I have FINALLY come up for air for a moment from the crazy Wedding Season madness of consultations, planning meetings, shooting and editing (which I adore by the way ha ha) to share some EXCITING stuff that I have had simmering behind the scenes.
So ... back in March this year I was contacted by one of the amazingly talented Producers with Houston Public Media (Tomeka Weatherspoon) who discussed a project she was working on which was to film and feature Creative Artists following them through the planning and creation process on a project they were working on.
I had a gallery art show planned for August and had to that point been procrastinating (drowning in wedding goodness) so hadn't created much in the way of new "Art Work". I figured not only was this an amazing opportunity but also a great excuse to light a fire under my butt to get my new series together.
I had a lot of "pretty" and cool ideas that had been swimming around in my head but I had noticed in the past year that much of the work I'd been creating for myself that were purely from my gut without thinking too much had started to take on a slight "dark" feel, even if just noticeable to me. The more I really brainstormed and sketched out concepts, I kept coming back to all these images that were born from some very real and RAW emotions in myself ... Pain, loneliness, abandonment, loss, overwhelming feelings ... I knew what I wanted to do.
We all have our life stories, we all have our wounds and scars, our crosses to bare and demons to let go of ... I find that through my art I can pour that out, I can peek inside myself at that little box we all hide away and seldom open, the place I had stuffed a lifetime of past hurts, failings and fears like that junk drawer that gets so full we have to squish down and "bump" it closed. When doing these pieces I find I can peak in there for just a moment and let out little pieces one at a time in ways that wont overwhelm me. I feel it, I own it, I see it for what it is and I pour it into my work, sometimes making it prettier than what it is, what it was, giving it a new face so it isn't so scary or hurtful anymore - this is my therapy, these are pieces of me.
I am very passionate about helping others through their own struggles and always find that people tend to naturally open up to me, share their hurts and their secrets, maybe they see something in me, maybe they see my unseeable scars the scars I carry on the inside which I guess start to peek through the armor I build around myself, which at times. is busting at the seams. Maybe as an amazing friend recently said to me ... "When you are trapped in a ruined place, it has always been easier to trust the outstretched hand that still bears the scars from their own escape". Maybe through my experiences I can help others cope with theirs ...
I decided I wanted to create my most honest work, to really share these pieces of myself, my vulnerabilities, the pretty, the ugly and everything in between.
Being so passionate about this, I wanted to create a series and aptly named it "Dark Places".
After choosing some specific concepts to start with for the filming and then choosing some friends & models I respect greatly, people I felt I could really be vulnerable with, who new much of my story, my pains and who could respect and portray, even RELATE to the pieces I was creating it was time to shoot and film!!!!
I was lucky enough to be able to shoot in the AMAZING Houston Rental Studio which had the perfect esthetics and everything I could possibly need at my finger tips to help bring my images to life.
So after many tears on the day, after many hours editing and bringing these images to life, many hours of the team at Houston Public Media editing and putting together our journey in film ... our story is ready ... BUT ... I wont show you JUST YET (tease i know!!!)
What is even more exciting than the filming itself, is that it will be airing on local Houston channel - TV 8 this Friday, July 22nd at 8.30pm!!!!
So PLEASE tune in and support these amazing people and I hope you love it as much as we do. A little sneak peek into how I do what I do and the process of creating my Conceptual Portraiture & Art.
When I 1st watched it, I cried like a baby and am so very proud of and grateful to everyone involved in this project.
I will be sharing some screen shots and some of the images created that day over the next couple of days leading up to the airing of it and then for those that may miss it, I will share a link next week followed by info on the upcoming Gallery Art show which will be showing these images along with many of my other recent images.
Thank you for all your love & support - I hope to make you proud.
I had such a blast working with this beautiful senior to capture some special images documenting her in this exciting time of her life.
My senior was NOT a morning person at ALL but with the humid Houston summer reaching in excess of 100 degrees almost the moment the sun appears making it far from a comfortable or glamorous experience I managed to twisted her arm and we started well before sunrise with hair and makeup then onto our 1st location at a park near my home studio - what a trooper!
On arrival at our 1st location we made the most of some beautiful golden light and as the sun rose (while the air remained below furnace levels) we played with the sun light, sun flares and me ohhing and ahhhing as it made her red hair glow oh so perfectly.
When I realized the temperature was quickly rising we headed to finish off the session at the Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens which was beautiful!.
This talented girl has also just been accepted to Texas A&M for Engineering and so is obviously very intelligent (more so than I anyway!) - So her mom wanted to capture her love of reading with some fun images artistic that had something to do with books ... needless to say when someone says they want something a little ARTISTIC or DIFFERENT alarm bells go off in my head, disco balls drop and then anything said before or after that moment fades into oblivion as my mind starts conjuring up any number of ideas and concepts I could put together.
When I tried to explain the concept I had in mind they gave me that all too familiar look when I get excited about an idea and people wonder if I'm just excited or a tad bit crazy ha ha and although they couldn't quite imagine what I was wanting to create it they trusted my vision and said they were game (YUSSS!)
Anyway we all had a good time, we laughed together, we shot together ... we sweated together ha ha but all in all completely worth it!
It was a true honor recently to be a part of a very new cultural experience for me - an Arabic Engagement Ceremony & Celebration.
It was so beautiful and emotional, steeped in tradition and religion and what a sweet sweet family.
This was held at The Bougainvilleas Exclusive Venue in Houston and as usual their team knocked it out of the park with their gorgeous space, decorations, amazing food and friendly staff.
I love every client, wedding and event I shoot and this was no different in that respect but an added bonus was being immersed in this cultural experience and having the privilege to capture it for the couple and their families. I was so spoiled with all these amazing details to photograph.
Many of us find therapy and rejuvenation in the small things we do each day; for me other than time with my family of course, Photography has become my release allowing me to pour my feelings, experiences, dreams, hopes and emotions into my images.
It allows me to escape reality and go on a journey of imagination to where ever, when ever and as who ever I want.
I love creating stories, places, characters and seeing others reactions, appreciation and interpretation of them.
It is the small things that bring us joy and release and I feel truly blessed to have found a creative outlet for myself.
I will continue to grow as a person and artist each day and I hope to continue sharing these small pieces of myself with you.
Live joyfully :)
Serenity Wow what a week it has been!
This has been a week of self discovery, hard lessons and new found determination ... I have been jokingly telling people that I must be a real artist now since I had found myself at my very 1st official "Artist's Meltdown" and felt like as a badge of honor maybe I was required to remove an ear or rock in a corner for a week or two scratching words into the wall. Neither sounded appealing so instead I turned to those around me ... my friends, my supporters & my fellow photographers - I am so very glad that I did.
You see I have recently found myself at somewhat of a cross road in my work struggling between the work I should do to pay the bills and contribute to our household (as any of us need to) and the work that I genuinely want to do - the work that feeds my soul and makes me excited to be in this industry.
I found myself agreeing to shoot anything and anyone in any style they wanted as well ... money is money right? it pays the bills and if I can do it who am I to say no. But it left me feeling empty and craving the Art work I love creating, planning and tentatively editing until it is just perfect.
I felt like the only answer was to A) keep going as is on my little hamster wheel, feeling like a sell out (so to speak) and fitting my art in when and if I could find the time or B) Change .....
The trouble was I didn't know what "Change" would look like exactly, what I wanted, what that would mean, how I would achieve it and if I could still find a way to make any money being the real me and doing the work that I feel I need to do.
After a good few days of going round and round in circles, making a decision then changing my mind, making a decision then getting scared and running back to what was comfortable I dared to reach out to a few people I really look up to in this industry, people who are already doing what I want to be doing - they are doing the work they want to do and clients come to them for THEIR style and come to them for what THEY have to offer.
On a side note (I do this a lot as i think of things so bare with me) I think a turning point for me that started this burning feeling of needed change was when a potential client contacted me to discuss a family shoot ... they were deciding whether to go to JC Penny for their photos (Where they had already booked) or come to me. They were looking through what I had to offer in my portfolio of children's shoots etc and kept comparing back to JC Penny styled set ups. Now don't get me wrong I have nothing against those who choose to use JC Penny or JC Penny themselves at all it's just that ... well ... I'm not them. I am me and I want people to come to me for me and MY style.
Now to tie back into what I was just saying ... I see others who have people coming to them not telling them they want a set up like JC Penny or this place or that place, they come to them as they have a fluid style that is obvious in their images, they are confident in the work they like to produce and that's what they sell not their time, not a photography package, they sell their personal style and technique. People come to them not because they are the cheapest or the get the most digital files, the most prints or JUST because their friends used them - they come to them because they love the work they do.
I have heard again and again that what you show is what you attract as a client which makes so much sense! If people see work I just produce and post because I think its what people want to see or because its what that 1 client wanted so everyone must prefer that over my own style then ... That is all people will think I do and therefore I will only attract more of those people who like that style of work and my never ending cycle of discontent continues. - Oh goodness it all sounds very dramatic doesn't it ha ha I told you its been a rough week.
It wasn't until I sat and spoke to these amazing people I admire and truly listened to what they had to say, hear them look at the work I'm truly proud of and tell me that it is amazing, that I am capable, that what I have to offer is beautiful ... It is amazing how such small words can move mountains in someone; how they can stir up so much passion and motivation, self confidence they forgot they had buried under all the self doubt.
With this newly found confidence and passion I have now plotted a new course ... a course where I will be true to myself, my work and my passion. As I get used to this new attitude my work will be evolving to show more of what I want to be known for, the style I want people to come to me specifically for.
I want to create images that people are proud to hang on their walls and treasure not just to post on their social media sites, get a few cutesy comments and likes and forget about them. I know I am capable of it I see it in the work I already do ... the work I do for myself in my Art pieces, the work that the models love to have from me and the work my clients say "wow" to.
So why cant I bring that Art feel into my everyday work? What is stopping me?
Self doubt? Am I good enough? Will they come? Even if I will have to charge more? Will they think I'm worth it?
Well after this last week I have come to the conclusion that I KNOW I'm worth it and I am excited to be able to take this step forward and finally merge my style and passion into all that I offer and not sell out simply because I feel I should.
I hope that doesn't sound too cocky I just now see that I have something to offer in what I do and I can infuse my passion for Conceptual Fine Art into my portraiture for everyone ... children, babies, weddings, couples ... everyone :)
So here I am standing at the cross road knowing now the road I want to take and excited to see who I meet along the way. Thank you to all those supportive souls who have made me hear what I needed to hear and guided me in the direction I needed to go.
So ... after all that babbling and nonsense which may mean nothing to anyone other than me ... my message to you is this: No matter what you do in your life, no matter your job, your location, no matter your income or situation ... don't lose who you are, don't be afraid to be you. You may not please everyone but you will find people who truly find joy in who you are and what you have to offer - and those are the ones that count.
I hope you stay with me through this journey and allow me to share with you all that I have to offer.
Over and Out! :)
© Suzy Taylor Photography