Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with a friend and amazing photographer, Marcela Rafea. Meeting her in person was so wonderful and I felt immediately connected to this lady whose voice I could now connect with our communications. We hugged, laughed, talked, ate…it was wonderful.
Our conversation, of course, turned to art…our art. I talked about how I was finding it hard to see the way I’m used to seeing in our new surroundings. My immediate surroundings of hearth and home have always been inspiring to me, but now I struggle to find those moments. Each week as I find a moment to capture myself with my children in our home I think “There is nowhere interesting here…nothing beautiful…each photo I am taking looks the same”. This lack of connection has seemed to lead to a cascade of lost connections and at times I feel adrift in my own life which, as one who has always had connections to rely on (Heck! The workshop I teach is about connections), is very troubling. In my talk with my friend we talked of seasons and change, of periods for rest and rejuvenation and that a break in inspiration now is no indicator for the future. Still, it’s been hard for me to believe that in this period of rest and very little art that I am still there. I take photos that feel forced and feel inspired only when we head out for an adventure. As we contemplated these things Marcela said the magic words. “I still see you in your photos. I see where you are now, but it is still you. I feel you.”
There it was. It was so simple and something I had missed before. In this time where connection is a struggle I had not taken my own advice. I had wanted to connect with the artist who was jetting forward, not the one in a period of rest. Still, as much as I tried to force a connection with someone I wasn’t, my art told the truth. My art could pull me back into the present…back where I am now, without judgment or disappointment. The funny thing is, is that if I continued to reach outside myself I could never move forward as all artistic attempts would be coming from a place outside of genuine; a place lacking authenticity.
I know that I am not the only one forgetting to look at where we are; to evaluate where our truth lies and to create from there. If you forget, I suggest you look at your art. Even if you are hiding behind adventures and gimmicks, I know you are there. Find that spark and examine it, let it pull you back into yourself so that your art can express who you are, not a shade of who you are. Let you art bring you back to you…so that you can not only be, but also become.
Amanda Voelker is a fine art and lifestyle photographer. With her children and light as her inspiration, Amanda finds beauty in the everyday. She strives to capture the subtleties of human emotion and connection in a beautiful way that showcases both the moment and a piece of her self. Amanda is also the Co Creator and Editor in Chief of “The Long Way Home” Magazine and instructor at "The Bloom Forum"