I recently experienced the joy of reading to my nephew a story I have written. The story itself was scribbled into a small notebook I made & contained no pictures. I was amazed at the thrill I felt reading to him. He listened intently & engaged with me as I read. When I was finished he said he liked it. His mum asked him questions about the story, which he answered correctly. Which means of course that he was listening.
My dream is to one day be able to read this story to him, in published book form. Actually my dream is to be able to read him multiple stories that I have written. And to learn that there are children having my stories read to them too. I am in the early stages of polishing this manuscript & submitting it to publishers. I know that being a published children’s book author is a long shot but I’m going to attempt it. I cannot know if I will be successful in becoming published, but I’ll never know if I don’t try.
For the past couple of months I have been making art every morning as I eat breakfast. I began simply because breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. When I’m travelling I always take the time to relax & eat a yummy breakfast whilst either sketching, people watching or both. I decided to implement this practice at home so I could always take the time to enjoy my first meal of the day. And to linger over a cup of coffee too 🙂
I’ve deliberately left the door wide open in terms of what art I will make. Often I’ll wake up with no idea what to create but whilst I’m walking the dogs (which is done pre-breakfast) an idea usually will form. If it doesn’t then I’m not above creating random colourful shapes on the page.
Initially I was making art that meant nothing to me; I realise now however that it has come to mean a lot. It’s helping ease my anxiety around being a creative person. I’m more accepting that that is the sort of person I am. We can’t all be mathematicians or neurosurgeons or other high functioning sorts. It’s ok that I’m creative.
Someone please remind me of this statement when I’m an anxious mess because I’m offering nothing to the world because all I can do is create 😉
This weekend past saw me in Melbourne holidaying with a newer friend. When packing I decided not to pack my camera. My thought process being that I wanted to focus on relaxing, instead of feeling like I “had” to use my camera. Of course as we pounded the pavement of Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday the urge to capture the scenes that caught my eye was strong. I took out my iPhone with the intent of using it as my camera.
Weirdly enough I found myself stuck. I couldn’t use it. I felt ridiculous, wanting to use my iPhone in lieu of the camera I didn’t have. So I put it away. I replayed this in my mind that evening as I was trying to fall asleep. Without a camera in hand I felt exposed. Yet I have read probably hundreds of articles over the years about photographers who exclusively use their camera phones. Surely if they can then I can too? Everywhere we went people were using their phones for one thing or another.
So on Sunday I vowed to try again. This time it felt a little easier, I guess because I’d talked myself into letting go of the unease. I took photos that I’m happy with. Which is really all I want from my photography. I want to makes images I’m happy with, that I can hang on my walls to admire. Preferably with my camera as it seems I’m more comfortable using it as a device to capture things than I am with my iPhone.
For a long time I have found myself captivated when I see brides walking from one location to another in order for their wedding photos to be made. It is the beauty of their dress that catches my attention but that isn’t what keeps it.
I am really taken by what is happening around her. There is usually one or two photographers who direct her, plus the obligatory groom (who I’m rarely interested in) and sometimes the entire bridal party.
In the above case there was also a woman who worked as an assistant to the bride. The voluminous skirts and train were being carried by her when I first saw them. She proceeded to place everything as directed by the photographer, as the bride moved to sit down. I found myself watching her work more than I watched the actual bride. I wondered if she receives the acknowledgment she deserves. Is she paid well? Is she thanked for helping make everything run smoothly and appear perfect?
Perhaps one day I’ll find out the answers to these questions. It wouldn’t be appropriate to enquire whilst an assistant is actually working, so hopefully I’ll come across the answers in another way.
I came across Pebbles when I was wandering around Melbourne looking for things to photograph. She could barely contain her excitement when I crouched down to photograph her. As a one & a half year old Staffy cross, it’s little wonder! Moments after taking this photo she escaped her owners grasp & did her best to clean my face, as apparently it was in need of a tidy 🙂
I have been thinking about photographing dogs. Thinking about different ways to show them in print. Would portraits be best? Or photos of them interacting with their owners, or candid photos of them in their surroundings? I’m not sure yet of which way I’d like take this project although I know it will require lots of trial & error.
A week ago I had the opportunity to try street photography. I enjoyed walking with my camera, talking with a friend & trying to capture what was seeing.
It comes as no surprise to me that I found myself wanting to take photos of dogs in the streets. I love that they get to go out & about with their owners. To me it says a lot about how important dogs are to people. Although if I come across someone walking a cat, rabbit, guinea pig or any other animal & I have my camera in hand then I won’t be able to resist taking a photo of that either! Our relationship with our pets is important. And I certainly won’t judge you if your pet isn’t a dog 🙂
For several months I have been taking photos of my friends during some of our pole fit classes. Initially I began taking photos after badly injuring myself as a way of staying in touch with what was going on at the studio. It quickly became the highlight of my week. I began to realise that I enjoyed taking photos of the everyday going’s on during classes. There are so many ordinary yet beautiful moments taking place. A smile to a friend, shared laughter at a mistake made or celebrating the feeling of ‘getting’ a new & tricky move. All these things & more occur all the time. They may at the time be small moments but as I go through the images I’ve made I realise that collectively they form a bigger narrative. One that shows the beauty in the ordinary moments as women get together to gain strength & fitness through the use of a pole, a Lyra hoop or aerial silks. They also form an unbreakable bond through friendship.
I spent some time trying to discover the best way to visualise my experience of living with anxiety. After looking at different styles of photography and painting I settled on double exposure photography.
Being completely new to the genre I decided to dip my toe in the water through the use of an app for my iPhone. I quickly realised what worked well for my particular style of image making and began making images that I am happy with. This past week I made my first attempt to create double exposures using my Fujifilm camera. The somewhat dire feeling of the landscape I had set out to photograph suited the feeling I am looking to represent.
Yet I don’t think I’ll ever be able to capture just what it is like to experience a panic attack through a single photograph. There is too much going on in my mind when I am overcome by a panic attack. Racing thoughts that cannot be contained, anger quickly turning into destructive thoughts, sheer panic that cannot be contained. Or even when my mind starts racing towards anxiety, but is able to be reclaimed by the remaining non anxious part of my mind. It takes so much mental willpower to control my mind from becoming panicked I am often spent afterwards.
I think the only way I can really express all of this is through words. Perhaps what is needed is a body of work, images interspersed with words, attempting to show just what it feels like. It’s possible that this project won’t work. It’s possible onlookers – especially those who have never experienced mental illness themselves – will never truely understand what it’s like to live with anxiety. Maybe, just maybe however someone will see my work, who themselves has anxiety, and will feel comforted in knowing that someone else feels like they do. If nothing else that’s all that I can hope for. To help someone in some small way.
I’m trying to grapple with the fact that sometimes life gets in the way. There isn’t time right now for me to do the creative things I want to. So I’m left with making do, either by looking at photos taken in the past, trying to learn what worked in an image & what didn’t. There is also a stack of photos that need editing, which I’m working my way through. And there are photos I can think about making, that perhaps might require a trip somewhere or might benefit from a certain type of light. Then there are the moments when I grab my phone & take a photo of the setting sun. Yes I know the image resolution isn’t as good as it could be. But I think the actual act of making (taking) an image is better than not doing it at all. And it inspires me to keep on going.