Courage to Grow: The art of connection

Connection. Oh, we love that word in photography. We often couple it with the words "emotion" and "love". We  often use it to describe our art or our style.  We hope to capture the feelings we see in the frame and that our images connect with the viewer. But, how do we get?

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Sorry, but I don't have a list of "top five ways to connection". I just don't. But I do know that it starts with you. It starts within yourself and your ability to nurture what is important to you. It is about making time to be present with yourself and celebrating you. All of you. Not just your children, your partner, or your art but what is below that list. 

I reflected on this over the weekend. I went away with my girlfriend. Just her and I without kids or husbands. It has been 13 years since our last weekend away. Yes, we are not the best at getting together, but in our defense we have been birthing and raising children plus living in different countries. It was a much anticipated weekend away. 

And what did we do? Talk…and talk…and talk. We live in different cities and we see each other only once or twice a year. Enjoying a conversation face to face and being present was such a gift. We ate when we were hungry, we slept when we were tired, and  in-between, we talked. And as we hugged each other to say goodbye, promising that it won't be another 13 years, I felt calm. I felt a deep sense of calm and stillness. 

I decided to drive the long way home, via the country roads rather than the highway. I gave myself the freedom to stop when I saw beauty. I wanted to return to my family as soon as possible but I wanted to enjoy the drive. I stopped at fields of corn, and at lookouts on top of the mountain. I stopped at rusty old barns and when it was safe to pull over on the winding country roads. 

I captured the beauty with my camera phone. I had my big girl camera, but I wanted the freedom of a snapshot. I wasn't making art or building my portfolio. I was jumping out of the car, taking a picture of beauty, capturing something that caught my attention, and then driving on. 

In-between pitstops, I listened to the radio. I picked the uncool stations that my children would normally ask me to change. I listened to talkback until they started talking about sport, and then I found music that I loved as a teenager. Music that I knew all of the words to and that I could sing along with. And I did, with the window down and the breeze on my face. I sang loud and out of key. This is how I approached the city with Whitney Houston and I wanting to dance with somebody. My 300km trip was over. 

As I drove into my driveway, I paused for a moment. I took a deep breath and stayed with myself for a second longer. I realized that on my way home, I had connected with me. I had nurtured what I love about me; the out of key 80's singer who loves beauty and taking a snapshot. I felt a connection to the girl that I was before marriage and children. The girl before photography and blog posts. It was all because  I enjoyed the time with myself. I felt a deep sense of connection and gave my family big affectionate hugs as I walked in the door. 

I don't know how this will manifest itself in my art. I do know that at some point, down the road, I will see it. I will feel it in my art. I will use the word "Connection" with confidence. Until then, I will keep nurturing my "me time" and singing out loud with Whitney; "Don't wanna dance? Say you wanna dance. Don't you wanna dance" 


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My name is Cindy Cavanagh, and I  live in Sydney, Australia. I am a Lifestyle photographer of home and heart.  I love to create and always have.  I'm Co-Editor of the Long Way Home Magazine, contributor to Journey to Artist and Wonder of the Oddments.  I am  a wife and Mum to 5 gorgeous and crazy children.  Ironically, I love the quiet.