Monday, July 9, 2012

why photography

Yesterday I was feeling super restless and irritable. Turns out, sometimes all I need is a good cry and a good nights sleep. I woke up feeling great, looked out my widow and saw this: Untitled Every 8 months or so I have a personal crisis over my life. My stupid head tells me I'm a failure, that there's no hope, that I'll never make it. I have a lot of issues around money and independence, and the voice in my head doesn't make things any better. I keep reminding myself that I don't have to believe everything that goes through my head, and my emotions are a lot more manageable when I do.

In the past when I've believed the thought that I'm a hopeless failure, I've felt pretty low. Then I act out in some self destructive way that just reinforces that belief. Today I'm choosing not to believe those kinds of thoughts even though they still run through my mind. Instead I'm believing this about myself: I am capable, I don't know what's going to happen, things are different today than they were in the past, I'M different, in this moment everything is okay.

When it comes to my photography, I have to shoot whether or not I'm getting money. It's a part of who I am- my camera is an extension of my body. Somehow I discovered that I could earn money from this obsession of mine, so I supported myself for 3 years with it. I don't regret this, I have learned an incredible amount from running my own business. However, somewhere along the way I forgot why I take pictures- my purpose became making money, and the true drive to photograph life was lost.

I have spent several months doing some intense soul searching and discovery. In some ways I've had to relearn how to do life because in all of the chaos of the past two years I lost myself.

As a result, I have recently picked up my camera with a different focus. I can't shoot unless my drive is a higher purpose. Maybe I'll come up with some informal mission statement, but essentially I take pictures because photography helps me stay open to the possibility of different truths.

Let me explain. I have a tendency to cling to my ideas as truth, out of fear. I believe everything that my brain comes up with because it's all I know, including how I think things should be or look like. I get really anxious when things aren't turing out the way my brain thinks try should.

Photography helps me with this because when I pick up my camera, I am confident that whatever turns out it will be good and consistently I'm really happy with my work. I go into a shoot with ideas and direction but I honestly can't think of any shoot that has turned out the way I see it in my head. I just run with the faith that I'm capable of taking beautiful pictures and I let go of my expectations of the end result.

I want to live my life that way, having more confidence in myself without having to know the ending, living in the moment, seeing the beauty that exists without my insistence.

Does this make any sense? Do you feel that way sometimes, fear of letting go of control and needing I know and understand everything? Having faith that things are going to be just how they should be without trying to force things to turn out how you think they should for your own reassurance?

Sometimes when things are confusing I take my camera and head out without any idea what I'm going to shoot. When my heart is open and I follow my gut, usually the experience has a lesson in it that directly applies to whatever is going on in my life. It's really beautiful what the photographic experience teaches me.

The other reason I shoot is because I feel a deep and urgent need to show people the truth and beauty in themselves, their relationships, and their daily lives. Magic and beauty happen constantly and we don't see or realize it most of the time. I don't want to miss my life- I want to be present, live in the moment, appreciate being alive and being aware. Pictures help me do that for myself and I want to share the experience with others.

My favorite thing to photograph is portraits. I am fascinated by souls caught on film, I can't get enough of it. I take self portraits sometimes and I spend a significant amount of time looking at myself. This is nothing about vanity, it's a unique opportunity for self reflection. I see things in myself that I miss otherwise. I see things in my eyes, my posture, my smile.

Once I saw incredible vulnerability in my eyes that I thought I'd been hiding so well. I think if I were an animal I would be a little fawn. I am innocent and vulnerable, I try to pretend I'm tough and hard, but when I see myself in my portraits I'm reminded of the truth about myself; I am sensitive, creative, soft, and I am inherently enough. The biggest lie that nearly all of us believe is that we aren't enough. Sometimes it takes seeing ourselves objectively to realize it, undeniably. That experience is invaluable and I love doing that for other people.

We believe all kinds of things about ourselves, most of which are lies. Seeing the truth about ourselves sets us free and when we choose to believe in the truth about ourselves we are enormously empowered.

Getting back in touch with some of the pure motives for picking up my camera has inspired me and hopefully if will show through in my photographs.

I would love to travel around doing portrait sessions with people spending time seeing people and then reflecting back what I've seen. If anyone is interested in a portrait session, contact me and let's set it up!

There is no reason to be shy about wanting good pictures of yourself, I don't think it has anything to do with vanity- there's a need to have a mirror of ourselves to see if our insides match our outsides and to see what others may see when they look at us.

Thanks for reading this novel of you made it to the end. Here's to having a great day and more belief in the truth about ourselves!

- Posted from my iPhone Pin It Now!


Marci said...

I have loved these past posts! I especially loved this line from this one...
"I want to live my life that way, having more confidence in myself without having to know the ending, living in the moment, seeing the beauty that exists without my insistence."
Your writing is as beautiful as your photographs! Let's do a portrait swap next time you are in Katy!

Ashlee said...

Heather!! You are fantastic. I love you and I'm glad you posted this :) Let me know if ever you want to come and visit. I would absolutely LOVE to see you!


heather said...

Marci! Thank you so much:) I would absolutely love to do an exchange! I love your blog and you have a lot of talent. Also your kids are so big! They were babies when I was in Texas. Oh my. Beautiful family and beautiful photography:)

Ashlee! I love you too! If I make it back to Arizona (hopefully this week) I would love to visit! I miss you and I love you so much!