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[photography] is my heart song

“I have never had a relationship with anyone or anything that has been more continuously inspiring as photography. The history of, the process of, the purpose of, the challenges of, the simplicity of, the complexity of, the changing of photography constantly grounds me and takes me on new adventures in my heart, in my home, in my town and in my world.

I have been connected in some way to photography as far back as I can remember. 8 years old, 16 years old, 21 years old, 32 years old and now at 43 years old, my relationship with this craft, art, science, process, form of communication has evolved over my entire lifetime. Every time I thought I could not extract one more ounce out of it to make my heart flutter, I dug a little deeper to find myself newly inspired to a level even deeper than before.

In college it was still just a crush. I was enamored by the history of photography and the alternative process of light painting on film, paper and fabric. I made gum bichromate prints, cyanotypes, platinum prints and pinhole cameras. Once I graduated BFA and broke out into the ‘real’ world I was taunted and lured into commercial photography where I spent many excitingly unglamorous years being a part of how images are created ‘behind the scenes.’ Even in this era of love for photography I was passionate but it seems such a shallow and flat intonation compared to my love for it today. Today my photography takes me home-to myself. It is a place where my past life (I have always been the ‘photographer’) and my present life (as a mom) meld into one. I am finally allowing my photographic vision to just be, flow and meander where it wants to and I use it to express my increasing love for the social institution of family.

I am just starting to realize that my new emerging vision can express the beauty of ordinary people like my own family rather than trying to make them look like something they are not which has been the industry standard until recently. It’s the first time in all my years of studying and doing photography that I’ve been truly comfortable and relaxed photographing people. I am in love with the process of being a part of and creating images of people’s lives.

Only until recently did I begin to pursue photography as a profession again. Distracted by a growing relationship with my husband and now with my kids, I let photography take a back seat for many years. Once I opened my eyes to the portrait photography industry a couple of years ago, I began to see a change in the way photographers relate to one another and a more organic expression of the medium.

I have always been intrigued by the movements of Pictorialism and the Photo-Secession and the way those photographers and artists banded together to create a new era of photography. I think it would be amazing to be a part of a “Band of Brothers” so to speak. I did experience this type of bond in college with friends in the CSULB Photography Department and then again with a few photographers in the commercial photography studio I was a part of in the 1990s. However, my own life’s desires, adventures and wanderings have taken me on a solo path since then and I now miss that affinity.

I’m ready to break out of my shell and be an integral part of something bigger than myself. I want to meet others who share the same passion and are swayed by the same heart song. It’s time for my heart to open up to more than what’s in front of me. I can’t do it alone. I have tried for many years to go solo and be my own inspiration only to discover that collaboration and collision with others pursuing their own creative vision (including my husband) can be rewarding and inspiring for everyone involved.

I want to surrender to the recalcitrant in photography-both the medium and the business of it-and let it shape the way I intertwine my life with the world.”

I wrote this to apply for a scholarship to the Wallflower Friends Photographer’s Retreat. A 2 and a half day workshop given by Deb Schwedhelm and Leah Zawadzki-two phenomenal photographers who are giving back their time to help others reach deeper inside and realize their dreams. I didn’t get a scholarship and am now deciding on whether the cost will fit into my business plan. I communicated via email with three of their past attendees to get a different perspective on the retreat. All three of them took time away from their busy schedules (as moms and as photographers!) to let me know what they gleaned from the experience. All of them said it changed the way the do business and see their work as a photographer.

This is definitely what I need-at some point. For the time being I am going to concentrate on fine tuning my business plan and connecting with other professionals. I am also excited to concentrate on being 110% vested in what my clients want and offering the most amazing photography portrait sessions and keepsakes possible. If September rolls around and I am ready and there is still a space for me, I will go.

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