Seeing Our Way Clear
(This is the beginning of a series of posts on Jan Phillips’ book, God is at Eye Level, Photography as a Healing Art. For an intro check out the first post here.)
I did not come to photography looking for magic. I came looking for a way to speak my pain. Words from the author, Jan Phillips and her intro to chapter two. Someone asked me…Why do you need healing? The answer is simple. After leaving my job in corporate America, I lost my identity.
I hear this quite often from retirees as well as from mothers who have left their jobs to be a stay-at-home mom. But it never occurred to me that my retirement around the age of fifty would have such a huge impact on me and one that I wasn’t even remotely prepared for.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my thirty years in corporate even with all the stress and living in an environment equal to the urgency of an emergency room of a hospital. But the craziness of travel, being removed from the daily office routine of being with people, and family concerns provided the impetus to retire. After that I started my own business, co-authored a book and still couldn’t find it. I still didn’t feel I had an identity and I was miserable. I needed a big shake up in my life. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC (just for a year – ha ha!) and started chronicling my daily activities for my family and friends…did I find it. Photography.
I fell in love with photography. My lifesaver, my soul mate, the mending of the broken wing as described by Phillips. She’s so eloquent in her description…There’s something holy about this work, something healing about this search for light. Like the pilgrim’s journey; it’s heaven all the way. Oh, how true. Not only was I living the dream of actual day-to-day living in the city, but photographing almost daily as well. I started out with my trusty Lumix point and shoot and then graduated to an introductory SLR. Like Phillips says, it isn’t about the sophistication of your camera, what matters is that something intimate and precious and sacred is being brought to life and shared with others. That is what healing is all about. I found that to be so true.
It took me a while, but what I have found about my photography is the importance of an emotional component. The lighting, the time of day, colors, textures, composition…all components to representing my emotions.
I have found my identity in photography and I couldn’t be happier.
Every creative person has a second date of birth, and one which is more important than the first:
that on which he discovers what his true vocation is.
Next week: Chapter Three – Shifting the Focus