I’d watch the initial individual raindrops fall to the ground. I’d focus on one, ignore the rest,
and watch it fall from high above the trees and follow it in slow motion as it plummeted towards the ground.
I’d wait for the winds to pick up, sweeping the raindrops off course and I’d imagine the raindrops to have
little faces of confusion as they slammed into walls when they were, only a second ago,
heading peacefully on course to their destination.
For the past six or so months, I have felt like a raindrop in a slow storm.
If it wasn’t one wind sweeping me away from my goals, it was another.
I have been falling apart piece by piece, and I am not afraid to admit that, as those who know me well will know.
If someone told me that today, I would be pieced back together by a small group of strangers,
I would’ve laughed and called them a dreamer.
But it did happen. And I’m going to share the experience with you.
My first thought upon seeing the works of Jesh De Rox, was that the man was doing what 90% of photographers dream of doing.
He was running a successful business documenting genuine emotion for his clients.
Giving them meaningful images instead of generic smiles and distant eyes.
(Let me interject here and order you to check out his incredible works here before reading on)
My second thought was.. Sign me up.
I had never attended a Photography workshop before.
Prior to having Oliver, I worked a full-time job in Disability Recruitment, and excused myself based on time.
After having Oliver, the excuse was no longer, and with the support of my dear Photographer friends
Beth Fernley & Katy Redmond, I registered for Jesh’s ‘Chemistry of Connection’ Beloved Photography workshop
and became increasingly nervous at the thought of committing to something of such value.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I find myself sitting in a circle of mismatched chairs, facing 13 other Photographers,
all of us there for our own reasons.
Mine? I wasn’t quite sure. Until I was asked.
We took turns explaining what we hoped the workshop would give us. I was second to speak.
I don’t know where it came from, but halfway through explaining that I had lost myself recently, and that fear had overtaken joy in my job, I cried.
I couldn’t stop it. I apologised over and over, while continuing my explanation.
Secretly bloody mortified that I was crying in front of a bunch of strangers, who will probably now form their own little group, without myself – the emotional chick with a hang-up.
Within half an hour, three other people had cried.
Within two hours, six other people had cried.
And by the end of the day, I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the studio.
I heard things from each and every one of them that inspired and moved me.
I heard of loss, fear, love, hope, motivation. I heard them tell stories.
I heard them cry, I heard them laugh, I heard them.
I have spent a few hours wondering how I was so lucky to land myself into a room full of supportive and inspirational
people that had formed such a strong bond in half a day.
Then I realised my answer was in my notes in front of me. Scrawled and tear-stained, but visible.
“When Ravens call, Ravens answer.”
We were all there because we crave human connection. We want it in our works.
We want to build a safe space in front of our camera where people can reignite passion,
recall distant memories, laugh, cry and smile.
We want to give people real value in this often misguided industry.
It is no surprise that the energy in that room is something I won’t ever be able to describe.
Today I stared into a stranger’s eyes, and was brought to tears by the depth of them.
Today my own tears welling in my eyes reached out to people and said “Here I am” and “I see you.”
Today I heard my friend ask ‘her’ stranger, why something had changed in her eyes in this exercise.
The stranger replied simply;
“Because you were my baby for a while – and I was falling in love with you.”
I watched Jesh work his magic on a beautiful and receptive couple.
I watched as he broke down the barriers that often block us,
and we all cried as he gave them a space to breathe each other in and bring each other to tears.
I am clear now. I know what I need to do, professionally and personally. I feel at peace with myself
– and dare I say it? I love and approve of myself. Because first and foremostly, we are our own barriers.
What an interesting concept.
That we are all capable of human impression, perception, and connection with people we hardly know.
If we can do this with strangers, what is stopping us from doing this with you – my client?
I have always made it a mission to learn you. To learn your loves, to learn your hearts, to relate to you.
But I suppose all this time, all I needed to do was set a space in which you could do those things with each other.
Today I learnt more in one day, than I have in several years of shooting.
Will you join me on my journey to explore?
To evoke things in your loved ones that you may not have seen in years, or maybe never?
I want to help you. I want you to show us who you are, and be proud of the images
that will adorn your walls, as they are the “real” you.
It is not hard, it is not a technique you would feel uncomfortable with.
It is simply an invitation to explore with me.