could be happy being me, doing things for me, and finding myself i wasn’t going to be happy.

a month ago i quit my photography class.  the stress of my unhappiness, the friendship i had that went sour and the flood of emotions at home had me overwhelmed and ended up quitting one of the most important things to me, my photography class.  photography is usually the place i can escape to and pour my emotions into and instead i walked away.  i felt ashamed, depressed and without a place to dump my emotions.  that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing at the time because i had to turn inward spiritually and re-discover me.  i have been so amazed at what has resulted because of this.  i have old friends showing up in my life that i haven’t seen or spoken to in years, i have discovered new friends and i have had the confidence to stand up for myself (still a work in progress).  while this has not been easy and there is still a lot of emotion wrapped up in all of “this” it is still exciting and progress is being made.

i picked up my camera today and instead of wrapping myself up in ‘what others might think’ or in over thinking what it is i wanted to take photos of i just captured a bit of my surroundings.  no master plan, no agenda, just photos showing representing visual thoughts|feelings of how i am looking at life around me.

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In class on Thursday we had the privilege to attend the lecture from Amanda Koster of SalaamGarage.  She shared an experience that really touched me especially the quote “I didn’t even know he was my neighbor”.  It was about a young boy who’s family, except for his two, younger,  siblings died of HIV|Aids.  She spent a lot of time with this young boy and was able to tell his story for the NGO.  A neighbor woman heard his story, because of Amanda’s work, and said “I didn’t even know he was my neighbor”.  She happened to be a women of means and was able to help support the 3 young children from that point forward.  He was her neighbor but she knew nothing about him.

This lecture along with the quote that inspired my last weeks project from Nancy Ford Cones (“It is a dead sure thing that if you cannot make pictures in or around the home, it is positively hopeless to go abroad and find them.”) made me think of my home, the community in which I live.  I thought of all the neighbors I have and realized how few I knew anything about.  I used my community Facebook page and asked for volunteers for my assignment this week, there were 2.  I then met with them, and spent time talking to them, getting to know them before I even picked up my camera.  What was interesting is they don’t know each other and they (and me too) live within walking distance of each other and both people have a HUGE musical interest.  G’s home had one wall, floor to ceiling, filled with CD’s and JP had 2 walls dedicated to albums.  I’m glad to know my neighbors.

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“It is a dead sure thing that if you cannot make pictures in or around the home, it is positively hopeless to go abroad and find them.” ~ from a book I’ve been reading lately called Against the Odds: Women Pioneers in the First Hundred Years of Photography. Quote by Nancy Ford Cones.

I I was really inspired by this quote because I found photographing in my home very difficult.  I can go into most any environment and take photos but when it comes to mine, I struggle.  I’ll take photo’s of my home and family for others but not often.  So, this photographer and her quote really inspired me to take another look at my environment and photograph it.  Here are the photos I submitted this week for class.

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Last night I started my 3rd class at PCNW, a photography school.  The class is Women in Photography and will provide us with a history of women photographers (so far the first ones we discussed are AMAZING), and we will visit art museums around Seattle visiting exhibits focusing on women artists.  There are so many in Seattle right now and this class is taking full advantage of it.  One of the exhibits I am most excited about is the elles:pompdou.   What perfect timing to have this here AND we get a private tour of the exhibit!

I typically have first day of class jitters when I review the syllabus and hear about the artistic backgrounds of my classmates.  Last night was no exception.  The women and one man in my class had some pretty incredible talent behind them so a bit of my insecurity came out.  I then reflected on my prior classes and remember feeling the same way the first day and then also remembered how much I learned and how much I grew in each class.  I wanted a class that would help me break out of my conservative shell.  I want to explore my creativity and I believe this class will help me do that.  Our assignments are given based on the women photographers we are studying and we are to draw inspiration from these women and create our own images so it leaves a lot of room to explore and challenge our own creativity.  I find that my comfort zone is when the assignments are a little more literal so feel this may be my opportunity to break out of my conservative self and challenge it a bit.  My blog will be a journal of my journey in this class, the good with the bad.  Enjoy.

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I’ve been struggling with my own self worth.  Now, I’ve struggled with this for most of my life but now I want to do something about it.  I’m tired of having my own pity party always thinking I am not worthy of ______ (there are so many words I could use in that blank).  I have a family and realize the importance of challenging this in me so that I can be an example to my family of overcoming those obstacles|challenges, that hold me back.  I realize how often I have thoughts of complaint or negativity, when instead I should {want to} have thoughts of appreciation and joy.  This has become so important to me that it is consuming my thoughts day and night.   To have the life I want requires me to look inside myself to create that life.

Today I had a friend stop by and I shared with her my thoughts and feelings.  She was so inspiring.  She shared with me her own life experiences of similar struggles and what she did to overcome them.  As she said “I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps and take a hard look at myself”.  I know the feeling.  We can point our fingers outward with complaint but if we are seeking to change our lives we need to take that finger and point it inward.

I am embracing this Fall season with open arms.  As the trees shed their leaves I, too,  am shedding mine; my leaves of negativity and complaint.

 

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summer may be coming to a close but what i learned this summer has been invaluable.  i learned not to take things so personally.  i had a lot of things challenge my insecurities as a parent and as a photographer this summer.  i then had to tell myself what i tell my son.  ‘these are not failures, they are opportunities to grow”.  funny, i could dish out this wisdom but found it difficult to accept myself.  i want to be a role model for my kids so i reframed my thinking and made a conscience effort to find appreciation in the things I struggled with.  i learned some valuable lessons about myself as a mother, too.  i made some mistakes and realized i don’t have to be defined by them.

so good bye summer and hello fall! i look forward to what you bring, more challenges and more opportunites.

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I was reading a blog post recently from Otto von Münchow called Patiently Painting Walls.  It really hit home for me.  I was struggling with my own insecurities of no longer working with a non-profit organization I have grown to love.   I started with this organization with little to no experience with photography.  I had a relationship with a person at this organization who felt something when she saw my photos and encouraged me to explore it.  Through conversation I soon became the volunteer photographer for this non-profit.

Recently, however, the board of directors have elected to not have me volunteer anymore and are moving in the direction of putting the photography services out to bid.  I am an artist so immediately this brought out all sorts of insecurities in me.  I had to challenged myself to sit down and look at what I was being presented with, what they were telling me instead of looking at all of the negative self talk I am accustomed to.  This negative self talk can often be my safe place to go.   Can you believe that?  Negative self talk is my safe place? My comfort zone?  Ridiculous isn’t it?  Well, fortunately Otto’s blog post came along at just the right time.  It wasn’t just his post but one of the comments that really struck me;  “I guess it’s important in creativity, photography or any other pursuit that you stick with it. I remember when I was doing martial arts that there were a few people who started around the same time as me, but didn’t train as often, or as hard, and then disappeared, only to come back a few months later. Sure enough, their skill level was way below mine, and their lack of practice meant a lack of progress and soon they quit. They didn’t have the guts or the patience to stick with it, even though they were surrounded by people at the gym who were local and national champions to inspire and coach them. I’m too old and too injured now to train, photography is far safer, but the lesson I took from martial arts is that there are no shortcuts in any activity worth pursuing!”  This comment was important to me because one of the negative things I tell myself is “give up, this photography thing isn’t really for you”.

I now am looking at this with appreciation.  I am challenging myself to continue my education, I am trying to find away to attend a challenging workshop that is my dream, AND I am reflecting on the appreciation and gratitude I have for this non-profit organization.  If I hadn’t had the opportunity to work for them I wouldn’t have the wonderful relationships with the many incredible staff and their clients that I do  and it was because of the work that I did that has provided me with the photography path I want to pursue.  I also have to remember that I brought some pretty great things to this organization.  I gave them photos.  They never had their own photos before and this was a gift I presented to them.  I also came up with the idea to have a video showing the work they do at their annual fundraising luncheon.  This has become an annual thing for them and it was an idea I presented.  Things happen for a reason and although we do not see it at this moment we will soon.  Each experience we have is a stepping stone to more incredible opportunities to come.

These photos are some of the wonderful clients I met while volunteering my time.

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These past 7 years have been a whirlwind of craziness.  I got married, quit a career I had for over 20 years, had a child, became a stay at home mom and then had another child.  What I didn’t realize at the time was how I gave up me.  I put into my head that I had to be a specific way as a stay at home parent and what I didn’t realize was that in doing so I gave up me.  Not just a part of me but all of me.  I became someone else and struggled so hard to keep up this facade of this new person and as a result I have been living with stress, anxiety and depression.  The realization came, quite suddenly, as I looked around my home.  My home has always been a special place for me and these past years I’ve done nothing with it.  While my husband works hard at keeping the yard and garden going (a tough job for just one person) I’ve just sat by watching him and doing nothing but trying to keep the house almost clean.  Those special little details that I would create to make the house warm and inviting have gone.  I don’t know where they went but they are gone and not replaced with anything new.  I don’t even put flowers around my home anymore and I l-o-v-e  to have fresh flowers in every room.  Once I made this realization I lit up.  I’ve started making my lists and am finding ways to add the personal touches back to my home, to my yard and to my family.  And all of those things that I thought I needed to be when I became a parent?  Well, I took most of them, the ones that are not me, and put them in the trash.

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