photography as a healing art – chapter two

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.

tulip tree

tulip tree ready to burst

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



  1. grasshopper says

    Beautiful frissy, spmply beautiful. You are so precious to me and I am so happy you finally found your calling! Luv & hugs, GH

  2. says

    I’m letting this all sink in, Robin. I never had a career in my life…just jobs. My identity wasn’t in my work at all, though I was “married” for 12 years to someone whose career sounds like what yours was: very corporate and high level. The longer I was with her and saw what money was doing to her, I felt I no longer knew her. My guess is you were nothing like that, so in that regard there’s no comparison.

    I do think my photography has been the only thing in all my years that feels truly “mine” in the sense of my identity being wrapped up in it. I ponder these things in my heart as I read your words….

    Thank you.

    • gotham girl says

      Yes, money can be very evil at times. What I’ve found is that we can get so caught up in having “things” which is somewhat of a natural process as we grow in our jobs, at least that’s what I think…but thank god I came to my senses in the more recent years! Big hugs!

  3. says

    This is so beautiful, I have to added in
    Women give so much to her family that everyone, even herself forgets her needs, her wants, her happiness. Its time we change the tradition, its time, we all give back, its time to share, its time we all sacrifice. Robin, you are an example, you give us hope and joy! I can see and feel how happy you are. Proud of you.

  4. E'Clair says

    I feel so blessed that I have been a part of your various journey’s and had the privledge of seeing you find your true passion. Happy Second Birthday!

    • gotham girl says

      I am the one to be thankful and so blessed my dear to have YOU in my life! Thank you for the “birthday” wishes! xoxo

    • gotham girl says

      I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your photography! Thank you so much for stopping by, taking a look see and commenting!

  5. Arline Fox says

    Hi Robin,
    I got on your blog tonight and read through chapter four. I should do it more often. I have several young friends just retiring, and don’t know what to do next. I’ll refer them to your blog. You are very inspiring. I always love your photos. Yes I agree. ART SAVES!


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