Category : Community
Messenger by Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
Thank you, friends. Thank you for coming to my corner of the world. Thank you for sharing in my creative journey. Thank you for reading my words. Thank you for being interested in my photography. Thank you for cheering me on. Thank you for your kindness and generosity of spirit. Thank you for really seeing me. Thank you. I am so grateful for you, this community, here at Life Refocused. xoxo
In my last post, I wrote about seeing gratitude through my lens and focusing on the parts of my life — both big and small — that bring me joy. In that same vein, I’m thrilled to share some good news with you that brings me joy in a BIG way through a small package.
Putting out a call to Instagramers the world over, Chronicle Books created the first of its kind, crowd-sourced book of Instagram photos. This is Happening is a compilation of over 200 photos that Chronicle editors selected from thousands of Instagram photo submissions. I’m beyond excited and grateful that 7 of my photos were selected to be included in this sweet little book!!! Here are a few of my favorites that Chronicle selected…
It is such an honor to be included in this beautiful collection of photos from photographers around the world (including dear friends and photographers I admire) who engage in iPhoneography and share their work on Instagram. The book is so sweet and filled with an amazing array of images. This Is Happening just got released and is available at Amazon and other bookstores. I hope you check it out!
PS — that photo of the dandelion is the image that is used on the spine of the book. So cool!
I’ve written before about my longing for connection, for kindred spirits, for sisterhood. I’ve shared with you my loneliness of living in an unfamiliar place, of having a small circle of local friends. These longings and loneliness have propelled me to go outside of my comfort zone and outside of my own town. These feelings have given me the push I needed to create communities of connection, to seek out kindreds and sisters. This began by attending retreats and gatherings, and doing so helped me begin to meet “my people.” From there, smaller groups of sisterhood were born.
One of these groups evolved from attending two photography retreats hosted by Shutter Sisters. While attending the second retreat with about 80 women last October, a small circle of us found ourselves at dinner enjoying margaritas, raucous laughter, and each other. As we ate and drank and carried on together, we birthed the idea of splintering off and creating a smaller creative community for ourselves. Within the evening, the Canadians in the bunch decided we would descend on British Columbia for our inaugural gathering. Over the past year, we stayed connected, made plans, rented a house, and bought plane tickets. And a few weeks ago, our idea manifested itself.
Many dreams and projects were shared during our time with one another. One of those ideas was that the group of us would dive into the 10 on 10 project, sharing 10 images shot on one day or in one experience on the 10th of the month. As our first post for 10 on 10, we decided we would each share photos from our time together in BC. Without further ado, here are my 10 on 10 from British Columbia and this magical retreat that was born of kindred spirits coming together for sisterhood, photography, and self-care. (BTW, you can click on each photo to view them larger!)
It didn’t take long for this group of photographers to whip out our cameras and start shooting. I think we looked like a group of paparazzi the entire time we were together. After taking the ferry from Vancouver to make our way to Tofino, we stopped at Cathedral Grove, an old growth forest with trees older than 800 years. The massive trees were amazing and the light among these old beauties was nothing short of magical.
On our second day, we ventured to some natural hot springs, a journey requiring another boat ride to get there. Being out on the open ocean, we were surrounded with beauty in every direction. The mountains, the ocean, the fog…breathtaking.
The small cove that houses the hot springs gave us more opportunities to capture the natural beauty that is British Columbia. I had considered not bringing any cameras with me that day as rain was in the forecast, but fortunately I brought one. I would have been so saddened to have missed this reflection shot.
Although we had an epic storm come through, and I do mean EPIC, we were blessed with many moments of sun and gorgeous weather. And this crew of women did not disappoint with the COLOR that they packed to wear.
Amidst the shooting, the relaxing in the hot springs, and the indulging in yummy food and deep rest, we deepened our friendships with one another. We shared our work, told each other our secret (and not-so-secret) creative dreams, and opened up about our struggles. Indeed, a new sisterhood was born in British Columbia.
Although we’ve been home for only a few short weeks, I’m already missing these sisters. I’m grateful for our ongoing connection and I’m so excited about the new adventures we have in the works. Thank you Cherish, Corinna, Debra, Lindsey, Tamar, and Tara — stay loose. xoxo
All of my photos in this post were shot on 35mm film with my Canon AE-1 using either Fuji 160 or Portra 400 film. The film was processed and scanned by Indie Film Lab. I have Polaroid photos to share with you from the trip and a few more 35mm pics, too. In the meantime, head on over to Lindsey’s blog to see her 10 (or maybe more) on 10 of our BC adventures!
As I was traveling last week, sitting at the airport and ending a phone call with a friend, I looked up to see a life-sized blur of pink walk by. I did a double-take to fully realize what I had seen. There, in the middle of the airport on a busy Thursday, stood a grown man wearing a pink body-suit, pink bike shorts, pink VANS, and a pink feathered boa around his neck. It being October, I had a sneaking suspicion that his attire was all about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I felt so inspired by his strength in wearing full-blown pink, TO TRAVEL, that I had to go say hello. And ask him if I could take his photo.
This is Andrew. His mother is a breast cancer survivor of 8 years. He shared with me that for the past few years, he’s been dressing up in pink as many days in October as he can to show his support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Andrew said this year marks his first as having enough in his wardrobe to wear pink EVERY DAY in October. We chatted a bit about his mom, my own cancer story, and the importance of prevention and early detection. I told Andrew that I admired his courage and passion to so publicly embrace his own awareness campaign of wearing pink every day for 31 days. I asked if I could take his portrait and he graciously obliged. And then, we were off on our separate paths.
However, Andrew and his story stuck with me throughout the day. His groundedness in who he is and what he believes in was, IS, striking. I truly admire how comfortable Andrew is in his body, his identity, his beliefs, to go against the grain and the norms of masculinity to wear bright pink everywhere he goes for a month. He sincerely inspired me and I know he inspires most everyone he encounters. Meeting Andrew reminded me that life is short. He reminded me that THIS, right now, THIS is IT. He reminded me to take my life by the horns and ride it for all it’s worth. He reminded me to embrace every moment. To live bold.
How do the days keep slipping through my fingers? Where do 24 hours “go” in each revolution of this beautiful earth? As I sit here on this chilly, mid-October day, I’m thinking about summer and the third Tribe retreat. I’m trying to savor the time spent back in July with such kindred spirits on the coast of Oregon, my happy place.
I’m reminiscing about dinner together on the beach, chats on the turquoise couch, walks into town filled with laughter.
I’m reflecting on celebrating dreams fulfilled and mourning one of our sisters not being able to be with us this year. I’m holding on to the ease and security that was born within me that week, those core desired feelings that I struggle some days to maintain.
I’m missing my sisters, their friendship, our connection. I’m reminding myself of how they buoy me when life feels stormy and difficult.
I’m feeling grateful for the space this group has created with one another, and for all that these relationships bring to my life. I’m aware of the evolution of our friendships, as well as the changes that occur within each of us and in our respective lives. I’m excited to see what lies ahead for us all as individuals and as a group.
I’m already counting the days until we’re all — all — together again.
I’m so delighted to share that our group has a collective written piece and photographs in the Autumn issue of Mingle. I hope you check it out.
With summer feeling like it is officially ending as classes and the semester start today, I’ve been reminiscing about my summer. Like most summers, I visited Oregon, seeing dear friends in Portland and then heading to the coast for the Tribe retreat. Unlike the past four summers, Tony came with me! It felt way overdue for Tony to come along and visit with our friends, so I decided to book him a flight when I was making my travel arrangements. And I’m so grateful I did.
We met Lise many moons ago when we moved to Missouri for me to start graduate school. Lise lived down the street from us with her then 15-month old daughter, Avery. We grew super close, often cooking and eating dinner together, walking our dogs, and generally connecting as transplants to the Midwest. A few years later, Lise and Avery moved to Oregon and I grew so worried we would fall out of touch. With many visits, phone calls, and me living in Oregon for a year, that certainly hasn’t happened, and we’ve now been friends for almost 15 years. As evidence of the passage of time, here’s a photo of Lise and Ave that I took during our recent visit with them…
We had tons of fun hanging out with Avery and hearing all about high school (OMG, we’re old!), and getting to know Anton more and more along with his love of dinosaurs, Peregrine falcons, and climbing. Lise loves to be outside in her garden and we got to enjoy her lovely dahlias…
Of course no trip to Portland is complete without visiting Mecca, otherwise known as Powell’s Books…
My Tribe sisters and I gathered on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in our beloved, sleepy, Oregon coastal town last month. It was a delicious few days together. This year, our third, was awash with traditions and rituals from our previous gatherings as well as new evolutions. Although our time together was deeply connecting, we felt a hole in our hearts as one of our sisters had to miss our retreat due to a significant loss. It strikes me that this is likely the first of many such losses our group will share with one another, the first of life circumstances that keep us apart, the first of holding space for each other while we physically can’t be with one another. And that’s just what a group of kindred sisters is for, right? To cheer us in good times and in celebration, and hold us in despair and loss…
Our talented Tribe sister, Melissa, filmmaker extraordinaire, gifted us again with a short film of our time together. Melissa had a vision and story she wanted to tell this year, and I love what she created for us, blending our traditions and our evolution.
Thank you, Melissa. YOU are such a gift. xoxo
Back in May, I traveled to San Francisco and Marin. It had been some time since I’d been in the Bay Area, and I was grateful to get back. I primarily went to attend a Polaroid workshop, but was thrilled that I could also extend my trip and spend some time with some kindred spirits. I’ve already shared some photos from the workshop here and here, but wanted to post a few more from my time with friends.
As part of a photo-walk in the Mission District, we stopped for coffee in the hipster Four Barrel Coffee. The light was streaming beautifully through a skylight and on to these gorgeous flowers.
As we strolled around the Mission after getting my tintype taken at Photobooth SF, we stopped to admire the gorgeous murals throughout the neighborhood. This was one of my favorites of all the street art we feasted on.
My lovely friend, Hillary, hosted me while I visited and we had an incredible time with one another. She is one of the most generous and kind souls I know. And, she’s a medal-winning swimmer! Hillary just competed in the Maccabiah Games in Israel, winning six medals for her swimming!
What an inspiring week! ‘Roid Week 2013 did not disappoint, both in terms of the amazing photos that were shared for the first time by more than 1,000 members in the Flickr group, as well as the appreciation and support shown toward one another in comments and faves. I feel energized to keep shooting and honing my art as an instant film photographer.
Here are 2 more photos I shared for Days 4 and 5 of ‘Roid Week. First, one perfect rose…
And, a favorite portrait…
You can see some of my very favorite photos that other photographers revealed during ‘Roid Week here. And if you missed the other images I shared for the week, you can check them out here and here and here.
I’m already counting down until next year and ‘Roid Week 2014!
We’re half-way through ‘Roid Week 2013! I hope you have checked out the photos in the Flickr pool — they really are stunning. I love this week as seeing other instant film photographers’ strongest work is incredibly inspiring and helps my own creative juices to flow.
For my selections today, I chose two portraits. First, a photo that screams, “Hello, Summer!”
And second, one of my self-portraits from my current 365 Impossible Self-Portraits project. Here is Day 56…