Been a while, huh?
Well, I think we can all agree that 2020 has been wild.
Most of us started 2020 with gusto. The Roaring 20's!! This is our YEAR, right?!
March rolled in an unprecedented event, and we found ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic. Every day, we woke up to new information, new levels of fear, isolation and crippling depression. Many of us found ourselves suddenly home, day in and day out... maybe with children, maybe with a partner... maybe entirely alone.
It was incredibly challenging, for a myriad of reasons, for everyone on the planet. We hadn't ever experienced something that touched every person in the world the way this has. Together in our aloneness.
I for one, found myself reading stay at home orders, going line by line to see which businesses would be forced to close their doors to keep everyone safe.
And there it was. Photography was deemed non essential, and for 3 months my soul ached in ways I can barely give words to. I was incredibly fortunate, and privileged, to have the financial means to support myself and my family during the shut down. So many people were not in the same boat. I felt tremendous guilt over my gut wrenching sadness and depression. I was fine. My children, while confused and bored, we're FINE.
I didn't realize until I was forced to give up my work, just how much of myself goes into what I do. I didn't realize that without the creative outlet my studio gives me that I would sink into a depression so deep I often couldn't see the light at the end.
You see, I might be a photographer, but what I do is so much more than taking a photo. I thrive on the conversations I have with my clients, the oooooos and ahhhhhhs during your session as I see you start to melt into yourself in front of my camera. We all start out stiff. We feel vulnerable and out of our element, standing half dressed in front of someone you've maybe not met before. But after a few poses and a few laughs, it clicks. And I watch through my camera is people who tell me they hate their tummy, or wish their boobs were bigger, or feel insecure about age... I watch them fill with love for themselves, and THAT is the magic, folks. That is the moment I live for. You walk into the studio and we are strangers, and you leave me with a hug, maybe tears, and a newfound appreciation for all the things that make you YOU.
Those moments... I missed those moments more than anything during the lockdown.
Covid-19 changed a lot of things for a lot of people in my tiny city of Cuyahoga Falls. Akron, Cleveland, Ohio as a whole... the country... the world... we all watched as everything around us changed in ways we never imagined. One of those changes, for me, was having to choose to no longer photograph people in my home studio, and to undertake a large renovation project to convert my garage into a standalone studio space, and its beautiful. I felt so much apprehension and grief at the idea of leaving the space I had been using for 2 years previously, which I LOVED, to move into the unknown, to get to know a whole new space, to get to know how new light would bathe my clients.
I am so thankful to have been able to reopen, and I am in love with my new space.
I walked into my home studio in May, when I had made the decision to no longer photograph people out of my home. I stood for several minutes, looking at carefully placed decorations and I thought about the weeks I spent collecting these items. Looking for the perfect candle stick, the exact green colored velvet I wanted to cover a wall with... the plants I hunted down for months, to fill very specific places. I watched the light come in from my favorite north facing window. I thought about how many people I had photographed in that space, about how many changes I had gone through in my style as a photographer, in this space...
And then I sat down in the middle of a set I had created just before the pandemic occurred, a set I loved and would never get to photograph another person in, and I photographed myself.