Photo-Heart Connection: September

 
The world does not exist, beyond the edge of the frame.

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There is only this place. This time. These lines, of my choosing.

Why does there need to be anything else? Throw your worries away. Shrug off the burdens that are carried on your shoulders. Within this frame, they don’t exist.

There is only this place. This time. These lines, of my choosing.


With this month’s Photo-Heart Connection, I’ve realized that one of the personal themes I’ve been exploring the last couple of months is my role as a photographer. How I, as a photographer, can see and shape the world around me. How I have a choice. It started with exploring the role of the photographer in the creation of a photograph, then moved on to my discoveries about myself as a photographer, then through my personal journey as an artist, and now today’s Photo-Heart Connection. All have been leading to me to this place of deeper understanding about myself as a photographer and an artist: Everything is of my choosing, from picking up the camera in the first place to presenting it here. It is incredibly powerful to realize the control being a photographer grants me! When there are things outside my control, I still have this ability to gather up pieces of the world, completely of my choosing.

What does your Photo-Heart Connection have to tell you this month? Share it with us here.

Photo-Heart Connection: August

Bold. Strong. Dynamic.

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There is an energy to this image that gives me a “zing” every time I look at it. I created it this way. From the choice of the rainbow colors, to the multiple exposure/zoom effect. It was all chosen. And it needed to be this way… I had a softer, dreamier version of the same tree in progress but this one stood proudly and said, “Who are you kidding? You know I’m it.”

So why does it make me uncomfortable? Because it does make me uncomfortable, in some weird way. I shared on social media but never shared it here on the blog. I did a test print and took it down from my wall after a week because I didn’t want to look at it any more.

It makes me uncomfortable because it is bold. There is an in-your-face nature to this one. You have to make a choice. Do you like it or not? It doesn’t allow you to sit back and scroll by, saying, “That’s nice, ho hum.” You have a reaction, good or bad. That’s what makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to make you, the viewer, uncomfortable.

And if I’m uncomfortable with that, if I’m uncomfortable with asking the viewer, myself included, to make a choice, what does that say about me as an artist? Am I playing it too safe? Am I making pretty pictures when I could make bold, dynamic ones? Ones that jump out and ask for a reaction?

Maybe, just maybe. Something I’m going to have to think about a good long while. I’m going to have to be sure I’m not pulling away from the uncomfortable, just to be safe. I need to make sure I’m not avoiding confrontation or conflict, even within myself.

The best art asks the viewer to make a choice. And that’s what I want to create.


August was an interesting month. I didn’t take as many pictures as in July, but it was so much better in terms of creativity. That feeling of productivity and creativity probably came because I was pointing my camera at and editing subjects I liked better, rather than mostly family vacation. But maybe also because I was pushing myself in some new directions, like with this month’s Photo-Heart Connection. I really can’t believe this one came out the strongest, after writing it off as a failed experiment earlier in the month. But my heart knew better, it had a message for me. A strong one too, that I’m going to have to consider.

What’s your Photo-Heart Connection? Was it hard or easy to hear this month? Was it a gentle reminder or a bold sharp poke like mine? There is always something for you to learn in the process. I look forward to reading what it was for you.


A few reminders...

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Photo-Heart Connection: July

Good morning, Sunshine. It’s nice to see you.

Most of the year, I’m up before the sun. Don’t hate me, but I’m a morning person. I don’t even set an alarm anymore, I let my body tell me when it’s time to get up.

I love my mornings, when all is silent in the house. I journal or read or create in the quiet. While the world slowly lightens outside, I sit in my comfy chair and am in my own world. To be honest, I rarely notice the light coming on, or see the sun come up. I’m too busy in my internal world.

Until now.

Now I am still up early, but instead of reading and journaling, I am going out first, to hike. Just as I love the quiet of the early morning house, I love the silence of the early morning forest. I love being the first car to the trailhead, knowing the paths are my own. Just me and my dog and my iPhone, exploring the world. I knew I would enjoy the solitude. I knew I would enjoy the movement of my body. I knew I would enjoy the time in nature.

What I didn’t know I would enjoy so much: Greeting the sun.

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It’s not just being in the sunshine, although that is wonderful after Oregon’s long, grey winters. It’s not just about the golden hour light, which is a photographer’s dream. It’s that I love to be there when the sun first touches the land. There is something special about being in that place and that time and seeing the long rays of light waking up the earth for the day. Me and the sun and the earth, together for the first touch of light. There is a beauty and a peace and a reverence in it I can’t quite explain. As if I’m part of something special, an ancient ritual that is repeated every day.

The sun and the earth don’t care if I am there, they will greet each other just the same. But when I am there to witness it, to capture it… I get to acknowledge and honor it. I say, Thank you, Sunshine, for bringing warmth and light to my day. I say, Thank you, Earth, for carrying me along the way. It reminds me that I am a small part of something much, much bigger.

I need that reminder. It’s all too easy for me to get wrapped up in my own internal world, living inside my mind. So while I miss my journaling and reading and creating time, I relish in what being outside to greet the sun brings me.

Each and every day.


July was not a prolific month for my photography. As I was mourning the loss of the month earlier this week, in the back of my head I was worriedly thinking, Will I be able to find a Photo-Heart Connection this month?? I had to dig deeper than ever before, but it was there. Finding the photo that made my heart sing, and writing the words that came along with it, makes me see that July is not a lost month. Getting out — being on vacation, gathering with family, going on hikes — and living was the important part of July. I need to exist and experience in the external world in order to fuel the creativity of my internal world. It all works together.

What is your Photo-Heart Connection this month? Did you have to dig deep or was it right there, waiting for you? Either way, the messages our heart has for us are important. I hope you’ll take the time to listen and join in.


Photo-Heart Connection: June

A continuum. That’s what time is, color is, life is – a continuum from one end to the other. If you can even tell the end, that is. It’s often hard to tell where the start and end of something really is. Defining “the start” can be the source of great debates. Does life start at conception or birth? Do you start counting from zero or one?

All I can do is choose is the best place to begin the story I am trying to tell.

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When did I become the artist I am today? Do I start the story in childhood, with my fingerpaints? With my love of painting watercolors and Georgia O’Keefe in high school? Or do I start with the desire to capture moments on film, or the shift to an iPhone and abstraction? Where do I start?

Realizing all of life is a continuum – moving from one thing to the next to the next, sometimes in big steps and other times in tiny shuffles – means I’m not required to “start” anywhere. I can pick the story up anywhere I want. I can go backwards and forwards and skip around if I choose to. Someday at “the end” (however the end is defined), someone can put the continuum in order and figure it all out. Until then, I don’t have to worry about it.

So let’s pick up the story where I am right now… It is one of color, of shape, of mixed up, as-yet-undefined media. It is a story of someone who is experimenting and discovering what works and what doesn’t, both in life and in art. It is the story of me, in pictures and words.

The story changes daily… even I don’t know what happens next. Stay tuned for the next episode. I will be.


Wow… I didn’t expect that to come out when I sat down to write about the image I found as this month’s Photo-Heart Connection. :) I guess it comes out of the continuum of color in this piece – where does the yellow end and the green begin? Which parallel the recent thoughts about my art – where does the photograph end and the painting (or whatever you call this art form) begin? Where does representation end and abstraction begin? Thinking about it can make my head hurt. But the idea that I don’t have to pick a start or an end to anything is liberating to me. No need to worry about being “one” or “the other.” It’s all a continuum and I can move back and forth as I please. That’s really nice. I’m going to keep that idea with me.

How about you? What is your Photo-Heart Connection this month? Review your June images and see what comes up as the strongest connection for you, write about it, then share with us here. The link up is open July 1 through 7.


Photo-Heart Connection: May

 
Shelter. That’s what I see here.

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In the chilly spring mist and rain, there is shelter here. The branches reach down to encircle and protect what’s below. The soft grass cushions the ground. The magical light filters through, bathing the scene in an otherworldly glow. I can stay here and be protected.

Hello, trees, I whisper, I’ve missed you. For me, you are hard to see when you put on your leaves. But this reminds me that your strength is still there beneath the summer finery.

And in addition to strength, you now offer shelter. Perhaps I need to sit beneath you for a while, and take what you offer.


The coming of the leaves has left me without one of my favorite subjects… bare trees. Oh, I haven’t missed them terribly. I love the sunny weather and the new growth of spring, so I’ve found many new things to photograph. Just not the trees, not quite as much. So it was kind of a surprise that a hike in inclement weather turned my eye back to the trees, revealing this month’s heart connection. It is kind of a surprise to realize that shelter is exactly what I need right now, as I try to remain in the space between. Shelter from my own self, if I’m truly honest, as my Photo-Heart Connection practice enables me to be.

How about you? What’s your Photo-Heart Connection this month? Share it with us, and then visit your neighbors in the link up. The connection to each other is as important as the connection to the heart.


Photo-Heart Connection: April

Looking through.

That’s the feeling I get from this image: Looking through.

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I’m looking through a small, frosted window. It’s dirty, maybe in a warehouse or shop.

(But it’s still beautiful.)

I can’t see the whole of anything, all I see are pieces and parts.

(But it’s still beautiful.)

I can’t see the details. They are only impressions left on the glass.

(But it’s still beautiful.)

We can’t always see things perfectly. Sometimes we can only see what’s right in front of us: Part of something, through a dirty window. That can be enough.

Enough to call it beautiful.


I am a person who is always looking for the big picture in my life. I want to know how everything fits in with a greater plan. I want to see and understand the connections. My Photo-Heart Connection this month reminds me that’s not always possible. It reminds me that even when I can’t see the whole plan, I can still enjoy the part I can see — what’s right in front of me. There is beauty in the parts without seeing the whole. It’s funny… I processed this image to look this way. It started as a silhouette of bamboo against the sky, but it became a window. A window to my heart, with a message I needed to hear.

What is your Photo-Heart Connection this month? What message does your heart have for you? Review your April images, and share with us here.