illuminate photography » crazy. beautiful.

seeing :: reflecting

Back in January I attended Shannon Leith’s seeing class and it really and truly changed me.  It’s been a slow process.  Slower than I was hoping it would be, but there’s life, so I’m giving myself grace to experience this process at my current pace.  But I’m very thankful that the class wasn’t just a once and done deal because for me in this life stage that is making a HUGE difference in my progress.  Shannon is making a huge difference in my progress.

I had my second Skype mentor session with Miss Leith this afternoon and good golly do I love that girl!  I just started a new project based on our second class assignment, which the newly discovered photographer-artist me is really really excited about (but also feeling a bit vulnerable because these images are such a departure from my norm).

Today I discovered that although I do make a living doing photography, which most people would consider a pretty creative and artistic thing, I don’t think I had really and truly embraced my artist self.  It was like I discovered a new line that I didn’t even know existed… and today I crossed it.

This project started as a concept.  A visual research project.  I had no idea what topic I was going to choose, in what direction I was going to head.  And if I’m really honest with myself, I barely took the time to even think about it during the first couple of weeks that I had to get started on it.

And then one day, I was at a bridal open house, just messing around photographing the venue, details, etc. when all of a sudden I went to take a photograph of a picture frame (it was a little frame announcing what types of candies were in the jar behind it) when I noticed a glare.  So I moved to try to avoid the glare and all of a sudden… what’s this?

A silhouette…

I was enchanted by this image.  I found myself staring at it.  Thinking about it even when I wasn’t looking at it.  Reflecting on it.  Which might seem weird, but it literally felt like my eyes had been opened to a whole new way of seeing.  Like I was only seeing in 2-D before and now I figured out how to cross my eyes just right and see the poster in 3-D (remember those?)

After this image embedded itself in my psyche, I started seeing reflections everywhere.  Sometimes literal mirror images of a subject.  Sometimes only hints or ghosts of what was being reflected.  But sometimes, sometimes… the subject would be changed in such a new and beautiful way by the thing doing the reflecting that I felt something in me almost ache to capture it.  And when the moment passed with no camera in hand I would feel an emptiness somewhere deep down, with a twinge of sadness for beauty lost.  Like so many images before, captured only in my fading memory.

And then, as if that wasn’t dramatic enough, a thought… something deeper than what was visible on the surface: Really everything we see and hear and experience, we see, hear and experience though the lens of our eyes, our ears, our hearts, our souls.  And we affect that object, we interpret it, we experience it in a way different from everyone else around us does.  What we think about, what we notice, how it changes us, or doesn’t change us.

And it’s the same when I photograph reflections of things or people.  The object reflecting the subject changes or interprets that thing based on its characteristics.  It may color it, distort it, make it clear or obscure, even flip it upside down.

So about the “photographer-artist” thing… well between having an amazing talk with my hubby the other night and now after sharing my latest images with Shannon this afternoon, I’ve really got a sense of what’s been steadily growing inside of me lately.  This rebel I-don’t-care-what-you-think I-like-it-because-I-like-it girl inside of me, the girl who used to dye her hair purple and make jewelry and jump up on the backs of stranger’s cars (that’s how I met my husband) and listen to amazing music girl… she’s been dying to get out.

So I’ve decided to give the “you’re supposed to act this way or do it that way because you’re a mom/wife/professional photographer/Christian/fill in the blank” girl, yeah that girl… I’ve decided to step out of the box and give that girl the boot!

The girl I tried so hard to be, has always been me
– from Dara MacLean’s song Free

And that, my friends, is how both my most recent photography project and my identity as a photographer-artist were born.  Today.

And with that I give you the first installment of my most recent photography art project…

:: reflecting ::

the girl with the purple hair,
:: lisa ::

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