36/365: my sky

i love what he wrote about my sky!


Your sky

The ocean sky echos its temper,

Grey when stormy,

Blue when calm.


The mountains' skyline, 

brings out their magnificence,

elicits their splendor.


Your sky faithfully reflects you,

Well organized in squares, 

with all that softness 

and beauty inside.

you are beautiful


"you are beautiful!" myriam exclaimed as i walked into camp registration. who me? she can't be talking to me. we proceeded to have a transformative conversation that night: beauty is about letting ones inner light *shine* through. it is not about what's on the outside, the physical ... it's all about what's on the inside. i know this t-h-e-o-r-e-t-i-c-a-l-l-y but, ohhhhhh, i could see the storm brewing. so THIS is my secret reason why i came to camp.

i've known for many years that i am not my body and that i (and everyone and everything) am soul, spirit. i had my spiritual awakening the night my mom passed 9 years ago. 

but it's a whole other thing to really grok ... not when i look at others, but when i look at myself. many/most/all? of us are so hard on ourselves and so loving with others. we see their inner beauty. we see their hopes and dreams and tenderness. but when i look in the mirror, i see chubby cheeks, small eyes, thin lips, extra pounds, and on and on. and i hear my mom's unknowing words of many years ago jangling around in my head ... "i wouldn't consider you beautiful, but you're interesting-looking."

what i so needed -- and didn't even know i needed -- i got from myriam the first night of camp, so naturally, so very effortlessly: you. are. beautiful. 

the minute our hosts tracey, myriam and jen started talking, i knew this experience was going to be about so much more than the technicalities of photography: intentions, secret wishes, poetry, permission, passion, sharing, seeing and being seen, gratitude. and beauty.

before reading several soulful poems out loud to the group, myriam mentioned "this is especially for hillary" more than once. she could see that i really needed to get this. i know this poem well, but i obviously needed to hear it again, and apply it to myself: 


Love After Love by Derek Walcott

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other's welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.



when i looked at every single one of my fellow shutter sisters at camp, i could so clearly see their beauty:


siobhan ria


when i asked tracey the first night which class i should take, "composition" or "self-portraits," she blurted, "you? self-portraits." 

my comfort zone stared me down. i knew i had to do this, to go toward the scariest thing.

fortunately i was in safe hands. taught by the lovely meredith, i learned that making self-portraits is not the height of narcissism as i had thought in the past (this judgment a sure sign i was really just scared of it). now i know it's quite the opposite, in fact. making self-portraits is a high act of self care, self love. of really seeing my inner self and honoring that. of seeing my truth, my story, not other people's stories about myself. about seeing my inner beauty. ohhhh. 

self-portraitohhhh. so THAT'S why i came to camp.

to learn that i, too, am beautiful.

older now


so i'm fifty now. older now. wiser sometimes. 

more and more, i find myself. find myself wanting myself. wanting what's really in there. to come out. 

as for the others, they may see me as old. 

i see me as me.


found this poem just now. another moment of serendipity. they happen more and more ...


WEATHERING by fleur adcock

My face catches the wind

from the snow line

and flushes with a flush

that will never wholly settle.

Well, that was a metropolitan vanity,

wanting to look young forever, to pass.

I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty

and only pretty enough to be seen

with a man who wanted to be seen

with a passable woman.


But now that I am in love

with a place that doesn't care

how I look and if I am happy,

happy is how I look and that's all.

My hair will grow grey in any case,

my nails chip and flake,

my waist thicken, and the years

work all their usual changes.


If my face is to be weather beaten as well,

it's little enough lost

for a year among the lakes and vales

where simply to look out my window

at the high pass

makes me indifferent to mirrors

and to what my soul may wear

over its new complexion.

photoflow: words + pictures

i'm kind of crazy about adding words to photos. i LOVE (whole body shudder) finding the *right* words for a certain image. and the *placement* of the words in the photo, or next to the photo. then choosing the *font*. the *size* and *shape* of the letters. the *color* of the letters. sometimes i even use *more than one font* in the same photo. ooooooo!!!!! ohhhhh! i iove it so. and as i continue with words + photos in my 'wisdom words' series, i love it even more.

i've never had any formal design training. can't even remember when exactly i first picked up the text tool in photoshop. certainly it wasn't when i was a photojournalist. must've been when i started my boutique stock photography agency see jane run. i created my own marketing materials. (heck, i did everything.) and i didn't know how. i just banged around until i figured it out, or figured out who to ask for help. 

i'm still learning where to get great fonts (i've downloaded some at 1001freefonts.com and dafont.com). then i had to learn where to move the downloads on my computer so the fonts would show up in the drop down menu (Library - Fonts folder). i know, pretty basic huh. i really don't know what i'm doing. but i know i LOVE what i'm doing. 

in an e-chat with tracey clark with our fellow picture winter attendees, i asked tracey how she got here in her career. she said something like "i just followed the whims of my passions." wow. and look where she is now: founder of shutter sisters, uber popular e-photo course instructor at big picture classes, writer, photographer, etc etc etc! she is lovely and deserves it all. 

oft times, it's murky waters finding our passions. but this words + picture thing? no bout a dout it, this is my passion. one of em. all mine. purely truly mine. from the core of me mine. not whispering but shouting through my whole body: I LOVE THIS!!!!! 

so i can't NOT do this. and so i begin. and i try. and i learn. and i do. most important, i do.  

i add to wisdom words once a week, sometimes more. creating those pieces is always a completely pleasure-ful creative endeavor. 

being in creative flow is the ultimate place to be, and a few nights ago that's exactly where i was: playing with words and images, the ones you see in this post. 

i'm thinking of adding a new line of greeting cards with words.

someday, i'd like to add more than a few words ... my own words of wisdom. 

would love to hear what you think of the words + photos? words + photos on cards?

i'd appreciate SO MUCH any tips about using the text tool and words + photos design in general. and where do you get great fonts? 

thanks friends!

If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera. 

~Lewis Hine