Finding my voice in photography has been a journey.
I just returned from an incredible week in Banff. I spent most hours of the day shoulder to shoulder with talented photographers exploring so many epic locations. We photographed dynamic subjects who were brave and faced bitterly cold sunrises, water, snow, and relentless wind. I have to be honest. It was difficult for me.
I am not a landscape photographer, nor do I wish to be. But at first, it seemed unfair that I was unable to capture just how majestic this incredible area of the world is. I struggled to find my vision, to create a space within my frame that conveys everything I felt when I stood there, bundled up in all of my layers, sleepless, overwhelmed, and in awe.
I didn’t edit my images the entire time we were away. While others in my group were sharing other amazing images that they were proud of, I felt no pride. I dreaded going through my own files and and not feeling anything for the photographs.
As with all things, time helps. I am just glancing through sideways eyes this morning after a full nights rest. And I finally feel like I found something that contains a part of who I am.
I’ve come to the point in my journey where I no longer feel the need to apologize for my voice. I feel confident in my vision. And it warms me to the core to feel, through the muddled pain of growth and discovery, that my voice is unique. That in a sea of epic images curated by my peers that are exceptional in their own right, that mine also have a place. That is a warm feeling. And mostly, it is raw. And real. And I’m ok with that.
I have found my voice. And I’m comfortable with that voice. And it doesn’t mean that I am less talented or less experienced or immature in my journey in the larger scope of things. It just means that I am ME. And that feels good.
At the risk of writing a novel…
When you see my photographs, they are a part of me.
When you see a black and white of a nude bent over in agony, ribs exposed and arms stretched out to the universe, that is me on the inside. I ask my subject to create that image with me to reflect how I feel.
When you see a subject sitting by the sea, exposed to the elements, growing her new legs and learning to lean into the wind, that is me on the inside. I ask my subject to create that image with me to reflect how I feel.
When you see a subject spinning and whirling in the rich sunlight, alive, and whole, and vigorous and full of hope, that is me on the inside. I ask my subject to create that image with me to reflect how I feel.
My mantra to all of my subjects? YOU. ARE. ENOUGH. And it’s a mantra that I find I repeat to myself on a daily basis.
Sharing images with you, you are seeing a part of me. And having others see on the outside that which is so deeply a part of who I am on the inside is risky.
To my friends who joined me in our journey this week and over the past few years of finding my voice, thank you. It means more than you’ll ever know, and I’m so grateful for the experience.