I thought it might be fun to have a few guest posts* on the blog while I’m neck-deep in book writing, so I’ve asked a few pals to tell us why creativity is so important in their lives. I’ll still be popping by for the occasional tiny hello (and photos, of course) and I also have a couple of fantastic Creative Life interviews up my sleeve too. I’m thinking of all of you as I write these chapters, thinking about what you’d want to know and what will be helpful. I’m being as honest as i can, and continually pushing myself to dig deeper, down into the guts of healing and creativity. There’s no map to where i’m headed so i’m making it up as i go along :)
Now, on with the show! My first guest poster is the indomitable and fabulous, Ms Sas Lockey…
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The first time I took a photo of myself as an adult, was when I Unravelled. It was bloody terrifying. And it necessitated many minutes (okay, an hour) spent doing my hair and make-up. Because even though I spend every day wearing my face in the world, taking a photo felt (still feels sometimes) very different.
Like many people, my relationship with the camera has not been a happy one. I was so self-conscious as a child, so awkward and uncomfortable in my body, family photos of me show a dour and sunburnt child with a tangled ginger ‘fro from the New Zealand beach air. Images of teenage me painfully show the increasing awareness of how unattractive I felt. I look so miserable. And these were the vignettes my dear Gran chose to enlarge and frame for her wall (aka: Hallway of Shame). The whole business of taking photos became associated with feeling completely rotten about myself.
Since then about thirty years has gone past. And because of everything that has happened to me, I have managed to let go of so much fear and learn how to be my own best friend. And living this knowledge makes me feel a little bit like wonder woman; as though I have a glorious secret.
But even with my grown-up knowledge and confidence, it has taken me the longest time to be comfortable in front of and behind a camera. As a blogger, I have always used words to tell my story, it wasn’t until Unravelling that I even considered that pictures can do this too! When I upgraded my battered and scratched blackberry to an iPhone, a switch was flicked: it was so convenient to always have a zippy little camera in my pocket. I found I was noticing EVERYTHING.
Now I see photos all over the place: mundane everyday things like the contents of my breakfast bowl or a stack of books. I am so much more aware of detail: dappled light on a stone wall, trees dipping into the river, street signs. I have taken so many photos of our cats, Rex and Badger, they actually pose now. With props.
Apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic have made it so easy to experiment. I have a Posterous site that I post my photos to (this took minutes to set up, it’s really easy!), and now there is an extra thrill from sharing what I see.
When I first met Susannah, there were several occasions where I would find myself smiling reassuringly at strangers on the street, in case they thought I was Bonkers Talking-To-Herself Lady, when it was just that I had kept walking and talking and Sus had paused a minute earlier to polaroid a rusty abandoned van. I have always been so impressed (and a bit envious) that she sees beauty everywhere.
Now I completely understand that joy of creating something, just by pointing and clicking. And it has completely shifted my perspective of how I see my little corner of the universe.
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Blogging at Sas’ Magical Mystery Tour and tweeting as @saslockey, Sas is a London-dwelling, ex-pat kiwi. By day she tackles government officials and tech-savvy geeks (usually wearing red pants). Off duty, Sas is an avid reader, driven by curiosity. She is fascinated by proper science, philosophy and the possibility of aliens. Sas is coulrophobic. She does not have an Etsy store.
[photos by Sas – portrait of Sas by me]
* all guest post slots have now been allocated. Thanks to everyone who’s enquired!
Kudos to Sas for this beautiful post! When I read this line, it truly hit home for me, “. . . And because of everything that has happened to me, I have managed to let go of so much fear and learn how to be my own best friend.” To learn how to be my own best friend. Powerful. I love that. Thank you so much for sharing your story. :D
This is fantastic. Even my toddler-self knew I hated being in front of the camera; I’d cry as soon as one was pointed at me, each raccoon-eyed pic is proof. Growing up I didn’t come to like it any better. I still don’t really. And while I am now a photographer I don’t think I’ve taken the time to pause as often as I should have to notice the beauty around me, but thanks to Unraveling and my little iphone I too am stopping, noticing, and appreciating so much more. Love your view of the world, both in words and photos. :)
Sas – now I KNOW I want to cross the pond to meet you! xoxo
I agree that Sus’ Unravelling is amazing! It’s the beautiful women like you who embrace her challenge to see ourselves in a different light and share it so others will try too!!
Hi Susannah, thanks so much for introducting me to Sas’s magical photos and blog. I too was painfully shy to have my picture taken not only as a child but in my 20’s and 30’s as well. Looking back I do not have many photos of myself which I regret now. Sas, your photos are wonderful. Do you take most of them with our iPhone?
Ah yes, cheers to seeing beauty everywhere. What a valuable trait and a contagious one too. Thank you for bringing it to light with your words.
selfies are terrifying – one of the reasons i haven’t quite worked up my nerve to unravel
Hello Jan – yes everything on the posterous site is an iPhone photo. I have the snazzy version 4 and I think this has quite a good camera but I am not sure about the technical detail.
I also have a canon SLR that is gathering dust in a cupboard. Time for eBay me thinks :)
Charlene I know what you mean (I didn’t realise I would be taking selfies when I enrolled!). But it’s a very gentle supportive journey, and you will feel GORGEOUS once you’ve done it.
Seeing beauty everywhere means also finding it in the mirror :)
It is grand to read the Unravelling course has a profound effect both on how you view yourself as the subject of photos and your relationship with pictures as a medium. I also love that you are your own best friend!
I am a couple of weeks into the course and am loving it but do feel a bit of a fraud around so many inspiring women who shoot super photos but dry up where words are concerned. As a person of words with eyes that see with the skewed perspective reminiscent of Cezanne, it is the other way round…
PS – Fascinated to read that the iPhone threw a switch in the brain. I have been trying to justify indulging in one, especially since starting Unravelling… This endorsement may just galvanise me…
Meg, I always thought I resembled the lesser known paintings from when Picasso first embraced cubism :)
I think everyone that delves into Unravelling could relate to those feelings of being an imposter but I think that if we all feel like that then we cancel each others fraudy feelings out!
Also I should say I am not on commission from Apple – but having a pretty decent camera in my
pocket at all times certainly helped with embracing the point and clickage.
Fun post, Sas. :) Self-portraits are tricky for so many reasons. Mainly, I simply forget to do them. I started feeling intrigued with them during Unravelling also. I need to do more. My favorite is when I take one where I look horrible and someone else thinks I look good in it. It makes me wonder if I look like that more than I’d like to think?…
…and ha! I guess I’m coulrophobic too. Those things are super creepy.