I fell in love over the summer. I fell in love with my art.
I ventured to Steamboat Springs for an amazing weekend with Jennifer Thoreson for a photography retreat at the Motherwell Ranch (which… by the way… has the best staff ever and was one of the most beautiful parts of Colorado that I have ever witnessed and everyone should experience it at least once) that changed my world. This retreat has been on my bucket list for a few years and as it was the last one for the foreseeable future I decided I had to make it work this year. It happened to be the exact right time in my life to have this adventure and my heart is still there in some ways. In many ways. I yearn to re-live this experience because my heart is so full and empowered when I remember it.
I struggled the whole weekend I was at this retreat. I was in the middle of making the leap into photography full time and was in the midst of major life choices. I wasn’t sure I would be able to create. I wasn’t sure I would be able to love myself or be patient enough with myself or my own process to create something beautiful. But the images I created are some of the most important images I have ever created. I felt at home for the first time in my work. I felt like I was stepping into myself. The most important thing I learned from this struggle was to trust my process. Even if it isn’t the same as another person’s process. My process is mine and it is unique to me and it will be what empowers my work. It is where brilliance while shine. Where mistakes will lead down paths of self revelation. I will continue finding my home. And I may have to climb mountains more than once to feel it, but that journey will be full of experiences that will teach me how to find my home.
One of the first things that Jennifer presented hit me so hard I had tears in my eyes and I immediately text my friend telling them I was here at the exact time in my life that I should be. It was a quote from Marianne Williamson. “Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humanity, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at the point when our knees hit the floor.” My knees have been hitting the floor all year. I have been in transformation all year. I have been struggling all year. I feel that I am finding a way to use that struggle to have a vision. I am participating in the struggle to have a voice. I am finding a way to make what I most need to find in my life. I am finding myself.
One of my favorite images from the weekend was actually of our amazing Hair & Makeup artist, Talie Ayers. She was sitting there while all of the photographers were running around photographing our amazing models and she looked so peaceful and it was the feeling that I wanted to have in that moment. I asked her to get on the horse (which I found out after was her first time ever on a horse) and gave her very little instruction. I just wanted that look. I wanted that feeling. And she gave it to me.
These are the feelings I want to create in my work. Empowerment. Serenity. Vulnerability. Humility. I don’t know that I can ever write enough about this experience and have it justify the actual feelings I have about it. I don’t know that I will ever find the words to explain. But I do know that I will attempt with every fiber in my being to find the explanation in my work and my life.
We must show up for our own lives. ~ Sabrina Ward Harrison