“unless you love someone, nothing else makes any sense.”
– e.e. cummings
calling myself a photographer still feels funny. i believe we are all entitled to feel legitimate, to believe in what we do, to take ourselves seriously as we try, learn, try again, succeed. but every picture i make comes from a feeling. that feeling is what carries it, what stirs the words lodged deep inside me too. and i know who started it all, the feelings that spread in wisps like smoke, and fall in layers like perfect snow. my daughter is at the soul of each heartbeat, and from her, as she is rooted in me, i am able to act, i have learned to see.
i don’t think it hurts to have eyes that turn inside, even as a photographer. but then, i wouldn’t know any other way. my husband, my family, the friends who are closest, so often tell me i need something lighter in my life. books that let me turn off my mind, an hour to myself once in a while…but the truth is i want the weight, i want the truth, heavy and anchored, i want to learn as much as i can, read the things that pierce me, put some order to the storms through which i’ve passed. this is who i am. this feeds the feelings that start a flutter, which urges me to make something. this is the air that lifts me up like love. i will save the laughter for the kids, and we will all take that drink together, swim in the joy that gives us equilibrium. but that joy will be in perspective.
one of my richest memories is a night when my daughter was about a year old. we were lying down side by side, my arm across her, stroking her forehead in the way she loved, the moonlight making her eyes shine through the blinds. though outside the locked bedroom door there was nothing close to peace, though our lives needed peace like a long drink, we had it right there. we made it, every day in tiny but significant ways, quietly and full of hope. i believed in everything at that moment, and i saw beauty like i had never seen it before. i felt it running through my veins. and once we know something, we cannot un-know it. once we learn to use our eyes from that place we cannot un-see. so the love she gave me, the purest gift, gave me eyes that FEEL. and though it took me six years to find my way to a real camera, i was practicing every day, just loving her, learning the lines and grace of her by heart, watching her unfold.
our darkest days can be when we learn to light a fire from scratch. i learned to do it and i have kept the skill. life can feel like a giant kaleidoscope which only needs light. and with the tiniest bit there comes color and movement and constant change. when the light doesn’t come from the outside, we can make our own. my love for her burns bright.