We were created by God to be CREATive. It is how He made us. Art can take so many different forms and no box is for everyone but we were all designed to create. Period.
The only art form I did until my 40s was scrapbook….but that was less about being creative and more about getting pictures in a book for my children to enjoy later. It just happened to involve stickers and paper. I could get a book done in the time it took everyone else to do a page because I have always been a get-it-done type of gal. Still am.
10 years ago we started to travel to Haiti and we needed someone to take pictures each trip. Since I was the only one going every time I came to the conclusion that it was going to need to be me. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea but it did spark an interest in me- as long as no one called me a photographer. That pretty much sent me over the edge.
So I got a camera and basic lenses and started to shoot pictures of people in Haiti. Close ups of people we knew and I began to have a vision. Photographs tell stories. Someone’s posture, wrinkles, clothing express who they are. But the most important aspect of a photograph is someone’s eyes. Eyes show the soul. And I felt that through the lens I could see a story in the person’s eyes and from then on I was a picture-taker…..still not a photographer.
4 years ago my photography was going to be hung in a local coffee shop which sounded like a good idea in theory. However, deep down I was in an emotional crisis. I remember friends stopping by to drop off something and I was sitting there sobbing and weeping in the driveway. I had made up my mind that I could not hang my pictures for the world to see. It was too scary and “photographers” would rip them to shreds with their cutting words and I would be labeled the worst picture taker ever and this just wasn’t going to work. Well, the people closest to me spoke encouragement and love to me and I hesitantly agreed to go through with it.
Fast forward to 3 years ago and I was asked to be the feature artist for an event for a non profit. I was going to do portraits that told stories. I was all about that until I realized I needed frames and I didn’t know how to do the simplest paint job. As that project progressed and it was time to stand up in front of the audience and share my story I said for the first time I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER. I actually felt very freeing to say it. And I slowly began to own it. Very slowly. I still have not completed a class, learned all about the f-stops and ISOs, or mastered lighting but I can take pictures. And that is enough for me.
Today, if I look out into a crowd of people, I immediately pick the person whose picture I would like to take. It’s not the one with the perfect features or the impeccable style. It is the one who has soul in her eyes. The one who has no awareness of her strength and her beauty. The one who would hate the camera at first but would find a piece of herself by seeing authentic, natural pictures taken of her as we talked about her worth and value and she is not defined by the size of her waist or the smoothness of her skin. I don’t believe in photoshopping people’s features. People’s imperfections make them who they are and make them beautifully unique. Nothing about that needs to be changed. Ever.
As I sit here today, some of my best friends are incredible artists. Humble, encouraging, loving, giving artists. Artists who paint. Artists who stage homes. Artists who create jewelry and wood pieces. Artists who sing. Artists who cook. Or write. Or put together outfits. Or ink people’s skin. Artists who find treasure and sell it. Artists who fit none of these categories but realize their potential to create and do it.
If you say to people ,”I am not creative,” please reach out to me and I will personally walk with you through this journey to find YOU and your creative strengths. They are there. You just haven’t found them yet. If you have found your inner artist, carry on and I hope we talk someday about the beauty of creating.