One of the biggest challenges for me moving into a creative profession from one that was very much not has been tapping into and expressing my personal journey through my art. It doesn't come naturally to me (I'm British; we don't DO that), but I also knew that I couldn't make meaningful art for other people until I could make it for myself.
I took this portrait one year to the day after registering my business - on October 31, 2017 - and I wanted to capture the feeling of being overwhelmed by everything that was going on around me: a response not just to the social and political changes in the UK and the US - two countries I care about deeply - but also the stage of the personal journey I was on at the time, of being a business owner in my first year and facing mistakes and misjudgments, of taking on a studio with no honest idea how I was going to make it pay, of being the only person in charge of my fate, with no-one else to tell me what to do or say or whether I was meeting expectations or simply whether I was good enough. Because I didn't feel like I was good enough to do this. And I wanted to curl up in a ball and hope someone else would make it work for me.
That didn't happen, of course. It only does in fairy tales and this isn't a fairy tale.
But something did change. I showed the portrait to a couple of friends. One of them stopped breathing, just for a moment. And when she did breathe again, it was a sigh of sadness and beauty. And I knew for the very first time, that I'd touched someone with my work. And there may be no feeling better than that for an artist (although paying us for it comes a *really* close second, I promise).
Most of you know how this goes from here. I entered The Cell into the Professional Photographers of Ohio's Annual State Competition. I scored a 96, earned a Judges Ribbon, and won the J. Anthony Bill Award for the most outstanding portrait in the state of Ohio. And I wasn't worried whether or not I was good enough any more.
But that's not the end of the journey, it's just the start. Because you can't stop creating because you do one good thing. And it's as well I didn't.
This second image was taken on March 21st, the Spring Equinox. I love Irises. In Greek Mythology Iris was a messenger, to me she's a harbinger of Spring and the start of a new cycle. My goal was to capture simplicity and elegance. and to share her message of joy and serenity and the peace that comes from opening up.
These two images come from very different emotional places, but they are both part of the cycle of being, and both part of my journey. So it was really special when I learned both had been accepted into the Merit Collection at IPC.
HELP ME TELL YOUR STORY
I've learned to tell my story - help me tell yours. I'm creating a series of portraits that show the different elements of strength in women. If you're a leader, a carer, a survivor, a warrior, a pioneer, or a rock I'd love to hear from you.