Who are You When Everything is Stripped Away?
What a big question, hey? And kind of scary. Cause who wants to have everything stripped away? And yet so many of us are having exactly that experience. Our jobs, our financial security, our friends, our extended family, physical touch, freedom of movement, travel, and more. It’s a lot. And it can cause a bit of an identity crisis, I think, cause when we find the things that give us our sense of self stripped away, it can cause us to feel lost, and to wonder who we really are. Are any of you feeling that?
Or perhaps you are finding yourself completely inspired, or you are an introvert and are loving this time of being “stuck” at home. Perhaps you have found new ways of being, of working, of creating that are giving you new life! Maybe by having something stripped away it has shown you how much you actually love and miss that thing…or something new!
Or maybe you are somewhere in the middle. You still have your job, it just looks really different than it did before. You are trying to figure out how to work online, with your family all around you, and you actually have MORE to do than before, and you have no time to think about such existential questions!
Or maybe some of you have lost a loved one to Coronavirus, or to some other cause during this time of quarantine, and you are grieving, and struggling with some big questions of “why”, or grieving that you cannot properly grieve with family and friends during this time. Or maybe you never got to say goodbye…
And so, when everything is stripped away, what is left? Who are we?
Or if you are being brought to life, who are you becoming?
For me, this time of quarantine has been one of re-affirming my calling to photography. Because for me, that’s what photography is. It’s not just a job, or a hobby, it is a calling. It is something I feel I need to do, that is bigger than a job…it is how I can contribute to the world. It is the gift and talent God has given me to make a difference in the world.
I have felt myself bursting with creativity during this time. I really felt like I was supposed to start this challenge…that it was a calling…and that maybe someone really needed it. And I have a few other ideas that I am working on as well…I’ll keep you posted on those! :) I feel so alive, and full of joy! I love my life. I love the things that I am working on. I wake up in the morning eager to get to work! It is a great “place” to be. And it’s been a long time since I have felt this way, so I don’t take it for granted. I have gone through a very hard season of life over the past 4 years, but even more than that…I feel like in many ways, the last 10 years of my life have been really hard in different ways. During those years, there were many days I had to fight just to keep my head above water. Joy felt very far away. So please don’t think I don’t understand pain. I certainly do, and if that is the season you are in, I am so sorry. I know how hard it is to live in those seasons when it feels there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
But I have also learned that in those dark, hard times, when we feel like we are being stripped down to nothing emotionally and spiritually, God is working in and on us. He is stripping things away that we don’t need anymore. He is building new things into us, even when we can’t see it. He is causing us to question the status quo, and leading us into deeper ways of being. He is doing good and beautiful things, if we let Him. You may not feel like good things are being done in you, but eventually, with time, as you come out of the dark, and the light begins to shine again, you will see new growth in yourself. You may even begin to bloom and flourish! I know right now it feels impossible, but rest. Let God work in the dark places of your soul. It’s okay. Feel the pain. Grieve the losses. Wrestle with the “why’s”.
These are the photos that inspired this challenge. I loved how with a slow shutter speed and camera motion, multiple faces appeared in each image, or the images shifted, one into another. To me, this represents how when our sense of self, or our identity is stripped away, we find something deeper. Our identity shifts and changes. Maybe there is a new you, just waiting inside. Waiting for the darkness to be over before she emerges. Into the light.
Challenge #8 - Colour!
This weekend we are going to focus on colour! You are going to choose one colour, photograph images based on that colour and create a collage of those images (6-9 images would be perfect). There are numerous apps you can use to create a collage. “Layout” by Instagram is a good one, but if you search, I’m sure there are many others.
Be creative with this. Don’t just go, “Oh! There’s a red plate. I’ll take a picture of the plate.” Think about how you could photograph that plate in a unique way. Could you shoot it from a different angle than how we usually look at plates? Could you shoot just part of the plate, so that it becomes more of an abstract photo, or about the geometry of the plate? Try and think outside the box, and create a unique colour-based collage for us!
For some inspiration, you can check out the book that I created based on colours in my city HERE. Or check out Nichole Robertson’s work HERE. She did a project called Paris in Color, which is what first got ME inspired to try this idea. Her work is so creative and beautiful! Use these resources to get your creative juices flowing! And create something colourful!