Big surprise, I’m a seeker.

Yesterday I sat down and performed the exercise “Ideas into Pictures” that I proposed last month.  It was a wonderful 35 minute stream of consciousness writing experience, followed by another hour of brainstorming related action words.

I wasn’t surprise to see that my four pages of nearly illegible handwriting was dominated by a steady list of questions. I’m continually pondering those existential questions that rarely have answers. You know the ones I mean: Why am I alive? Who am I? What is my place in the world? How do I find meaning? What is truth? What will my legacy be?

As I was reading over what I had written, a word popped into my head unbidden: seeker. It was a powerful moment and I instantly knew it was the word I was looking for. For that’s what I am, I’m a seeker.  I’m a seeker of answers to those questions that will always remain unanswered.

We’ve talked about the concept of the red thread before. Recently Kristina wrote about my work and she felt that the thread that runs through my work was ‘nature and water’. She also mentioned ‘journey’ when talking about my work. She couldn’t have been more insightful about my process and that internal  journey that will forever be imbedded in my work.

While I was looking for words that would lead me to images and ideas that would relate to the word ‘seeker’, I found that my work is already filled with this imagery: water, mountains, birds, travel, dawn, adventure. I was kind of proud of myself; as an artist it’s always nice to know you’re following your inner voice, even if it’s intuitively.

Now that I have this wonderful word that I can use as a framework, I have a built in thought process that I can use to create new images or organize existing images. My husband is always telling me to shoot less and spend more time organizing my photos. I never do because that’s so much harder than simply shooting another image. But the word ‘seeker’ excites me in a way that other words haven’t. This one simple word, that resonates so deeply within me, makes it possible for me to create a road map that both new and existing images can work from. I can move forward creating work around this simple clear message that will only make it stronger.

Each of the photo challenges I’ve completed has revealed a new insight and this exercise was no different. Its given me a vocabulary I can begin to build on that will place my work in a larger context. Sure that pretty picture of the elf in a sailboat is beautiful, but now he’s the embodiment of my own journey. Those beautiful reflections that I love to capture can be approached in a new way; create a deeper allegory. Ideas like ‘hidden’ and ‘revealed’ take on new meaning. Words like transformation, shadow, faith, balance and adventure set my imagination spinning. Animals can be utilized in a way that will bring an allegorical meaning to the simplest image.

My life seems to be equally dominated by words as much as by images these days, so this challenge was fun for me. I can see how this new framework, defined  by the word ‘seeker’, will eventually bring me back to our very first challenge that combined words with images.

I look forward to this new future creating images with intention, rather than stumbling around in the dark.

~ xxSJC

If you’ve completed this particular challenge, what was your word?

I know all of this must sound pretty esoteric if you’re only wanting to take a quality storm trooper image or capture the latest series 15 mini figures. I know from my own experience that at some point you start asking the question ‘now what?’ So consider it this way, I’m only planting a little seed in the back of your mind, a little idea that may unstick you sometime when you lose your creative drive. 

“Now where?” This is probably my favorite image to date that embodies the themes of journey, exploration, adventure and faith.