I have not recorded any of my own thoughts or feelings for quite some time but today that changed. Do you believe in synchronicity? Described by the dictionary as: "the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection". Because whether or not you do I'm going to tell you a story of hope, a story of what happens when you follow your dream despite the perceived obstacles. A story of how I saved a life without even being conscious of it. I have to share this story and I hope that it will travel far and wide because quite frankly...I never, not in my wildest imaginings, ever thought that through doing what I love, that is, the art of photography, I would get a message like this:
'I auction off items on a a website called Listia...a person on that website reached out to me .... fanned me.. I became a fan. The profile image associated with the account was the word Meraki.....and its definition. My heart skipped a beat. ..each time I reread the definition..the experience was profound.. I knew I had discovered myself. I googled the word. I wanted to know more about the definition. I chose your link and when the page opened ..my soul levitated. The images are perfection....I realized instantly.....That I am TOO ! I eyeballed and absorbed your offerings. Your photos are a balm to my soul. Before I found you.....I was feeling trapped and brutalized. Afraid to tell anyone or ask for help. After viewing your work...My fears went away....I called my friend...and I asked for help. She is coming for me at noon tomorrow. My things will go in storage and I will be out of harms way. You have saved my life and I thought you should know that I am grateful. Your love is in your work.....it hit my heart chakra like a Mack truck and set me free. I shall never forget you & your wonderful gift. Your work is Ethereal!'
"I'm sitting here in my corner of the world, sunny South Africa, in disbelief trying to process what just happened and I'm having a whirlwind of emotion course through me. I never...not in a million years...ever thought that my photographs would save a life. Ever. I don't know where you are from but from the little I see on your profile I'm guessing you're in the United States.
I cannot begin to even encapsulate how you and your story have penetrated my heart and soul...you've changed the game for me and I'm absolutely in awe of how this has happened. I...little ol' me with my pretty little pictures, saved a LIFE. That's too big for me to comprehend. It's difficult for me as the creator of my work, to see it as an outsider would because I'm in too deep, it's too close to me. All I know is how much I love to do what I do and when someone like you comes along and takes the time like that to explain how my work makes you feel and what an enormous impact it made...becomes the fuel that encourages me to continue to touch people with my soul...even though I never really knew I did, until now. Because there are times when I wonder what the hell I am even doing this for. You are my answer.
I am truly honored and absolutely blown away - I never thought that my work would reach a heart so far away and help you make a stand and fight for the life you deserve.
You are amazing and you have imprinted my heart with a sense of accomplishment that I could never place a monetary value to. Ever ever ever. You've given me a sense of purpose and that I'm on the right track. That is priceless.
Thank you beautiful human I wish you all the strength and courage possible as you embark on your journey within.
Your journey to you".
Now I'm not sure about how any of you who might read this feels, but that up there...what happened between two people geographically miles and miles apart, to me is extremely powerful. From a heart in Atlanta, Georgia to another in Johannesburg, South Africa came a meeting of two souls that will never be the same again because of this connection. Because of what I do with my imagery. The last few days I've been lying on my belly in the earth, completely collapsed with photographing a tiny little flower that blooms only in Winter. A survivor. I am besotted with this little floret because it is really very small but the detail and depth of this little blue flower that hardly anyone notices is just indescribably beautiful. It is known as a Veronica Umbrosa or more commonly, a Georgia Blue. I'll let that sink in a while ;)
There are indeed times, dark times, when I often wonder if what I do is worth it, spending a large amount of my time making pretty images and captioning them with quotes that some are not drawn to at all, annoyed by the sickly sweet taste of motivational quotes that hold no weight because they're tedious, being silently sneered at by professionals in the photographic industry because I do not have the credentials or have not earned my 'place' amongst the big guns. And you know what? That's perfectly ok. My journey here, holding hands with photography, is very different to the journey of others. I've lost things because of this gift; people who I thought were my friends and people who were not my friends at all and whose true intentions were to exploit me because I have a talent that they felt intimidated by. People I trusted. I didn't ask for this thing I do with a camera...it just magically happens. In the balance of what life is, with the blessing comes a curse...having to feel bad, suppressing myself for being able to do something many others wish they could but are unable to. Because that is not their purpose but they fail to see it. And that is not my fault. Yet I pay that price.
When you do what you intrinsically love, it never comes easy, it comes with sacrifice and hard work and time spent away from the people you love. It comes with doubt. LOTS of doubt. Am I good enough? Do I make my point? Do people understand? Can I actually take a photograph or am I just kidding myself? Can they see my heart? I am affected so powerfully by taking photographs, the connection I make with my subjects and the words I choose to pair them with - it is not something I randomly slap together because it seems like the right words that fit with the picture. No. It takes a lot of time, carefully crafted with thought and consideration to piece the two together because they are two pieces of a whole. I have to feel that little explosion between the words and the photograph. It must mean something. Carefully typed, paying close attention to the spelling and grammar and that the entire presentation looks beautiful. I do not do sloppy and careless, I am conscious to the very last detail. Totally against the rule of "photography should speak for itself". But this is who I am...there is no one else out there like me and as much as many try, they will never be able to replicate the soul that I pour into my images or the finished product. This is not just something I do for 'fun'...this is who I am. There is a big difference.
Let this story be a beacon of light in the darkness to you to encourage you to follow your heart's calling...to follow that dream that keeps recurring, the goal you are too afraid to set because there are bills to pay. Follow the whisper of your soul because, like me, you might not be aware of who is watching, who you are reaching out to or inspiring or who is affected by what you do, no matter what it is. Every one of us is special. Every one of us is here because we have something important we need to do. There is no race to get to the finish line, there IS no finish line and we are not here to be better than the next person and anyone who thinks that has missed the point. We are here to help each other make this journey more enjoyable, more meaningful, more beautiful . We are here for love. Make the reason you are here count yet in that process, be mindful, know your worth, trust your instinct and do not allow people into your space who do not truly celebrate who you are. You are obligated to no one.
Do not be afraid or intimidated by the big mouths who appear to know everything by attempting to make you feel insignificant. They do not know YOU. If you function from a pure place, without an agenda, a place of kindness or goodwill, a place that is genuine and untarnished by a world gone mad, eventually it will filter through the noise of the 'know-it-all's' and reach the intended audience, the ones who get it, the quiet ones who see you without the need to ever meet you, the ones who recognise and feel your heart for what it truly is because they see and feel themselves in you. The ones who appreciate your existence. And that is a beautiful thing. A thing that cannot be bought with all the money in the world. A thing that makes life and all it's glorious triumphs and losses, a life so worth living.
Have the courage to push on and listen to the call of your soul. You could very well save a life.
This image is for you Mz Georgia...thank you for you and for making such a beautiful entrance into my space.
How I see it...
I see, speak and write in metaphors because I feel there is much we can learn from nature, people and our surroundings as depicted in my photographs and why I enjoy sharing my thoughts. Not in any attempt to convince or convert you to my way of thinking, seeing or feeling but to share how I see and experience MY mind map of the world. You at no time have to agree, all I ask is that my views and the views of others who wish to express theirs are kindly respected. So relax, get comfy and just enjoy. Happy reading!