Images

One step at a time

I’ve discovered a peace in my life lately that has settled into my soul.

Unshakeable, unbreakable, yet fragile and vulnerable. That’s how I feel.

I can look back on my life and see moment after moment of brokenness, but moment after moment after moment of the light breaking into that dark brokenness. I want to be real. I want to be genuine. I want people to know that they are loved; That I love them; That the love that pours out of me is an outpouring of the love I’ve been given.

How much do I share from my heart? How much of my soul do I bare? Somedays, the darkness is unbearable and all I can do is cry out one single word. “Jesus!” He just knows. I know that some of you who may read this don’t share my beliefs. I don’t care, because I’ll love you just the same. But if I could only express the comfort in knowing in those dark, dark moments that He knows and loves me despite my shortcomings.. Oh.. if I could only share that with the world.

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I’m not sorry for what I’m about to say.

There’s a part of me inside that is wanting to curl up and hide somewhere instead of writing this post. But another part of me has been screaming loudly, boiling my blood, reminding me that words like these must be spoken, no matter the hour, no matter the potential loss. I’m shaking as I write this because I’m scared of how this could be taken.  But I’m writing it because I’m scared of a world where we don’t speak up.

Earlier, I was out with some friends at the bar. A young woman walked in wearing a beautiful sundress, walking in heels. Some of the people seated at my table made faces at each other, and when they saw me catch their gaze in disdain, the justification was this “She wanted us to look at her if she came the bar dressed like that.”

Shock.

Anger.

Hurt.

Disappointment.

Silence.

Deafening Silence. I couldn’t say a word.

So the only logical reason that she was dressed up was for your visual stimulation? Since when are women only allowed to wear what you’ve dictated as “suitable bar clothing” without “inviting” lewd eye gawking and stupid comments? And dressing nicely suddenly means she’s a slut, or asking for attention? We’ve definitely come a long way in our modern era.

1 in 4 women are victims of sexual assault or know someone who has been a victim.

Common statements made by the perpetrators?( http://project-unbreakable.org/)

“It wasn’t rape, you were being such a tease.”

“You know you want it”

Now some of you are thinking, “Whoa, it’s just a girl at the bar. It’s just some dudes admiring her from afar. This isn’t rape.”

You’re right. It’s not. But it also isn’t really admiring her, because what was said to me revealed a lot more than what they thought of her appearance.

What that statement is doing is perpetrating the mentality that women are inviting disrespect and degradation in how they act or how they dress.  In fact, a person’s inability to honour a human being as a human being and not as a piece of meat tells me that they aren’t much more than a piece of flesh themselves. Let me tell you something about rape. It’s dehumanizing. It leaves the victim feeling completely worthless. The biggest struggle? Self-blame. Shame. Guilt. Self-hatred. Where does this come from? hmm.. I wonder. Perhaps it is this idea that a violating action or a debasing comment is somehow NOT the violator or the speaker’s fault because it was somehow provoked.

Let me ask you this, is it OK for a human being to ever be degraded below their fundamental worth? Because when I listen to you tear apart a girl because “her face isn’t hot, but she’s got great cannons” it shocks me. Then it disappoints me. It used to silence me because I didn’t want to be labelled as that girl who is “too uptight” or “takes things too seriously.”

I’m done letting people talk about other human beings like that.

I’m done being silent.

I’m not going to apologize for taking human worth “too seriously.”

So I’m not sorry at all.

Photogenic

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As a photographer, I often hear words like Photogenic.

It’s a word we use so often in positive regards to others, “Wow, you’re so photogenic!” And use it almost always to enforce a negative connotation on ourselves. “I’m not a photogenic person at all.” It breaks my heart to hear people talk about themselves this way.

Do you know what the word Photogenic means?

At it’s latin roots:
Photo: Light        -genic: Produced by, given life by

So essentially, it means to “give life by light,” or as Jesh DeRox puts it, “Light coming through life.”

You have a life that’s worthy of being remembered.

As a photographer, and especially as a lover of people, it’s my heart’s passion and desire to capture that glimmer of genuine life shining through and to capture that essence of who you are.

There is no such thing as a photogenic person, just a person.

You’re unique. Your heart, your life, your passions; you shine with a light that will never be shone again by another other being. Let it show. It’s beautiful.

You embody “photogenic”, you are its definition.

Photography is completely dependent on light. Some of us work with natural lighting, some of us have learned how to manipulate it. How we get the lighting isn’t the point. The point is that we can’t get a photo without that light.

In the same way, I would say that my photos are nothing without your light. Are you willing to let it shine, show me your heart?

I will keep trying to share mine with the world.  I promise.

loveehjae

Knowing Your Worth

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As someone in the art industry, I’ve struggled with feeling adequate. There are incredibly talented people everywhere around me. The even more amazing thing is how inclusive and supportive the art community is! We are there for each other, and though people seem to believe that the photography industry is cutthroat, I’ve had a completely different experience.However, it can be so tiresome to feel uninspired and after hearing clients choosing someone else after you’ve poured your heart into showing them what you offer, the rejection can really hurt. Because we are artists, we express our hearts and souls into our work- having a client turn us down isn’t really about the money.  It can really feel like they are rejecting us, our hearts, our passions.. it sucks.

Writing this post has been and up and down battle for me, (should I write it or not?) but I recently shared something on one of our wonderful Facebook networking pages for photographers and found myself hilariously inspired by the words that I supposedly wrote.  I started thinking about what I wrote on that page.  It began with a post that had been shared expressing disappointment when a client choosing to go another direction, and wondering what to say in response. The number of replies and people who had also experienced this was overwhelming.

In response to the post, I wrote “I try to think of potential clients in the same way that I view potential boyfriends: if they don’t want me enough to pursue me and take me as I am, then I don’t want them.” Now in saying that, it’s hard to remember that even in the context of dating relationships. But I adamantly stand by this, and many ladies (and guy friends) in my life can attest to the fact that I do. If someone doesn’t want you, then you don’t want them.

The reason I share this is because since doing so, I’ve realized that I’m now on the other side of the dark valley of believing that no one would like my work, or that they wouldn’t be willing to hire me.  The funny thing about being in that valley was that it was because I didn’t truly believe in my own worth as an artist. So why would anyone else?

You have worth. Your art is unique and beautiful and it’s a tangible piece of your heart that the world gets to see. That’s more incredible than we allow ourselves to acknowledge sometimes. Just remember that when you get a disappointing email or phone call.

We have to take that journey of discovering our own art.   Once we do, we will begin to find our own worth and from there– others will catch on as well, and those people are the ones that we want around.

 

loveehjae