Gratitude and Celebration

 Three generations. And a lot of matriarchs.

Three generations. And a lot of matriarchs.

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It's back to school time, and though my students are adults, I've been thinking a lot about how much we can all learn from my cousin's five year old sons. Though I don't see them as often as I'd like, I have always loved watching them play. The twins just started kindergarten.

I realized that one of the things I love see most is that they haven't learned that they "can't" do something, or can't do it in a certain way (kitchen knives and hot pans aside). They are discovering new things every day.

As we grow up, we learn we are better at some activities than others. We are encouraged down different paths. We begin to be assigned labels. We practice different skills.

Yes, some things come more naturally (I have never been able to understand car engines, no matter how hard my father tried), and we generally like doing things we excel at, but we also build the muscles we use. For me, those are often creative in nature. The way I see. How I solve problems. The tools I use to make images. And it isn't easy. I hear people talk about talent like it's something that just shows up, delivered by the proverbial stork. Or Santa Claus.

Like many people, I've had my share of ruts and setbacks. This happened recently (for two years) and I felt so frustrated and confused by this art of mine. I kept pulling out the camera because I knew I had to do it - I had to stay alert and I also needed to stay connected to the pathways through my brain and heart that seek out the beautiful and the curious. I knew I was making something, but I couldn't see where it was going.

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After conversations with friends, therapy sessions, a few bottles of wine, and travels from one coast to the other and back again, one day, sitting in an airport, all of the pieces came together. After two years, I finished the body of work within a few weeks. As my life came into alignment, so did my art. The day I put the final words to paper to describe this journey, I submitted the work for the first time. And now I sit in wonder that this creation is a finalist in Photolucida's Critical Mass. I received the email a few days ago and haven't been able to find words to adequately express my humble gratitude, my shocked amazement.

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One body of work is now complete and slowly making it's way out into the world. Another hangs from magnets in my office - resequenced daily. It is still growing. This weekend I began planning something new and I am excited to see yet another path for exploration. Another way of working with love, longing, connection, memory, home.

Today I write to remember this moment and to celebrate the triumph of continuing to create, whatever comes next. And I write to thank you for traveling through this journey with me.

Gratitude and Celebration

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It's back to school time, and though my students are adults, I've been thinking a lot about how much we can all learn from my cousin's five year old sons. Though I don't see them as often as I'd like, I have always loved watching them play. The twins just started kindergarten.

I realized that one of the things I love see most is that they haven't learned that they "can't" do something, or can't do it in a certain way (kitchen knives and hot pans aside). They are discovering new things every day.

As we grow up, we learn we are better at some activities than others. We are encouraged down different paths. We begin to be assigned labels. We practice different skills.

Yes, some things come more naturally (I have never been able to understand car engines, no matter how hard my father tried), and we generally like doing things we excel at, but we also build the muscles we use. For me, those are often creative in nature. The way I see. How I solve problems. The tools I use to make images. And it isn't easy. I hear people talk about talent like it's something that just shows up, delivered by the proverbial stork. Or Santa Claus.

Like many people, I've had my share of ruts and setbacks. This happened recently (for two years) and I felt so frustrated and confused by this art of mine. I kept pulling out the camera because I knew I had to do it - I had to stay alert and I also needed to stay connected to the pathways through my brain and heart that seek out the beautiful and the curious. I knew I was making something, but I couldn't see where it was going.

After conversations with friends, therapy sessions, a few bottles of wine, and travels from one coast to the other and back again, one day, sitting in an airport, all of the pieces came together. After two years, I finished the body of work within a few weeks. As my life came into alignment, so did my art. The day I put the final words to paper to describe this journey, I submitted the work for the first time. And now I sit in wonder that this creation is a finalist in Photolucida's Critical Mass. I received the email a few days ago and haven't been able to find words to adequately express my humble gratitude, my shocked amazement.

One body of work is now complete and slowly making it's way out into the world. Another hangs from magnets in my office - resequenced daily. It is still growing. This weekend I began planning something new and I am excited to see yet another path for exploration. Another way of working with love, longing, connection, memory, home.

Today I write to remember this moment and to celebrate the triumph of continuing to create, whatever comes next. And I write to thank you for traveling through this journey with me.

…You can see the full body of work on my website, maricofayre.com

Bringing our whole selves to what we create...

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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.

Bringing our whole selves to what we create...

pozos_july14_5993-e1408232248667.jpg

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.

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