Be Seen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I've been seeing and listening more,
to the subtle vibrations of a family. . .
having recently become a "stellar" observer of people.
(I use that term loosely. . .admittedly, I'm not "stellar" at much.)
Well, except maybe, taking pictures.:)
It's fun, actually.  Studying people.
I have no plans to get a degree in it, but have become and am always overly aware of the people that float in and out of my days, how they move, operate, communicate.
Verbally and physically.
My tedious self-obsession (which yes, is mildly there still,)
is super old.  And lame.
I'd rather sit closely and saddle up hip to hip with someone much cooler and more interesting,
than my own ego.
Not the invade-your-personal-space kind of close. . .that's creepy.
Just, you know, with my guard down and my heart open, in pure observance.
The ash and soot and grey of years of anxiety and melancholy-ness that had blinded my eyes, now finally scrubbed away, 
has revealed so much. 
There's so much to see!
It's so interesting to me, to watch the subtle mannerisms of someone I've known my whole life.
The quiet behaviors. . .ticks, hair twists, crossing and uncrossing of arms and legs, 
the constant figeting of scarves,
the terse grabbing for and wrapping of loose cardigans over hidden muffin tops.
(I do that.)
How hard it is for us to sit and be and be vulnerable under someone's gaze.
To allow ourselves to really be SEEN.
And be okay with that.
But we keep our eyes, our hands, our bodies always moving,
for fear if we slow down, they'll see us and every thing in between.
I treasure the rare friends I have, who are brilliant at listening.
Who can sit across from me,
lock eyes, nod in agreement or disagreement, 
but listening intently, all the while.
Oh my God, that feels so good.  To talk without interruption and have someone's complete attention.  And return the same.
Rarely do we sit still and just LOOK at one another and REALLY listen and SEE each other, 
without judgement or irritation or formulating a response or defense or downright zoning out. . .halfhearted listening.
Either way, I've come to see us all simply, 
as kids.
That's all we are. 
A sweet, little 6-year-old who was left out or left alone too often.
A lovely 16-year-old that was never asked to prom or never quite "fit in."
Now maybe a 30-something carrying all our past pain, hurt, heartbreak, loss,
like an awkward and ugly fanny pack we don't want anyone to see,
but really, can't hide.
Trying to BE something in adulthood, 
tough and competitive and aloof, but feeling so weak and insecure underneath.
I completely get it.  100%.
Just kids.  No matter what age.  Just wanting to be ourselves and be loved unconditionally, to be accepted and to "fit in,"
to be appreciated.
What I love about photography is the ability we have to capture the most quiet of these human nuances.
In no way to EXPOSE each other and our faults or foibles.
But to frame that innocence we all possess, the short distance of space
where we let our guard down and allow ourselves to be seen.
As a photographer, I try to do that without making things uncomfortable.
Sometimes at the beginning of a session, especially with dads,
{who rarely, if EVER want to be there in the first place,}
they are tense and rigid.  Just let's get this over with already.
Depsite their beautiful healthy children and doting wife,
they are cool and distant, always mildly annoyed.
But after some talking, some gentle instruction, some space allowed,
they settle.
Settle in to themselves and their beautiful, imperfect life.
And that makes me so happy.
Especially with men, for some reason, to watch them come down from being the stoic provider, the lifting arms of the family, 
and be TOTALLY vulnerable in the arms of their little girl, 
or allowing their small son to kiss them square on the lips.
Oh, I love that.
To see people just being who they are, never mind the time the session is taking away from the work they hoped to get done that afternoon, the game that's on, or anything else that would be much more comfortable than being posed on a log by a total stranger.
What I LOVE about a project I recently did,
{if you haven't seen it, here it is,}

is the release that can be found from. . .exposure.
From showing up and bearing our heart and soul, 
whether through words or physically just showing up, no matter how uncomfortable we feel,
and being fully engaged, no matter who sees, nor caring how we're perceived or judged.  
I was able to do that for myself,
{ah, as if I don't do that enough here.}
But, as always, 
speaking from the heart and giving people a little glimpse in to what fuels my passion for photography.
The two individuals that helped me do this, are unbelievable.
They are those people. . .that can sit down across from you, and JUST BE.
Just sit.  And listen.  And let you talk. 
And then make sense of it in a story.
Not only did their talents combined help me convey why I love what I do,
but also (I think,) perfectly portray ME and the woman I am.
JUST LISTENING goes such a long way.
From being present with me and all MY own idiosyncrasies, fidgets and ways of communicating,
they were able to relay my story in a way I never could have on my own.

I recently walked the spring-soaked streets of our town,
in and out of dirty snow banks and lake-size puddles,
popping in and out of storefronts, my little Superman in tow.
He had clothes underneath and I could've very easily taken the costume off before heading out in public.
But I couldn't.
I just wanted to allow him to be who he is.  All the sweetness you can pack in to a 4-year-old,
exploding with enthusiasm and excitement and energy and imagination.
This brief period in life where we don't care about anything, 
other than what's happening right now.
He just is.  A kid. 
Who knows he's loved no matter what. 
He traipsed the streets as a superhero for an afternoon,
hand in mine, which oh, I love so much. 
And I was so happy to be walking side by side, 
with someone who teaches me daily,
how to just be.
Fellow moms and store clerks ogled over him. . .
"I remember those days.  They grow so fast."
"You look so strong, buddy!"
He just smiled and kept on about his business.
Hearing the praise and recognition, but not letting it effect him in any way.
It's these photographs, 
the ones you see of MY family as well as yours,
that supply us with a lifetime's worth of joy, love, happiness, relief and renewed hope for the future, just by having them.
From the small adjustment of a frame on a shelf, a page in an album,
we can go back for a moment.
And live those beautiful moments of life all over 
and be constantly reminded of what we need more of, how to live and how to just, be.
If you're looking for someone who will sit down, listen and pour their heart in to telling YOUR story, whether it be your wedding story, the story of your business or your life,
go here

If you loved watching my story and journey into photography, 
'like' Storyteller Videography's FB page to follow along with future updates and more stories.

{To Mike Thole and Beau Leslie of eMotion Cinematography, unending thanks.}


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