Art Saves

May 4, 2012

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.


5 thoughts on “Art Saves

  1. Cherish

    Oh Tracey I can so relate to this. I didn't "find" photography in a deep way until my early thirties. Since then I have used it to navigate through births, deaths and all the "little" stuff in between. It's been such a incredible source of therapy for me. Art Saves.

  2. sarah s. - redlinedesign

    Tracey: Art Does Save doesn't it…I have two stories I want to share with you and will send them along separately as they are too long for this post….(one is podcast that I need to record)….I understand and relate so well to all you are saying….beautiful words from such a beautiful woman….

    thank you….Sarah

  3. Marsaille

    Our local art museum was free when I was in high school. It was a sanctuary. Quite often, when I really needed it, I would go sit for hours sketching. I saw the world through others eyes and hands. I would dig through books at the library. Things that inspired me helped me through the horrid high school years. Like Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth. I read once that she was paralyzed or unable to walk, and would drag herself around for "walks" and farmwork. The absolute unwillingness to give in, to shape your world and appreciate it no matter what the circumstances, helped me forge ahead and make very tough decisions.

  4. Pingback: 25 Things You May or May Not Know About Me | Tracey Clark

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