Bringing our whole selves to what we create...


It’s true that I overthink everything. Including this post, which is why I blog infrequently, at least when there are words involved. I have a somewhat simpler time communicating with images, though only marginally. Recently I’ve had so many conversations about what I create and why - friends, other artists, strangers at theater performances...The “why” really is key for me, and it’s a big part of what I ask students to define in their thesis work. And yet, perhaps I sometimes overthink even that. (If I'm honest, there’s no perhaps about it.) I can often become immobilized by my need to create work with a deep and lasting purpose – work that will change the world and connect with people emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. It’s a tall order.

When it comes right down to it, why do I pick up the camera at a given moment? Because I have to do it. I want to remember. I am curious by nature and I use photography as a way of capturing experiences and sharing them with others. I also use photography as an integral part of my explorations and process. Through the images I create, I begin to see myself more clearly, to understand my experiences, to communicate my feelings.

Looking at a series of images, I see the journey. Sometimes images that began with one story develop into something new – in hindsight.

Often, the act of pausing and opening myself up in order to create allows me to pause and to fully be present in my experience. Like many of us, I learned to numb my emotions from an early age and present a pretty picture (pardon the pun). I was “nice,” and so “happy,” and “mature for my age.” The compliments that I collected as a child turned into a cage woven from good intentions. After three decades I am only now beginning to fully embrace the vast array of feelings and reactions I have every day. The anger. Fear. Grief. Uncertainty. And I am finding that the emotions I was so terrified would eat me alive or turn me into a brittle shell are, in fact, opening the doors to joy, gratitude, exuberance, and imagination.

Beauty and darkness exist in everything – the two sides of the human experience. Attempting to ignore one inherently diminishes the other. This is a lesson I captured in images for years without really seeing it.

Every fleeting moment is a discovery and a loss. A way to remember and a temptation to live in the past. A search and a recognition. Each image shows where I have been - how I became the person I am - at the same time that it allows me to move forward and decide where I am going.