this word has been playing in my head for days now. almost like a steady drumbeat; a mantra. it would be an understatement to say i have been struggling with my photography lately. i feel like photography and i were “on a break,” like ross and rachel from friends. you know? like a trial separation. i guess if you quit taking pictures, or bringing your camera places, or even seeing things, then you have a recipe for a divorce of sorts. excuses abounded; the camera is too heavy or people will look at me funny. none of these things ever stopped me before….
fast forward to today. i was with a patient that received some terrible news today; the kind of news no one ever wants to hear. he was pretty devastated to say the least, and his family had gathered around him. he is a funny man with a huge belly laugh and you can tell those around him clamor to be in his presence for even one second longer each time they see him. he told one of the funniest, raunchiest jokes i have ever heard and i laughed so hard, i snorted which i tend to do. the whole room turned and looked at me as i profusely apologized. he turned and looked at me and he sternly said, “never, ever apologize for being you. you are authentic, you are real, and learn this right now; never stop being you no matter what.” his eyes were filled with tears of laughter and sudden sadness; like a disappointed father who feels his child has not heeded his words of caution and wisdom.
it was as if he reached into my chest and pulled out my heart. i felt those words because lately i have been struggling with a lot of parts of me, not just my pictures. and this man took moments to share with me a lesson that he is learning at the end of his life. i heard him later when i was charting at the desk talking to his son. he has a figured a lot out, a lot later than he wanted to. he told him he wished he hadn’t tried to please people so much and that life is too short “being someone else.”
obviously those words meant something else to him; his journey obviously was filled with compromises or charades that didn’t feel right or good to him. i was grateful for his reminder, though because the universe sometimes intervenes and tells us where to go, who to be.
it is simple, really. i am a daughter, a wife, a sister, a nurse, an auntie, an artist, a photographer. and i take pictures of nothing. well, something, but everyday, mundane things with lots of light. if people like the pictures, that is fine. if they don’t, that is fine, too.
i judge a picture not just on technical details, but how it makes me feel. this picture makes me feel happy. and light. and better about my long and stressful day. and today, that is enough.