I have felt the calling from something deep and wild inside of me from childhood. If I look back at my first real photo session which was made in a classroom at Provo high with Milmaliisa Loeskow as my subject, I can see that I was always coming back to this. I don’t know about you, but everything I wanted and valued deeply in the discovering years of high school are still the very things that I love and want. I don’t think we really change all that much in life, rather we return to ourselves if we are lucky enough and brave enough to do it.
I believe that we each feel a life-long series of magnetic aches, a train at night shaking the walls, a buzz that signals us. The volume of my signal has increased exponentially since opening Ultraviolet. Through conversation, songs, posts, books, texts, sex. I’ve been connecting and returning to myself through these dots, these crumbs.
”Do what you know.” - An early morning whisper while laying in Andi’s cabin.
“You set your intention and go.”- Errin
”Niches bring riches” from Amanda at A.&.Co
“Go with your gut.” From “Backdrop Stock”’s instagram story.
“We cannot see you. Who are you?”- D’Arcy Bennincosa
And lastly, “women women women”- like a spell that rose from what I could see. I scrolled through my Instagram feed and asked myself what messages I was visually sharing with my followers. I visited my website, a collection of my own decade-long work and I saw it- it’s always women. Women sit at the center of everything I see, every story I tell. And creative women are the heart of my very best work.
Creative women are the clients I would shoot with pleasure and excitement if I were fantastically rich and had no need for money.
The dots began to connect, igniting me with the tears and laughter of finally finding something. This is demanding as much as it is exciting. I have to change everything from pricing sheets to marketing to, everything else. But I’ve been reunited with an old friend in myself. The friend that reminds me that I deserve to do the things that make me lose track of time, that spill my heart over with excitement.
Photography is work and I know how to work. I know how to risk, I know about time and writing and pricing. I know how to show up, communicate, make, deliver, invest in my gear, network, write and collect reviews. I know. I know and I can do it over and over.
Yesterday during my tarot reading with Zina Bennion she told a story of her father, Joe Bennion, a legendary potter who once-upon-a-time made a bowl that he could reproduce over and over and over. It sold, it was beautiful and valuable and he was becoming known for the shape and glaze of his palatable offering, but one day he realized that the latest batch readied from the kill/kiln had been sitting for days unseen. No spark, no excitement no drive to decend to the basement and see. So he stopped there to return to, or to find the things that ignited him- the work that got his fingers hot.
In the upheaval of the last few years of my divorce, extreme haircuts, hard and long runs, surgeries, resigning from my formerly beloved religion, selling my house, finding the love of my life, partnering with him, learning self-love, becoming a mother and again a bonus adult to two children, taking 3 van loads of old things to the thrift store after sitting with old life relics and my drawing attachments. A year of sifting through my old mission stuff in bins, letting go of friendships, throwing away journals, changing schools, building and opening a new studio- I’ve learned this: my magic is found in doing the unknown, unreserved thing that calls, that has always called. “Do what you know” is the best and most honest thing. A depth living comes alive in the space of responding to what calls us. Clarissa Pinkola Estés said,
“If we were to name only one thing that makes the Wild Woman what she is it would be her responsiveness. The word response comes from the Latin word, “to pledge, to promise” and that is her strong suit. Her perception and deft responses are a consistent promise and pledge to the creative forces.”
I have been patient in waiting to hear the magnet call clarify. I hear it now and I’m responding to it. Steve Jobs said, “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
I knew Ultraviolet was a piece of my story but I didn’t know exactly how it would spark me, heal me, break me down, and require literally every dime, every piece of energy, every tear and every bit of moisture from my hands. I’ve been through weird emotional hell with it. But I knew that it would be part of my story- I just didn’t know what part. And now a piece of that has been illuminated, the call is clear.
My work is to collaborate with strong women who have a distinct artistic voice. Women who are ready to be seen, who make a wild go of their lives, who are drawn to honest images, women who share their nuanced stories. My work is to make those images with women who have heard the call to share their soul’s work like I have heard mine.