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"ONE LOOK IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS." —Fred R. Bernard
WORDS ARE SO NECESSARY FOR ME TO PROCESS MY OWN EXPRESSION—HOLDING SPACE FOR THOSE THINGS THAT ARE USUALLY LEFT UNSAID AND HIDDEN. BUT, IN MY OWN USING, I SOMETIMES CHOKE MY PHOTOGRAPHS WITH THOSE VERY WORDS AND KILL THE STRENGTH THAT MY PHOTOS ALREADY HAVE IN AND OF THEMSELVES. I DON'T GIVE THEM THE SPACE TO BE HEARD.
I’ve spent years using words with my photographs to help me process those parts of me that I don't always understand. They've helped me clarify what has been so hard to do so through the changing years of sobriety—longing to be whole. While this has been a necessary part of my growth as a visual storyteller, words have also become and sometimes still are, a crutch. While it’s been a nurturing process to help my photography grow, words have also been a blanket that I’ve hidden my work behind—afraid to allow the visual expression the room to speak and risk being heard, risk being interpreted or misinterpreted. Allowing my photography to stand alone can feel vulnerable. As though I were opening myself and my photography up to judgment, measurement and a perception that may not be intended—relinquishing control of how the images are seen and perceived can be scary. Through practice, I've learned that there is a quiet strength in allowing the images to be heard.
In the beginning my photographs helped support those parts of me that needed to grow and to quiet those demons that strove to negate who I was as a photographer, artist and person. Photography, along with words, gave me my voice and strength to hold fast to those things that make me whole.
My father once told me that the most quite person in the room is the strongest, most clear in voice. I believe this to be true with people and I believe it to be true in our photographs, but I don’t always allow my work to have that quiet voice he spoke of, that clear reflection of clarity and confidence we all wish our work to hold and exude.
Our work deserves to stand alone, to be seen and heard in the strength that it already owns.
Still these days, I worry about how my work might be perceived. Will I trust those who see it to hear it? Can I let my work stand up, be seen and be heard by another’s interruption and not feel the need to lean on an explanation or justification for what I hope my work to say. Most importantly, I'm asking the same of us all, can we look at our own work and not judge, accept what it is saying to us visually. Can we trust ourselves to speak though our photos and lean in to listen to what they tell us? Can we risk having that conversation. It’s only when we can trust that our work has it's own voice that we can then have the longed for conversation between photographer and our images. That relational dynamic allows our work to grow. To trust that our photographs reflect what we’ve felt and seen, expressing even more than any words we could say or write, letting our photographs be truly heard.
Heard :: Listening to Our Photographs, is a 10-day eCourse guiding you to create stronger photographs that will be heard.
I will walk you through the steps with daily prompts and tools, encouraging you to trust that the photos you make will express those deepest parts of you. We’ll come together in a private Facebook group and on Instagram, sharing through the hashtag #heardphotography—which will give us a togetherness and support. I’ll be there as well to provide supportive feedback—I’m in it with you.