My Creative Neverland : A Rant.
Lately my brain seems to be moving at about 10,000 miles per minute. It’s as though it has lay dormant for some time and has been awoken by some mysterious force. Something happened and I went through a creative drought. I know what happened, I don’t know that the details are important so much as it is that I felt a kind of emotional pain for some time best not shared with the world at large.
My brain, my heart, my spirit - they’re awake. They are in concert with one another, and they are on fire. It’s been some time since I’ve felt this way. Energized and alive. I’m ready to or already have shed the past that desperately needed shedding and I look toward the future with excitement and vigor, rather than dread and fear. I look at a new challenge and I can’t wait to be sleep deprived.
It may sound ludicrous (oh how I love that word) but some of my best work has happened in that little twilight zone my brain enters when I’ve not slept enough and have been fueled solely on caffeine for just past the right amount of time. This is where I find my creative Neverland. Second brainwave to the right and straight on to insanity. This isn’t about the final product, it doesn’t matter if the lagoon is full of mermaids when I get there - it’s about the flight, about the journey, about what comes between those little hours of “How the hell am I still awake?” and “I’ll see you next Tuesday.”
That’s where my brain absolutely eats. For the last few years every time I picked up my camera it was to either earn a paycheck or because I felt obligated to document something. I lost my inspiration. It wasn’t fun anymore. I lost sight of the fact that when I was 14 years old I said to myself, “When I grow up, I want to take photos for a living. I want to take photos of rock stars for a living. I want to be the visual translation of their music. I want people to see a show - the way I see a show. I want to learn how to light a studio shot from David LaChappelle. I want to shoot Green Day. I want the New Kids on the Block to get back together so I can shoot them. I want to shoot No Doubt. I want to shoot living legends like Bon Jovi. I want to see that no dream is too big and have that be my reality.”
ALL of those things have happened to me, for me, as a part of me. Guess what? For a while there, I forgot that. I forgot that 14 year old girl with her cheap camera in the bowels of the Atlanta music scene. I forgot that she was around for the death rattle of legendary clubs there. I forgot. I got tired, and I got jaded. I got sick of award shows, airplanes, not knowing what day it was or where I was, I got sick of my dream. Instead of continuing to evolve I got stagnant.
Then, I fell in love. I fell in love in a way I didn’t even know was possible. I found myself so connected on a level I didn’t know existed, linked to another human being. I found my opposite half to make me whole. Something I was told by stories would happen someday but I had grown to believe would never happen. It was real, I had found my prince.
Then, I got my heart ripped out. Who cared what photos I had to take. Who cared what I wanted to do to make film. I didn’t know how to feel anymore. I didn’t know what to feel. I did the bare minimum to make sure I stayed afloat, I wandered around like a lost puppy who’d given up looking for their family.
Something happened a few months ago. I picked up my camera for the sake of shooting again. I did a photo shoot I’d been talking about doing for more than a year. I didn’t do it to pay the rent, I didn’t do it to buy anything, I did it because it’s what I do. I interpret what I see in front of me. I create a version of the reality I’m seeing and I preserve it. That’s what I do. I had forgotten that.
Now I’m sleep deprived, and I have to make more hours in the day to get everything done. I have the work that pays the bills and I’m bending over backward to get more, but I have a few other things. I have three ongoing projects in the works at the moment. Three individual projects of photography and a fourth that’s film, and they don’t bring home the bacon. They simply feed my soul. There are trying times ahead of me and all around me. I haven’t felt this alive since I don’t know when.
I have cast off the layers that kept me down creatively and I CAN fly. This is happening and it will happen. I can journey through time and see the world the way my mother did at six years old in 1960. I can channel my frustration and physical health related pain into something that brings awareness to a cause that desperately needs it. I take the innocence that is the foundation of love and document it and put it on display. I can document my journey in these things. I can look at the environments and the people that inspire me and I can say, yeah I’ll see your dream and raise you mine - and I can make these things happen.
How do I know I can? Because I’m a nobody from Atlanta, GA who has only ever had ONE dream die, and that was because the subject of said dream died before I got to him with my camera in an arena. Because I live my dreams every day. Because nothing is beyond my reach. Because I am grateful for the things have happened in my professional and artistic life, and because life doesn’t end just before 30.
Ok, I think I can sleep now.
**The photos in this set are a collection of the shoots that have inspired me and re-invigorated me in the last six months.