To write my book Elevate the Everyday, I had to go back. I had to revisit the archives of my life; of being an artist who found photography as the medium that fit and of being mother who used that medium not only as art, but as a lifeline.
Perhaps no better expression has been coined than Art Saves. Because it can. Because it will. Because it does.
The window to the past is funny. It comes in and out of view, with the curtains of time being blown gently back and forth, keeping the truth of what things really looked like faint and faded. But I don’t need to see it clearly to remember how it felt to be frighteningly out of control and overwhelmed. I still carry it with me. When it comes up (as it does from time to time) I am right back there to that place again. It’s like muscle memory of the body and soul. It’s uncomfortable and scary but I know that it will pass. It did back then, and it will again.
The beauty of looking back is tracing the path of how you made it from there to here; from then to now. For me that road is lined with photographs. Beautiful, poignant, celebratory, photographs that represent all the parts of my life that have mattered most. Ironically enough, the stuff that felt heavy and overwhelming , I was seeing through my lens with a lightness and eloquence. Those images are like poems, recalling the past beautifully, hauntingly, authentically. At the time, I’m not sure I knew how much my photography practice was pulling me out of a fog and shedding so much light. But I see it now. I give credit to my camera, my craft, for giving me vision. When, with the simple click of my shutter I could frame just a small snippet of all the life, activity, chaos, color, stimulus around me into one image and have that highlight something, anything that mattered to me at that moment, it gave me purpose, focus, perspective; all of which were and still are precious gifts.
Since then, a lot has changed (I have grown older as have my children for instance) and yet a lot has stayed the same. I am far from the woman I was 20 years ago but, I still can see the things that matter most, even if some days are harder than others. I seek out and can find beauty in even the most mundane parts of my life and that helps me celebrate it all…through success and struggle. I have never been more aware that art— photography—saved me once and continues to do so every day.
Something tells me, you can relate. I would love to hear how art has saved you.
I’m honored to be a guest curator for a week of inspirational goodness over at Crescendoh, starting Monday, May7th. I would be honored if you popped over to say hello.