Why did I decide to complete an 80×80 visual poetry project?

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.”  – Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

80x80inWinter

Greetings, Friend –

In May of 2017, I decided to embark on a new photo project after one failed to jump start. I had been working with a photo teacher, Neal Menschel, who has always encouraged me to keep at least one project going, but I was struggling to fit in my photo work between my commitments to being a mom and partner and other volunteer projects. My desire to engage with the natural world at a time when the light was optimal was, quite frankly, hindered by taking my children to and from school, cheering for them in theater and at sporting events, cooking dinner, and other aspects of life maintenance. I didn’t want to trade those day-to-day joys and moments for a project, but I also need to feed my creative soul.

And then came the 80×80 project. I spent a year photographing an 80×80 foot space in my backyard, the changes that occurred there over the seasons and the treasures that were hiding and unexpectedly appeared. My goal to continue my work became a much deeper, transformative experience. At first, there were many exciting days. Spring was in full swing, and the 80×80 was a flurry of activity and change. Then summer hit, and the dry weather persisted, created a field filled with endless days of dead grass. Those days represent the inception of the deeper practice that I experienced.

Not only did I have to stretch myself to find and capture the mystery in what I first thought of as mundane, but I began to see the wonder and diversity in hidden spaces in the yard. Many times, I received unexpected lessons on impermanence. A plant or animal would be a subject for many days, and then, mysteriously, it would be gone or transformed. As the seasons shifted, light remodeled more permanent objects, so I saw and captured them in diverse ways.

As the photographs began to take shape as a collection, Neal and I felt as though they needed something to help the viewer understand the deeper meanings behind the photographs. I began to collect poignant quotes and write haiku poetry to support the broad themes I had captured in my pictures.

I feel deeply blessed that I have been able to work on a project that has nurtured my creative spirit, both in my skills and soul, and I hope you enjoy this short video sampling of my work. Please visit my website to see the whole portfolio of photographs and look for upcoming sales of a book of the project.

Remember to be creative and take risks!

Warmly,
Becky

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