Ole, Ole, Ole

One of the oldest and most generous tricks that the universe plays on human beings is to bury strange jewels within us all and then stand back to see if we can ever find them….Elizabeth Gilbert

I watched one of my favourite ever Ted talks again yesterday.  If you’ve never watched a Ted talk, they are short snippets of inspiration from people from all walks of life and are easy to find on Google.  If you only ever watch one in your whole life…..make it the talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on the creative process.  It’s brilliant! If you watch it, you’ll also understand the title of this particular blog.

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love amongst other books.  This book was snapped up by the film industry and made into a movie with Julia Roberts which I absolutely loved.  This particular talk references her success with this book but also her battle to come to terms with trying to equal that success.  But the talk is so much more than that.

The talk goes on to reference that inner something that creatives have that doesn’t feel quite human. That something special that helps you create a piece of work that you feel was inspired or guided by something greater than yourself.  Over the years it has been called a Muse or a Genius.  Whatever we call it, I’m sure you have all created something in your life that you feel you were merely a channel for.

I certainly feel that a lot with my creations.  Some I plod away and work until it comes together.. Other times, my ego and my conscious being seems to step aside and allow something much greater to take control of the process. Those tend to be the really special pieces.  Of course it’s me there.. and of course I took the photo with a plan in mind but suddenly that plan seems to be touched by a stroke of “genius” and the image then takes a shape that I couldn’t have possibly done while my ego was in charge.

I’m sure some people think this is a crazy notion but I know there are times that images or ideas have come from a place other than my logical brain.  The last few weeks, my dreams have been full of ideas, some weird, some fantastic.  I haven’t rejected any of them.  One I had is so weird that I woke up thinking, No Way.. that’s just stupid.. and dozed off again to be told again that I had to make it.  I woke up again and rejected it yet again only to doze off again and repeat the process another 3 or 4 times.  I finally gave in and said, yes, I will make it.  I told a friend about it and she felt that my Muse has a very warped sense of humour but that’s okay.  If I only ever created work that was safe, I’d never step out of my comfort zone, so against my logical mind, I will create the work and let you know when it’s done.

But it’s also been full of ideas whether they come in the form of a vision of the finished work or just a title and I’m absolutely loving the ideas (or most of them) that I’m being given. I think it’s happening because I’ve finally stop trying to be in charge of the creative process and I’m just going with the flow and allowing it to happen.  I’ve also been trying my hand at different types of art too, away from the computer.  These have been costumes and props for photo shoots but have become works of art on their own merit.  I honestly believe this has opened up my mind more fully to hear and accept the snippets that my Muse throws my way.

2017 is going to be my busiest year ever I think.  I have some work in an exhibition at the moment and have another 5 pieces I’m creating for another one in April/May.  I am currently planning my first solo exhibition which will consist of 30 – 40 pieces and have another series of photos on the go at the same time. Of course, the greatest and most exciting creation of all is happening in June when I become a grandmother for the first time. I’m so excited by that particular event that I can barely breathe when I think about it.

So in preparation, I am making myself a home studio at the  moment.  I don’t have a lot of room here but I do have a wall that is perfect to set up a backdrop. I’ll probably be quiet over the next week or so while that area is prepared and I start to plan for Christmas.  I’m hoping I’ll at least get a Christmas image done amongst the other chaos.  These are a few of the props I’ve been creating lately..

 

What’s Your Story?

That’s what storytellers do.  We restore order with imagination.  We instil hope again and again….Walt Disney in Saving Mr Banks

I watched Saving Mr Banks again the other night.  I just love the movie.  Yes I’m sure it’s not a completely factual representation of how Walt Disney got PL Travers to sign over the Mary Poppins books to him, but I do know it’s based heavily on fact as the tapes made on her insistence during production meetings are still available and are a big part of what the movie was based on. And it means the world to me as Mary Poppins was the first book I ever read, albeit the read along with the record version.

As most of you will know, I am definitely a Disney tragic.  I love all things Disney.  I guess I instilled that same love into my children.  Before she died, my daughter Aimee’s dream was to become an animator with the Disney corporation.  Both my sons are as obsessed by Disney movies as I am and we often watch the classics over and over again.  Most of my favourite quotes are straight from Disney’s mouth.  And of course, like most kids born in the 50’s and 60’s, I longed to be adopted by Walt himself.  Not that I didn’t love my own parents but he was Walt Disney and his whole persona screamed gentle to me.

I suppose it’s not a great surprise that I like to consider myself a storyteller, as was my Grandmother before me.  Gargie would tell us stories of the old country and those stories made me feel that when I finally went to Ireland, I was coming home.  There is something special about a storyteller.  We all have it in us to tell the stories but some do more than tell the story, they add the romance and mystery that pulls us into it and makes us want to stay there.

Storytelling is as old as man himself.  The cavemen drew their stories in picture form on the walls of caves.  Each culture has passed it’s stories on to generation after generation to ensure it’s history is never forgotten.  Fairytales are part of our psyche.  Not every storyteller writes.  They may tell their story with words or in song or dance.  They may paint it or create it in some other form.  They may even act it out.  Storytelling is not just about writing a book.  I love writing.  I love creating.  I love photographing. I love singing.  I love acting.  These are all part of my love of storytelling.

I like to think that my gift in life… that thing that makes me unique, is the way I tell stories both in words and in pictures.  Others tell stories too. Wonderful inspiring stories,  but they are different to mine.  Not necessarily worse, not necessarily better, just different.  Their experiences are different so of course their stories and the way they tell them will be different.

2017 is going to be very much a year of storytelling.  New stories, old stories, real stories, imaginative stories.   I have so many exciting things happening and I intend documenting all the new and exciting things as well as continuing to tell the stories of old.  Bring it on I say.

To celebrate the new year, I’ve put together a bit of a presentation on what I believe storytelling to be and why it’s so important to us as a society.  We all have a story to tell.  What’s yours?

 

 

 

In This Life, I Dance

In my last life, I had wings and could soar above the earth… In this life I have no wings, so I   dance…..Livonne

Last night I had the great pleasure of doing some event photography for  Blue Mountains Cancer Help who hosted a Celebration of Dance.  The beautiful and talented Kirsty from KLB Images happily volunteered as well and joined me for the night to ensure we captured as much as possible.  The dancers were swept up amid a swirl of music and colour and the audience were mesmerised.  Some amazing lighting & effects were provided on the night by Purple Sky Productions. There was line dancing, belly dancing, tap, highland, zumba and so many other styles of movement all being undertaken by people of all ages. It was fantastic.

At one stage, I went behind the stage to capture the beautiful Porcelain Rose and company in an absolutely breathtaking Vintage Fan Dance.  Fate was smiling on me as unbeknownst to me, Kirsty had the same idea on the other side of the stage. As it was dark, we couldn’t see each other but we must have been working in sync (as we often do) as we took a picture at exactly the same time.  Imagine my delight when I looked at the screen and realise her flash had flooded my photo with amazing backlight,  resulting in a beautiful, ethereal image.

I was so excited by it, that I couldn’t resist playing with it a bit more.  I love that sometimes, things work in such synchronicity and the results are always amazing.  So while I should have continued editing the other photos of the night (which you can find on my Facebook page ), I got carried away and waved my Photoshop wand, and voila… suddenly I’m in my safe place, amongst feathers, fairy dust and angel rays.  Life is wonderful!

in-this-life-i-dance