I have to admit I have been having a hard time this spring.
I knew this would be a year of growth. My word for the year was “Bold” and when some of my plans for the year began to falter, I added the word “Nimble”. I knew there would be growing pains, as phrases like that become cliché for a reason. You see, I am developing a new series of artwork that involves a new printing process, and now, well past the initial steep and exciting part of the learning curve, my progress with this new technique has become so slow I think I might actually be moving backwards.
Combine that feeling with a week of completely over-intellectualizing photographs and photography at Fotofest (where the word beautiful was used as a pejorative), followed by three long days of discussing the business side of art as I helped train a new group of Artist Inc facilitators, and then finally a run of presenting my work for a wide variety of feedback from the 500,000 people that attend the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival, and photography and I were about to part ways. At the very least my camera and I were “on a break.” Essentially, these weeks have been confusing and left me trying to understand the meaning in what I do, but too tired to find it.
After a life long love affair with the camera I know that sometimes our relationship will be strained,
but that doesn’t make it any less troubling when it becomes so. Like any worthwhile relationship it requires work, and the importance lies in knowing how to rekindle the fire. I was actively looking for that spark, and last night I was given a gift. Photographer Gloria Baker Feinstein delivered a presentation for ASMP that was exactly what I needed to hear. In a straightforward manner she told us why she photographs, and in the telling reminded me of why I photograph. Her story resonated so loudly with me last night it sent me away ready to make pictures again.
The compassion in Gloria’s images, the stories she tells, and the way she uses her gifts to give back are something to aspire to.
Gloria wrapped up last night’s presentation with these words and stunning video:
“…All of them point to the fact that photography has become – for me as I have gotten older – a kind of prayer. Whether I am shooting an engaged couple, a newborn baby, a burn victim, a Holocaust survivor, a breast cancer survivor or an orphan in Uganda, raising the viewfinder to my eye has almost become a kind of spiritual exercise.
So you see, the space between the work I do for others and the work I do for myself is kind of murky. It all sort of blends together. Rather than feel confused or frustrated by that, I think I kind of embrace it. I can’t help but believe it makes me a better photographer, or at the very least – one who is true to herself and – hopefully – true to her subjects and vision, as well.” — Gloria Baker Feinstein
Thank you Gloria for your beautiful images, your generosity of spirit, and delivering just exactly what I needed to hear.
Read Gloria’s account of the evening and her presentation. And this video is just a small taste of her fabulous work, do yourself a favor, grab a glass of wine and spend some time with more of her images. I think you will be inspired too.