Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Finding Stories

I love to capture moments for families. I love to tell their stories. Even the stories they aren't living, save for how my imagination perceives them.

Winter usually puts a damper on sessions in this area. It rarely snows enough to create a picturesque white blanket; the trees are barren, skeletal things clawing at a heavily curtained grey sky. Often, the boggy ground is a sucking, muddy marshland, foreboding to walk on, let alone spread a blanket out to sit on, or run across for fun action photos. The wind is cutting, but the temperatures are not often too frigid to wander out. The humidity peaks & ebbs, & in general, not many people are fond of the idea of capturing that landscape to hang on their walls. So, I find this time to be a good one for catching up on blogging some images from previous sessions. And telling fantastical stories, & dreaming up exciting personal projects.

I personally do think there is a kind of magic in the desolation, though, especially when there is a wintry drizzle in the air, casting a prismatic rainbow when a sunbeam fights its way through the cloud cover at just the right moment. When the fog rolls in, heavy & lazy, undulating in ripples around cars & pedestrians, lending mystique to the horizon... it feeds my imagination.

I can't help but let my imagination run wild. I imagine walking through the fog & emerging in another world, in which snowflakes break away from flowers, like dandelion seeds, to swirl frozen designs around my ankles. Birds drop excess feathers into my hair, dyed colors by pollen from the flowers surrounding their nests. Sunshine shoots past, unexpectedly & sporadically, illuminating little surprises, like vignettes; tiny bug sideshows with balancing beetles, & hidden fairy circles comprised of fanciful mushrooms playing duck-duck-goose.

Even in the mundane, there is whimsy & magic. I will always believe that.

Lately, I have been telling Rue about the bodach in the cellar. He lives in the crawl space, where Zia likes to go, & he includes her in his mischiefs, which is why she is so especially spritely when she meows to be let back out of the cellar. There is a portal under there, where the bodach accesses the lands between our world & the myriad of worlds beyond the veil. This is why cats have nine lives, you see, because they can find the hidey holes of the fae folk & slip between the worlds. On desolate, dreary winter days, we whisper wishes to Zia, so she can take those hopes to the World of Wishes & pass them on for consideration. Sometimes, when she comes back from one of her escapades, she has that wise glint in her eye, as if to say she knows great secrets we can only guess at.

Our fantasies are small & playful, & Rue is not yet two, so she really only finds my animated voice & expressions amusing now, but one day, I hope she will come to love the stories, & to believe in magic as deeply as I do.

And I will tell you MY secret, the one people always ask about my photography, writing, & artwork. How do I see things the way I do? I look for the magic in my subjects & my environment. For every session I have, I make up a fantastical story in my head, & I shoot to capture the feeling of wonder my daydream fills me with. For people who have booked many sessions with me, I have loose storylines in my head, to give their many sessions a bit of cohesion.

So, to the many people who have asked me about my work, about how to find their own way of seeing the world, I will tell you to find the stories that move you. Because everything has a story; a voice. Finding a way to interpret that story & give it voice in whatever medium you use is what gives you your signature style. For me, it's magical, whimsical, fantastical improbabilities. Hidden secret lives that even the subject is maybe not aware of. For you, it may be very different.

Experiment & find the stories that move you!
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