For my next post I had wanted to write about my rug, or rather wall hanging, ‘Agas’ as a follow-on from my previous post. But to properly do so I really need to go… More
Plonked myself down in front of my camera yesterday to practice some lighting positions and poses. Quite a feat for me as I am definitely my own worst critic when confronting myself in photographs. It seemed quite the worst thing to do at this time since I am going through another bout of depression.
Yes. I struggle with depression and I struggle with admitting it here, in public. After all, aren’t we supposed to share the ideal image of who we’re supposed to be and look like? A professional, polished image of ourselves? I wasn’t going to, to be honest. But here I am.
The first photos I took of myself were awful…..
They rattled me. Shocked me actually. I looked ancient and…well … as depressed as I felt. I don’t know what urged me on and even where I got the energy to do what I was doing. But something told me to keep going. So I looked at those god-awful images and said, ok. This might be so at the moment, but it’s not really who I am. I truly didn’t recognise this person in the images. It wasn’t conscious, but rather than pick holes in myself I moved past the self-critic flaring up in me – or rather, I looked her in the eye, as she longed to make some stinging comments about me, acknowledged her presence, and, rather than succumb to that easy trap I, in effect, told her she had no power over me and pulled myself up, tidied myself up, brushed my hair, put on some makeup and got on with it.
Gradually I got more and more comfortable both with myself and with the camera and began to enjoy the process. As I got more comfortable and playful something weird and wonderful happened. Whereas, upon looking at those first photographs, I didn’t recognise myself at all I started catching glimpses of the little girl in me. I started remembering, recognising the girl looking back at me. The girl who knew how to laugh, play and have fun. “Lena the Loon” as I was fondly called amongst family and close friends…. I miss her…I miss her so badly…
People, depression is real. The struggle is always there. But it’s not the end. I know there are many who struggle with it. I’m not special because I’m admitting it here. I just feel compelled to share it and show you what the face of depression looks like and how I shifted it, even for a brief moment and that you are not your depression. You just need to find yourself again, under the surface of all that life has thrown at you. There are as many reasons for falling into depression as there are people. And sometimes it’s not even easy finding (or facing) what those reasons are.
I am aware that some people have the impression that I am successful, being so creative and doing and making all sorts of wonderful things. And it is tempting to carry on and cultivate that impression. After all, isn’t social media and a successful business all about impressions? But I’m not (successful -in the traditional sense- or going to lie).
There’s a lot more to this, I know… and maybe I will share more as I work on myself. As I said, I wasn’t even sure I would share this and I don’t want to make it too long and squeamy either….It’s not easy sharing the face of depression…but maybe it needs to be shared…for whatever reason, I’m not sure right now….
Things are not always what they appear to be….I think that’s essentially what I’m trying to say…
I came across Dimitra off a little street close to Acropolis metro. The whole scene caught my breath….besides her light and beauty that stopped me in my tracks, her colours and the colours of what she was wearing combined with the background wall just clicked. I walked past at first as she was with a friend, my shyness getting the better of me, but then I turned back and faced my fear of approaching strangers and opened up to her. She was only too pleased to be photographed and she was the perfect model. Each click, each pose pure perfection. Thank you Dimitra 😘 It’s amazing what gifts and joy are available to you when you open your heart 💛
I love taking pictures of people, and I especially love taking pictures of people I just meet, of strangers. But as a shy person, I find it extremely difficult opening up and asking for complete strangers their permission to photograph them. My fear is that they will react negatively and, ultimately, reject me.
I recently heard of the 100 Strangers project that a photographer embarked upon and which helped him overcome his own obstacles and learn by doing. There is, in fact, a community of photographers on Flickr who have embarked on the project and who help each other with constructive feedback to help other photographers improve their technique and method.
The 100 Strangers ethos is learning by doing. It is not a race to collect 100 pictures.
Excitedly I decided that this is something I would like to try out, something that would give me an incentive and a ‘reason’ to present to strangers as to why I might choose to photograph them.
And so, I found my first opportunity during my summer vacation as I was touring the Southern Peloponnese.
Katy became the first volunteer stranger of my own 100 Strangers project. I saw her one day on a beautiful beach in Mani, she too was with her own camper, which was as charming and endearing as she, we got talking and actually hit it off really well!
Katy is from the UK and recently moved to Greece to live. A free spirit, she embraces change and the challenges that life throws at her with grace and a smile! I couldn’t have asked for a lovelier ‘subject’ for my project! It really was no effort and a great pleasure to photograph her and get to send her some images when I got back home.
The best thing of all is that I think I made a lovely new friend!