The "Strength" Series
Welcome to my series entitled “Strength”.
Strength was my chosen word for 2018. In the beginning of every year I choose a word to represent the work that must be done. Each of these images was created in the raw moments of their respective times. Not before, not after, but during. I had no idea how much this one tiny little word would have.
“Strength” forced me to look deep inside.
“Strength” forced me to find my sparkle.
“Strength” forced me to break free of the mask, and to let my freak flag fly proudly.
“Strength” forced me to let go of what no longer serves me.
The more opening up I did in the past year as these works were created the more relatable they became. As each was released I’d hear a lot of “Me too’s”. Isn’t it cool how when we start to open up to others we feel not-so alone? My hopes for this series are that someone in the trenches will see it and realize that what is happening to them is good. That eventually it will propel them onto better things. Like a seed that gets planted into the cold, dark soil only to emerge as a beautiful flower.
To be completely truthful, I didn’t realize how cohesive these images looked and felt together until I was reviewing my 2018 year. In doing that I noticed how these four images were screaming at me about how much they needed to live together. So live together they shall. Cheers and enjoy.
This image was created while I was in a very dark place both mentally and spiritually. I was grieving both of my parents who had passed within 9 month of each other, and a painful childhood too. All while trying to figure out who I am, trying to be a wife, and trying to be a mother of a small child all at the same time. The world felt so heavy. Saying that it was painful is an understatement. I felt as though I was toxic. The thoughts in my head were scary. So scary! I couldn’t see or even feel my own light. In the image I’m holding out a candle that represents my own light as if that candle represented the dim light that was inside of me. I was holding it so tight while taking the image. I remember feeling love for the candle as I held it. The crow is representative of how I was beginning to feel death knocking at my own door. If you look closely you’ll see that the light in the background, behind the subject, sort of looks like angel wings. The “decay” on the wall in the background helped to tie it together. Now I know why. Looking back at this time I call it “when I went dark”. I’ve been in this place about 3 other times, but doing it while you have a child to care for too makes it oh-so extra. My hope in putting this image out there is that it resonates with someone else who is in this dark place. If it is you, I want you to know that the darkness is temporary. This too shall pass, and that time heals all wounds. You just have to give it time.
“The goddess cradles her in bated breath. The quiet release follows. A bloom of light is born in her. We bow with gratitude in its splendor.”
This piece is about that time of hibernation that happens before rebirth. The subject is grounded and nourished by the Earth trusting with faith that her soul is about to bloom into something beautiful. The soft light of her hope/faith keeps her warm. The purple plants represent the universe. The white sheet- purity and newness.
This image was made up of many images. Each is shot with its respective place in the final image in mind. The depth of field, distance from the camera, and height of each element assures the realistic look of the piece. This piece features is a self-portrait that I took of myself using my dslr camera, a tripod, and remote. The orb was made using a clear crystal ball. Using the crystal ball was a reminder of the how the subject trusts with her whole heart that her future is going to be bright. Almost like she has already seen it in the crystal ball. I had some green ivy around me in the initial image which I multiplied and turned purple in post. After I was able to put the composite together I spend a few days on the lighting of the image in post. The lighting in my pieces is almost a character in and of itself. Then I added a few textures that I found in the world around me to complete the piece. Have you ever felt that you were about to be reborn?
This piece is about freedom from the masks that we wear, and the act of rebirth into who you are ment to be. Shedding our mask makes us feel an overwhelming sense of freedom and power. The subject looks as though she feels as light as a feather, but strong too. As if all of the forces of nature are coming together to honor her at that very moment. You can almost hear the universe whisper to her “cheers to you”. The rising up thru the air from the heaviness of the water aides the piece in its portrayal of the life giving feeling of that first breath, and scream, at birth after being in water for so long while being cradled in by light of The Moon.
This self-portrait piece was created by taking images of myself draped over a stool against a black background. The mask was a separate image, as is the ocean and the starry sky. You’ll be surprised to know that the ocean shot was taken on a sunny day! The stars in the background are from an underwater shoot that I did a while back. The dust in the water against the dark background looked like stars. I enhanced them in post by painting in more of them with software. The nightgown that I am wearing in the main image is a vintage night gown that had a victorian feel to it. Seeing it made me think of how women were oppressed in those times and how they probably longed to rip of a mask themselves. Wearing a nightgown at night probably felt so freeing from the corsets, and petti coats. Each image needed to be taken while in its proper height and distance from the camera as it would be in the final piece in order to make it realistic. Have you taken off your mask? Cheers and enjoy!
When it dies, is it really dead? What is death, really? Is it an ending? A beginning? Something new? Something exciting?? Or not? In any case the answer is unknown to us mere mortals. This piece is about the question of death. It encompasses all death. While it may well be a door that leads to something truly amazing, there is usually a degree of mourning in its wake. The mourning is necessary. To start anew we must shed the old. Even express gratitude for the old. If it weren’t for the old you would never have the new.
This piece started as a meditation on what death is. What prompted the meditation was my daughter handing me a dried out peony as a little gift one morning. Even in its death. That peony was so beautiful. The subject’s outstretched hand, and her face looking up at the flower show a sense of mourning, but the rest of her posture indicates that she is ok with that. It was around this time that I was beginning to let go of things that no longer served me. I feel grateful for those things, but it is time to move on. I shot the image, in my birthday suit, on the cold hard floor in my living room. Something about that was humbling. The white sheet falling off of me along with the bare skin represent the newness that was about to come. As always, the light in these works plays a significant role. I generally shoot with flat lighting to mitigate the shadows. I paint in almost all of the light and shadow that you see in my works in post. It felt amazing to birth this creation. What can you do to “ascend” to the next level?