I first came across Vivienne's photography and self-portraits in the autumn of 2010. She was just introducing her first ever e-course called You Are Your Own Muse and I jumped at the chance to participate. Since then she has continually inspired me, taught me and been my friend through her words and images. I am honored to share her thoughts with you today on celebrating the everyday. Thank you Vivienne!
I think I’ve always been a dreamer, easily distracted by the rays of sun pouring through the trees or by something beautiful I come across. Yet it wasn’t until I discovered photography that I really saw this as a strength and realized how much it invites me to celebrate each and every day.
Every day I try to take a picture, at least one. Often it isn’t a problem…in fact it can often take me much longer than expected to walk only a few blocks as I tend to be stopped every few steps by something else that catches my eye.
A flower petal, a water droplet, chalk drawings on the ground, or a cat looking up on me. I can’t really predict what it will be and I think that is part of the wonder of it.
On other days it is much harder. The skies in my west coast city may be grey, nothing is blooming or I’m having a rough day. It is on these days that I try even harder to look for something to take a photograph of, as I know I need it all the more.
Exploring photography has allowed me a tool to celebrate every day, to be present in it. A way to look for what is beautiful around me and within me. It is a way to cultivate creative energy every day. I need this like I need water, sleep and food.
While photography is a big part of my life as a whole now (as I teach a series of photography workshops), this is where it began, just noticing the beauty around me each and every day.
After a while, I started inviting me toes or my hands to be a part of these photos, to hold a bit of beauty in my hand or to show the toes of my shoes amongst pink flower petals. I started to turn the camera towards myself and let that be a part of the narrative of experiencing the beauty of the world. I started to let myself be a part of that beauty. Later I turned the camera towards myself even further, putting it down and allowing for a space of playfulness and movement.
Taking self-portraits has allowed me to deepen that feeling of gratitude for every day and not only that, but it allows me to tell a visual story of that celebration, one in which I am part of the story.
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