Category : Film
Friends, I’ve had a roller coaster of life over the past few days. I have dwelled at the bottom, in the throes of despair, anguish, and worry. I have towed the mid-level line with frequent reminders to stay calm, to not freak out, to wait until the picture had fully developed as it were. And, I have risen from the depths to experience relief, to exhale, to return to a sense of ease. And in the midst of these turbulent emotions, I was reminded of gratitude. Yes, I admit to feeling the most gratitude when I emerged at the end of the ride on said roller coaster. But moreover, I was awakened to the truer sense of gratitude — to the idea of being alive to all that we have, both the good and the bad, each and every day.
“GRATITUDE is not a passive response to something given to us, gratitude is being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. Gratitude is not something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life. Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is privilege, that we are part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape.”
–by David Whyte, published on his Facebook page, November 28, 2013
I can’t say it better than that. xoxo
For six months now, I’ve gone to bed with some version of the following thought swimming around in my head: “How am I going to shoot myself tomorrow?” SIX MONTHS! You know what that means?!?! I’ve hit the half-way mark on 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits. I’m half-way there, friends. It seems like only yesterday I was reflecting on the three-month mark, and here I am half-way through this incredible journey.
As I hit the half-way point of 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits, I see how much I’m growing as a photographer AND as a person. What began as a photography project has morphed into a larger metaphor about myself and life. This project consistently unveils lessons to me at every turn, showing me an insight into life through the process of shooting, by stepping way outside my comfort zone, or in my reaction to a photograph. My greatest hope is to write a book, compiling these awakenings and learnings along with a large selection of the self-portraits, and share them with you.
I’m excited to be over at the IMPOSSIBLE Project blog today, sharing more about 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits, including some never-before seen photographs from the last few months. I hope you click HERE to check it out!
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
I promised you a few weeks ago that I’d share some more film photos from our trip to Chicago, and I’m here to deliver! This was the first trip in years in which I did NOT bring along my digital SLR, but instead relied only on my Polaroid cameras, my 35mm film camera, and my iPhone. Since it was such a quick trip, it gave me a good opportunity to test how I would feel to only have film cameras with me. For the most part, it felt great — especially for my back! I had to trust that I would get some photos I liked, while knowing there would be others I didn’t like so much with no opportunity for a do-over. And, those sentiments proved true. Although there are some photos that didn’t meet my expectations, and I couldn’t check them on an LCD screen the moment I took them to make sure “I had the shot,” I’m okay with that. I embraced an analog weekend, and I’m content with the resulting photographs.
Having already shared my favorite Polaroid shots from the trip, here are my favorite 35mm photos from our 36 hours in the Windy City!
These last two trips with my Canon AE-1 camera — this Chicago adventure and the British Columbia retreat — are making me fall in love all over again with 35mm film. What are you in love with these days?
Sometimes it is difficult to step back and take a look at the big picture. It’s especially hard when the flu catches us by surprise and knocks us off our ass for a few days like it did to me this past week. When work deadlines loom, family obligations and other to-dos pile up, or you aren’t in love with your new haircut, yeah, it can be hard to embrace gratitude. But having a nudge, a gentle reminder to go wide with our view of ourselves and our lives can be a game changer in the way we feel.
We might see that love is all around us if we just look for it. We might be reminded of the fullness in our lives and so much more. I’m over at Mortal Muses sharing a bit more gratitude through my lens. I hope you click HERE to check it out.
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!
A few weeks ago, Tony and I headed to Chicago for a little get-away to celebrate our anniversary. It was a whirlwind, 36-hour trip, but a fantastic weekend to enjoy some more “just us” time. We got a chance to eat some yummy food, visit the Art Institute and check out the new-to-us Modern Wing, wander the city, and just hang out together. The weather was beautiful with lots of sun and cool autumn breezes.
We grabbed coffee and some pastries our first morning, and headed to Millennium Park. It was fun checking out “The Bean” and playing with reflections.
After a celebratory dinner at The Publican, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Chicago sign at night.