Along the Way: Kelly Jacobi Photography

It seems to me that some of the most powerful and significant art is created by those who bare their souls to the viewer. They open that door to their hearts, minds, and souls. Desperation, joy, fear, heartache, anticipation; a gambit of emotions and they let us see it all.

Being that kind of artist does not come naturally to me. In fact it can be downright painful.

Not only am I introverted to the tenth degree, but I have always found myself in the position of an anchor. I am always grounded and steady so that I can be resilient for others.

I have to work really hard at setting time aside to reflect and peel back layers to get to the heart of how I truly feel about things. I have to work really hard not to swallow the words I fear to say out loud. I have to remind myself that my words could be a safe place of comfort for a friend or total stranger alike.

Part of me thought that the simple act of bringing my camera to my eye and taking a photo of a meaningful person or event was honesty in my work. It wasn't until life got really hard and I had to have some real conversations with myself that I realized the art of reflection and transparency.

The short version of a long, hard year was I was not happy. I no longer had a career that defined me. I didn’t know who I was outside of being a wife and mother. My body was not my own any longer; it belonged to all-encompassing Hashimoto’s. I loved my children with my whole heart but there were times that I didn’t always like them. My body just didn’t have the energy to keep up with three boys and a full time class load.  I missed my husband who was over 1,500 miles away in flight school. I struggled with being so proud of him yet felt a sting of resentment that he wasn’t here with us. This was not where I saw my family at this point in my life, this was not who I thought I would become. I didn’t know how to change it or how to simply enjoy it just the same.

After I was honest with myself and allowed myself to say some things that had always made me feel overwhelmingly guilty for even entertaining, I broke free. I began to allow myself to be transparent in my life and art.  These internal conversations turned on a faucet that helped drain all of the negativity and fear from my soul. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to tell people you are hurting and don't have it all together.

The next time I picked up my camera after being honest with myself I asked my son to come to the basement of our barn. In very low and barely there light, I asked him to place his cheek against the wall and reach his hands up like he was trying to climb out. Click. I feel like I am drowning and am desperately trying to climb above this.

If I wanted people to really feel my work I needed to really show them what I was feeling. It was in these moments that I found my voice as an artist; somewhere in the shadows and harsh contrasts.

I wax and wane. I am not always brave with my images; and it's even more of a struggle with my words. But I have a path and I know where I want to go. I am learning how to let go and how to bare my soul even in the face of fear.

Kelly Jacobi

Kelly Jacobi Photography

Mama. Wife. Photographer. Day-dreamer. Coffee-drinker.

Wausau, Wisconsin

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