Since this blog and space is just beginning, I’m still communicating and observing and gathering those that I want to feature. Until then, I’m going to continue sharing my own experiences that inspire me and the artistic expression I’m driven to – photography.
Just over a year ago I got married. And the year before that, I started to take a step back from my photography business (after almost 10 years). At first, it was because I was just too busy planning my wedding to focus on having a full time job AND a side business. Stepping back from my photography business helped me to realize what I was getting from the business itself vs. what I wanted out of my photographic intent. It had always been a struggle between my artistic self and my business self. It had started as a creative outlet, moved into an art I could use to make money from, and then eventually the business became something I despised. For the lack of creativity and room for the creative process, plus the expectations from clients and occasional judgment from fellow photographers (you’re using that camera, that lens? you don’t use Lightroom?!, etc). It just became too much – and it wasn’t worth the anxiety I was feeling with every booking I made.
I can see how this might make me seem weak. But this is when the judgments start – with those who don’t know me or my situation. I’ve held a full time job in Los Angeles for the last 11 years and for 7 of those years, I’ve lived 40ish miles from work and commuted at least 15 hours a week. Having a side photography business for 10 of those years and having a side photography business on most of my weekends made for one tired woman. There comes a point in life where you have to choose. And I was fortunate enough to be able to make the decision, and cut one of them out.
Again – my internal self is being defensive and yelling “weak!”. I felt bad, but I also didn’t feel bad. The worst was telling a regular client that I was going to stop for a while, but the best part was actually telling her the truth (aka being vulnerable) and getting nothing but full support back from her. I am so thankful for this.
This all leads me to the Now. And as I’m sure you’re wondering, The Little Mermaid. She is my cousin Casey (in a totally creative and magical sense). Her look might be similar to the Disney version, but her soul is undoubtedly much darker and more intense. I need to be able to create and expose the light and dark sides of people. It’s truly a NEED of mine.
Our connection might be tied by family roots, but reconnecting in our later lives has been a rejuvenation of our souls – not just because of each other but most certainly fueled by the new energy we both bring to each others lives.
The energy we share is the desire to create a world, maybe selfishly, for us to retreat to. A world that allows us to design, modify and embellish – a world that features our inner need to share with others that there is more to this life than the mundane. Photography is one way to do that. But it’s also a way to connect with others. Art is meant for connection. Art is meant to inspire a whole new world.
For me, some of my best photography is done spontaneously. And often with another willing individual. I’m trying to get myself in front of the camera more, but I know that my Eye is truly my paintbrush. I like to mold and move an individual to fit into the light and shadow I see every single day (or seize the moment and quickly snap someone in the perfect light – which is always so fleeting). Casey and I have had many photo shoots at this point, but this one was so spontaneous and amazing, and I absolutely love that it recreated a childhood memory and world I always dreamed of (or had nightmares about – that’s another story).
We’ve had a couple of water-based photo shoots this summer, both spontaneous, and both a surprising mode of expression we didn’t plan. I love the Casey is open to being my photography subject, and I love that I have found another muse that infuses my photography and spirit.
This is just a portion of the art I want to create. And I wouldn’t be able to create it with boundaries and a price tag. I can only create with myself and those who are open to creating with me. Those who can open themselves just enough to allow the sunshine and shadows fall where they may.
P.S. I found this great article on the Original “Little Mermaid” here: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/03/16/kay-nielsen-disney-and-the-sanitization-of-the-modern-fairy-tale/.
P.P.S. The feature and first couple photos were taken on my iPhone. The last two were with my “real” camera (Canon T3i) with a bomb lens.