Today I shot the beginnings of my first ever personal photography project. It was thrilling, challenging, and exhausting. I came home completely satisfied and pooped.
I saw two people who I think are quite awesome. And I got a peak into their souls. They were generous enough to share. I am so grateful.
And now I wait for my two rolls of 120mm Kodak Portra 160 film to be processed.
It was an odd feeling coming home after a photo shoot and not instantly downloading the images, editing, and posting them on Facebook. Yet I found something strangely satisfying about knowing I did my best, and now I wait for the outcome. Swan printers have mercy on my film! It feels like shooting with film focuses more on the process than the product, which is amazingly fitting given that I'm looking at this project as an analytical reflection on the manifestation of God in our souls through our faces.
May I be granted eyes to see...when the time comes and the film is returned processed.
Lately I've come to a few new realizations about myself. One of the more recent is regarding how I've treated my inner artist: I have neglected her, subdued her, forced her to create out of her head and not her heart, and all around manhandled her.
Previously I thought working as a photographer solidified my identity as an artist (or, more honestly, I hoped it would). I was creating beautiful memories for people on some of the most important days of their life. Somewhere along the way, however, I realized I had stopped creating art, and was creating beautiful pictures that were detached from my soul.
I'm coming to understand how healing art is, and what role it's played in my own healing. I beginning to give it the respect it deserves. As I do this, and as I step away from "force-creating" to "following the creativity" it's flourishing right before my eyes. I'm painting, and video-ing, and sewing. And as I stop banging my head against a wall to create something I "have" to create for others, I'm allowing my soul to reattach to my creativity and the work is beginning to pour out. And I have a strong hunch the results will benefit others more profoundly in the long run.
Saturday I'm taking one of my first significant steps towards honoring my inner artist. I'm beginning a photo project I'm loosely titling, "The Face of the Human Spirit." I'm going to be using my Hasselblad camera (the first camera I ever bought with my own money), Kodak Portra 160 120mm film, and shooting in-studio portraits of people in the hope of exploring the human spirit.
I feel like the main word here for me is: respect. Am I willing to respect this part of me? I'm beginning to. And I hope to continue a little more at each step.
So I wonder... what parts of yourself do you find difficult to respect? How do you disrespect that part of you? What's one thing you can do today to begin to change that thought pattern? I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments.
In our families we try on and try out various roles with different levels of enjoyment and fulfillment. In my family I often played the role of caretaker and problem solver. Although these roles in themselves are good to practice and learn from, in my circumstance, I played them too frequently and as a defense mechanism against my internal stress.
Now I find when I get stressed I gravitate back to my familiar roles and follow the "rules" in order to calm my stress or anxiety--for me this usually means abandoning the path I'm currently on (working happily and successfully as a freelancer) to looking for a "real" job (a.k.a. 40+ hours in an office). Please understand, I'm not knocking the skilled and hard working individuals who work full-time hours in office environments--I applaud them and at times envy the steadiness of their line of work--I have just learned it is not healthy for me.
It's become quite an interesting litmus test for me. I know I'm stressed when I'm searching SimplyHired.com or filling out applications. It causes me (now, thankfully!) to pause and ask what I'm really doing...am I really looking for a position I'm excited to fill, that would benefit from my presence? Or am I looking for security to calm my perceived ideas of success (when did I check healthy lifestyle off my list of success indicators?)?
Another decision filter I'm coming to use often was suggested by Donald Miller in his conference/book Storyline. He believes humans are designed to fill about 3-5 roles in their life. As I worked through the chapter on roles in the book I came to see that in addition to being a the beloved of Jesus, a wife, and a friend, I had only 2 more slots I could fill. After a lot of thought and prayer I realized my 2 remaining roles are: artist and teacher. Kind of wonderfully funny that after realizing that my photography teaching has taken off significantly.
So, I'm curious, what do you do to calm your anxiety or stress?
What decision filters do you have in place to keep your life healthy and balanced?
If none, where are the places in your life a decision filter would be most helpful right now?