Where I Am... Literally.
Having edited way too many pictures in the last three days to even bother counting at this point in the adventure... I've come to think of this desk as my semi-permanent home within my home. While my editor chews away on web-sizing images to send out to models and clients- I tidy things up a might. Move this, move that, stop and look at all the little trinkets and pieces of myself in material form. My mind is in a weird place. Here I sit at my laptop having just finished editing images from my Ontario trip, badly missing (almost homesick) for a home that's never been mine or ever will be mine to call home. It's this odd emotional disconnect. It left a mark on my soul, the images I took keep bringing me back- as they all do.
It left me thinking about the hundreds of thousand of pictures I've taken over the last what... 20 years? Before I considered myself a photographer by any means- back when I was a girl with a camera snapping memories to go back to later. I've come a really long way. I've saved so many people, places, things all with my camera. My first digital camera didn't even have a display on the back. Now I look at my camera bag and see three high end cameras I call my babies. In my teens and early 20's- I took pictures to remember people and places just because. Now- here I sit a professional photographer preparing for the possibility of moving up to add instructor to my list of titles with fellow photographers that I admire more then words can describe praising my work and talent.
But to rewind a bit and focus on memories captured in digital...
I've photographed lightning. Never did I ever think I would be able to do that. It's a crap shoot unless you know what you're doing and have patience (which is amazing because neither is a skill I have achieved). But I've done it. It makes me giggle and cry every time I manage to capture lightning in my camera shaped bottle. I found this card at a bookstore in Grand Haven when I was in high school and I have carried it with me everywhere I have been. I always tack it, tape it, pin it to the wall near my desk. It was in my room in high school, my apartment in North Carolina, my apartment in Spring Lake, and now it's been on my inspiration wall here at home since 2005. Whenever I capture lighting in an image- it's how I feel.
I have photographed fire... Both results of crazy ideas and people I adore helping me create something out of nothing. Both- I consider great achievements.
I've photographed nature's wonder... Macro- full frame... I've shot a lot of mother nature and her ability to make you feel huge and small all at the same time.
I've photographed memories of past glory & current ruin... The Munson Hospital (aka Traverse City Asylum- top image) is the most haunted place I have ever photographed. Chills to the core, voices of people not there, cold spots... The place is devastatingly creepy, and I love it.
Places of the past and former glory of the golden era. The Brush Park ruins in Detroit, MI. God- I want to go back and photograph whats left. The decay, the shambles of what was once beautiful...
I have photographed pieces of my mental trauma and scars... On the 10 year anniversary of 9-11, Hubby had me work a stand bye for four full days at the "Healing Fields". It was a very raw experience and very cathartic. It helped me heal to an extent.
The loss of my family home... On a frigid night a couple years ago- another part my being was shattered as I stepped outside into the snow to see the place I was raised being destroyed... My first instinct was to photograph it. As much as it hurt to do it. I wanted to remember it by image rather then the emotionally distorted flashes of that night embedded in my memory.
I've photographed places that have left marks on my soul in the best way possible. Places I have called home or have longings to return to...
The Upper Pennisula, MI- a trip to escape reality and see the splendor of my own home state from the eyes of my tour guide husband who grew up seeing these sights. Roaring waterfalls, the chilled pine scented air, facing my fear of heights to get great images, seeing the full Milky Way without light pollution...
North Carolina- The first place I moved away from home to. I ran away to this place to change from angst filled teenager to adult and found a part of myself that I had no idea existed. A part of me that breathes in the salty 4am air to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic ocean, that loves sweet tea, knows the sound of a dolphin calling out, and loves the color of the sky when a hurricane rolls in.
Ontario, CA- The most recent addition to the places that call to me on a level that I can't even explain to myself much less an audience. I think it a huge combination of factors... Part of me ran away across the border to spend time with an amazing friend. Then there's that deeper soul part of me that left stress and anxiety behind me at the border and finally got to breathe again. It definitely left a mark- the good kind.
Sometimes I think I'm too young to be this nostalgic... too naive to have my mind runaway on me down memory lane, getting lost on all the detours. But I've lived this huge life in 37 years. A life filled with happiness, amazing places, more amazing people, trauma (both physical and mental) that have left scars on my body and my soul, and there's so much more to look forward to.
The truly amazing part of all this... I have a collection of amazing people I get to take on this ride with me. And there's so many more people I'm sure I will meet along the way that will shape what future me will do. Will it all be rainbows, glitter, and unicorns? Hell no! Will there be more hurt and self discovery? Most definitely- it wouldn't be called life if there wasn't.
But one thing is for sure... I'm going to photograph it.