Fill your photography with the best of you. No limits. No excuses. You owe it that much.
I'm an editor by trade--a senior tech writer who produced and managed the writing of large-scale computer software manuals (after a five-year stint straight out of college at designing and coding and implementing and testing them). I'm a unapologetic geek with a GA Tech degree and no formal training either in writing itself or the arts. No MFA. No high school newspaper or year book clubs (I was too busy being jock). No creative internships in college (I worked for the Centers for Disease Control instead, learning to code in the Information Management offices, and then to write the end-user documentation for their first personal computer software program). Early on I chose a math and science path, because my daddy told me that's where the money was, not in writing. And he was right. To a point.
I'm also an author (27 novels and counting in 14 years), a ghost writer (non-fiction, mostly) and an author coach who thrives on helping others dig deep and bring their dream worlds to life.
And I'm a photographer, I've more recently discovered.
Always have been, it seems.
The art has thrived inside me my whole life. I come from artists, several generations past. We're and odd lot, if the family stories are to be believed. I haven't escaped unscathed, despite my practical, let's-be-realistic father's best efforts.
The stories are there, always there, inside me, looking to make good their escape. I'm full of them (or full of it, my husband might say when we've had an argument). No point in evading the truth.
Writing was my first window into sharing how I see what I see. I'd never been more terrified than when I signed my first publishing contract, delivered my first completed manuscript, attended my first book signing, and spoke for the first time to a reader's groups. But I couldn't help myself. A voice inside was demanding to speak, to create, and to be shared. There was a reason, finally, that my life was the way it had always been--and it was to impact (and better, hopefully) the reality of others through how I saw the world and what those visions compelled me to create.
As a scientist, I like to be in control. As an artist, I'm completely vulnerable to the stories that find their way to me. There's no rhyme or reason. No explaining the art of transposing inspiration into a reality that others can experience. But as a writer I learned to harness that process. What an honor. A blessing. A curse.
Once you wander down that creative path, there's no turning back. You have to share, to show, to speak up. That's your calling, if you're an artist whose as interested in reaching others as you are in expressing yourself.
With photography, my stories found their visual medium. Through the images I create with my camera, I've arrived at my poetry.
And so have you, if you're like me: always with a camera in front of your face, seeing great things that aren't there for "normal" people, in ways only you can seem them.
The images in this post are more like the "technical" side of me. All angels and geometry. Mostly. But they're exactly the same as my nature captures, as it turns out.
This was an architectural shoot. Everyone else focused on sweeping lines and magestic views of one of Atlanta's marvels. I was obsessed with the abstract, the minutia, and ways of looking out at the world from obscure vantage points.
I couldn't get enough.
I was the last to leave, except for the guide who stayed and patiently waited and made a point to admire what I'd discovered when it was time for the group to share (and my takeaway was so very, bizarrely different from the rest).
The "alternative" stories in my head simply wouldn't stop speaking to me.
You don't get to take credit for your creativity. It's a gift you were born with. Your credit comes from what you do with it, and how many lives your gift touches.
A mentor taught me that quite a while ago, as I studied screenwriting.
From him I learned gratitude for being "full of it."
As well as a sense of responsibility to release what I'd been given back to the energy from which it came.
I believe each of us is born with a innate capacity to transform our lives and the realities of others. Many, many of us never realize our uniqueness--that gift we alone were created to share.
Most artists come around, eventually, to being GREATfulL and often frustrated, by whatever's bent us in just the right way. We accept that we're driven to show unique visions to others. We're not sure of the reason. We don't really want to know why. Just 'tis.
We're blessed by these funhouse mirrors we call eyes. They distract and mesmerize as we walk through every day, reveling in (and enduring) flashes of inspiration. The poetry of the moment is our lot. The discovery of silent, secret things crying to be unveiled.
If this is you, you're an artist.
And if you're an artist and a photographer like me, your images ARE you. Fill them with all of you.
Great things await the world, because of how and why and what you see. That's your gift.
Your responsibility, your "credit," lies in your passion and drive for sharing the healing and inspiration and wonder that will be set loose as you create.
No limits. No excuses.
You owe your poetry that chance.
As you can see, even in this "city" shoot I was looking outward, searching beyond the steel and cement and marble of my surroundings
My muse likes to be outside.
Wherever I am, my creativity refuses to focus on what it's told, and I've learned to embrace and be grateful that. To roll with it. Resistance is futile.
The voice knows only to see, and to demand that I record the result. It refuses to stop, even when I sleep (or try to), or when I break from my written stories to "simply" experience the world visually.
New, different, the same visions came to me as I took up the path of a photographer. Yes, I search for them now. But more often than not, I'm transported by waking dreams I've had no part in conjuring.
This visual poetry is the same as my "written" storytelling, I've learned. For me, creating is about the sharing of experience, emotion, longing, whimsy, beauty and far deeper things bubbling up from within.
What are your dreams?
What is your artist's journey?
What will your stories be?
And how will you share them, so the world be greater and fuller and more blessed for your determination to honor the visual gift (and curse) you've been blessed with?