The answers you seek are not outside of you, they are within. The knowledge you crave, look inside first. Let that hint, that glimmer of a word point you to where you should be. Listen to the whispers of your soul, let them guide you and light your path.
One of my favorite things about being a creator, is watching your work unfold. I have been deeply inspired by Bryan Clavel’s recent photography, Brooke Shaden’s work and Franzi Zimmer’s portraits. Earlier this week, I cleared out all of the clutter of my office, set up my light with HUGE soft box and just played. I had a purpose for a completely different image but I really liked this one. It spoke to me in that instant. What I really needed was a moment to play and reconnect with who I was as a studio portrait photographer. This shoot felt very genuine and real to me.
I often wonder as an artist, what is worse? Being told that your work resembles someone else’s? Or that your work is always the same?
I struggle with this a lot. My work has been compared a lot, especially in the last year. I try to stay away from giving this type of compliment to people as I feel that it could really trump their creativity to grow and bloom. As baby artists (that’s what I like to call emerging artists), we latch on to other artists that inspire us because the nature of a young artist is to learn – so we replicate their work in our own way. At some point we grow and move on to replicate someone else’s work. But the thing that I find the most fascinating is how fragments of those other artists remain with us. THOSE are the little fragments that create work unique to us. As we move forward and find our voice, we carry these little fragments we’ve chosen to keep. We build and create with them, we experiment and try new things until (eventually) we have fully bloomed into our own selves as artists, with our own voice and vision.
So as you continue to discover yourself, don’t despair. Practice makes perfect, or in our case, practice makes unique. Because as every artist will tell you, our work is never perfect. Perfection is the key to stagnation. And with perfection, some artists fall prey to stop creating out of fear of imperfection. So we must do our best and put forth work that is as perfect as it will ever be in this moment.
I wanted to also tell you a little bit about this image.
“Impenetrable” – 2019, Self-Portrait
This past weekend, I was talking to a co-worker about my art. She asked me about an element in a portrait and I said, “It’s a symbol to document what we cannot see.” I had the realization that a lot of my art is my interpretation of what we cannot see. In some images, I address strong emotions, in others thoughts or what the human eye cannot perceive. I truly believe that there is so much more to this world than meets the eye.
Energy is one of those things I believe in, especially how it has the power to influence people in good or bad ways. Have you ever been in a mood (good or bad) and when you come in contact with someone else your mood changes (gets better or worse)? I believe that happens because we all radiate energy and that energy can change at any given moment. The energy we emit can begin with our minds and flow outwards onto those closest to us.
I titled this piece Impenetrable because I believe that as human beings, it is important to protect our space as much as possible. When we go out into the world, it is easy to be influenced and let our energy (vibe or mood) change because someone else’s overpowers ours or we are simply not aware of what is happening around us.
Another thing I have always believed in, is in the power to create your own reality around the circumstances that life might throw at you. You create your own world and likewise you can destroy it. The influence of others can easily help us build a reality that we did not want in the first place – and the thing is that we may not have even realized that it was happening. This is why protecting your space is so powerful, it sets you free to do as your heart desires.
As our subject emanates all that is her, the dark influences of the world around her encroaches and tries to crack her. But, she is much stronger than that external power and radiates her energy outwards. There is much power to be had in knowing that you can control how you feel and think. There is much power in the belief that you are impenetrable so long as you do not allow fear to conquer you.
In my art, I am very drawn by the concept of bringing light into the darkness. It is a theme that I have explored greatly in my work, especially having my subject emanate it or be surrounded by it. While I consider myself a very bright and bubbly person, my work encapsulates a deeper side of me. Perhaps it’s my fascination with duality or perhaps there is something I need to shine a light on. Most of my works were created with a message for my viewers but they also have an underlying meaning that I do not share with the world. This is how I document key moments in my life.
If you are a creator, do you embed deeply personal meanings in your works that you never share with the world? Only you know exactly why you created it?