Very recently I had a revelation about photography. It is the giver. I am the recipient. With my motions and emotions, it has been the interpreter. Looking back through many years of personal growth and personal struggles, I have come to understand that easing this unstoppable current, that is change, has been, not a mind set, not a mentor, but a camera.
I have used it to help me transition from girl to woman, from mother to reckless teen. It has allowed me to be both superficial and sacrificial. With it, I have posed before it and hidden behind it. I have used it to bury my head in the darkroom, when I myself was dark and I have used it to get up front and center when bold. With it, I can avoid life or document life. I can create an energy with light and motion and take it with me.
The first time I became aware that I was using photography as therapeutic means came during a summer spent in my childhood home, when we were losing my grandmother. Throughout the summer, to her end, I photographed her. I remember feeling thankful and even thanking her, for making the pictures with me. While everyone else was losing (her), I was getting her on film and in a weird sense to me, keeping her. Final gift.
I also use self portraiture as a digging tool. I am one woman, yet I have never been the same woman. With self portraiture, I have documented many of my moods and feel I have a real treasure in the ability to revisit each one of them. These images are diaries of light and I felt great purpose in making them.
Yet, I feel I make great personal progress with imagery also. A print of a barren tree barely making its way into the frame comes to mind. I remember that time, when I questioned my contribution to the world and worried that I was living a half life. The print was the hardened truth regarding my self doubt. Once manifested in a tangible form, I began to make changes to improve my work. I went back to school and with professional growth came more confidence.
I look at people, now, who are still searching for a tool that will help them transition and I can't help but wonder if photography can help them through, as it continues to help me. The concept of opening eyes through documentation, role playing, discussion, self portraiture, personal photography and photo application (creating art from their personal photos) is enticing.
I use the word "transition" as I feel we are all sorting through something, whether it be old wounds or new worries, the loss of parents or the growth of children, the uncertainty of expectations, the peer pressure, the fear pressure, self doubt, self righteousness, even self absorption.
Life is a whirlwind of constant change and when it's all over -- what do you usually have left? Your pictures.
If you are interested in speaking to me about therapeutic photography or scheduling time together, please contact me directly at 412-670-2752 or write to email@example.com.
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