Two Beautiful Souls...

Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference..              Robert Frank.

a beautiful soul.jpg

I love when I get to work as a photographer.   There is so much joy to be found in the place where photographs happen.

And these guys, they were so kind, in allowing me to quietly follow them around, trying to capture something of their souls via my camera.

another beautiful soul.jpg

Alex...

I was talking with a wise woman the other night.  Her wisdom quietly blew my mind, as she's only 18 however she's way ahead of where I was at that age.  Ahead of so many, of any age, I suspect.

Her history of achievement is quietly spectacular too, both outdoors and academically.  She's waiting now ... to see which university is for her, based on her results.  Physics and maths are her thing.  But so are days out with friends, laughter, and Pokemon Go.  She's startlingly well-balanced and confident. 

I hesitate to write this but this combination seems like a rare gift in these days.  Her parents, her family ... they played a huge role, I'm sure but nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to how we show up in the world.

Alex and I sat up talking after everyone else had gone to their beds and, much to my surprise, I was gently taken to task for under-valuing my photography.

Although she never said these words, I came away with the idea I should simply get over any doubts that I had then get on with it.  Get on with pursuing my passion for photography, as opposed to pacing up and down on the edge of the pier, wanting to swim but trying to make everything perfect before I leap in. 

Just sell what I do, and talk of what I believe photography is meant to be.  And ohmygoodness, had I heard the story of my life so far??!

But for me, here on the inside of my life, I know all the other stuff.  There's always the pre-leap phase.  And there have been so many times in my life, so far, where I've felt myself back on that pier that heads out into the lake ... pacing.  Wanting to, needing to, jump but so very nervous.

Can I swim well enough?  Sure, but should I wear a life jacket just in case I get into difficulties in the water?  But wait, why not have a small boat in the water, ready to pull me out?  A small boat ... why not a bigger boat, or a cruise ship.  Why not wait, save up and buy a cruise ship and then simply dive into the ship's pool then? 100% success guaranteed ... once I have enough money to buy that big old cruise ship.  

And on it goes, while I remain there on the pier, ready but not committing.

So, to Alex, I write a huge and heartfelt thank you.  You gifted me your idea of me, in that beautifully direct and intelligent way that you have.  Never lose it, never apologise for it.  You're just kind of perfect as you are.

Wishing every success in the years ahead!!  I'm so looking forward to seeing what you do with your life.

From theWomen I Know and Admire Series - Diny Naus

This beautiful series of images popped up on my Facebook wall this morning and I wrote to the photographer, asking if I might share them.  To put them together in this small montage, some cropping was involved.  Apologies to Diny but the story is more about her than about them.  I want it to be about her way of seeing and being, out there in the world ...

Diny and I met when she attended a photography workshop of mine.  She flew in from Hong Kong.  I arrived from Belgium.  Two New Zealanders, together in Genova.  We wandered and became friends.  It turned out there was so very much to admire about her.

Seeing her series from Beijing this morning made me realise, again, just how lucky I am to have women like her come into my life.  The photographs reminded me of the extraordinary privilege in meeting curious courageous wandering women like her.  There have been so many now.  With their permission, I would like to start sharing their stories, and photographs. 

But Diny ... Introducing her series, she wrote, 'Yesterday snapped this guy who'd managed to find his little piece of peace and quiet in this city of 20 million. I showed him the photo and he insisted I get in the hammock so he could shoot me. I love these interactions. Beijing people are very friendly!

And I thought yes, the people are friendly but you have that sparkle, that curiousity, that courage too!  And her eye ... in a city of 20 million she found this oasis of peace :-)

My client base seems to be made up of women living in countries not their own - but not always, I remember that small group of beautiful Genovese women I once spent the day working with in their city.

Women who are over 40 - but sometimes they're not.  They all have this delightful spark though.  Wise women, old souls who share deeply in the atmosphere that forms when women work together.

Women who are single, or have no dependent children, or women whose children are grown - but then again, sometimes none of this is true either.

My clients are women who are quite fearless and full of curiousity.   They are usually intelligent, wise, and laughter is usually a feature of our time spent together.  As is confusion, frustration and delight.

But sometimes it's all about feeling the fear and doing it anyway ... because they don't want to be fearful anymore.  Fearful of traveling alone, fearful of photographing strangers, of asking permission to photograph those strangers, and most of all, fearful of the techno-speak that has confused so many of us when kind men explain things very very technically.

I have to confess that t took me years to break through and learn the simple equation that is how your camera works.  That's what I share during these workshops, the simple equation via a series of exercises.

And so you can see, the workshops always end up being about more than photography.  With Diny, and so many others, I also get to experience the benefits of their wisdom, knowledge and courage. I meet new heroes and role models. 

I came away from my time with her, admiring so much about her and being able to keep up with her stories of life out here in the world ... it's simply inspirational. 

I have this idea that we need more women like her to write of their lives, share the magic while being honest about the struggles too.  Diny does that for me ... and sometimes, on a sunny Monday she gives me permission to share something of the beauty she found in a Chinese city of 20 million.

Grazie mille, Diny.  For both the use of your photographs, and for your friendship.

Event Photography ... a passion of mine

People often ask me, what kind of photography I love best ...

I struggle, in that moment, usually.  I love photography but actually, if I really had to choose one favourite, I suspect I might choose event photography.

I get to roam then, with my beloved 70-200mm lens, and capture people while they are unaware.  People being themselves.  People relaxed and happy, perhaps.

Those 3 months I spent working in Berlin ... they offered up some of the best event photography moments so far.  And weddings, or parties.  Any event that allows me to just work on capturing the soul of a person, there on their face, as they go about their day.

To capture a beautiful portrait is incredibly satisfying. 

A Taste of Photography Workshopping with Me ...

Made 2 years ago, this short video gives you a sense of how it is on one of my photography workshops for women ... here in Antwerp, Belgium.

I am happy to try and fit in with your travel plans in both Belgium and Italy.

Contact me to know more.

Something New ...

I went out with my camera, just for a moment or two, and was lost in our tiny little pocket-sized Belgian garden here in the city of Antwerp.

I loved the way photographing the shadows of plants became, very much, about painting with light ...

The word "photography" was created from the Greek roots φωτός (phōtos), genitive of φῶς (phōs), "light"[2] and γραφή (graphé) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing",[3] together meaning "drawing with light".

Source: Wikipedia.