For the past few weeks I've been working on a project. I had no guidelines but to think up an idea and bring it to life through my photos. I chose to highlight the process of creation, because the necessity of it is getting lost amidst the pressures: to look the coolest, to make the most money, to please bosses and parents and important opinions.
But you know what, creativity matters. Dipping a brush into myriad colors, freezing time with long shutter speed and good lighting, making beauty from beads and wires and chains, grounding beans and intricately pouring , aligning fragmented words: all of it matters. I believe people were made to do this, to create with two hands. And these friends and I are not the only ones. Maybe it's a profession, or maybe it's done in spare pockets of time or after the sun's long gone down. I think creativity makes people come alive, and the art of coming alive should never be lost or overlooked.
My friends Taylor, Anne-Davis, Lindsey, and Kiley were kind enough to let me photograph them in their respective elements, and to tell me a little about why they're drawn to create. To you four: thank you for turning my idea into a reality, and for sharing your beautiful crafts with me!
Taylor is a creator in ways I often forget about: always insisting to make icing from scratch and to never settle for the store-bought stuff, sewing her own skirts, knitting her own scarfs and fashioning her own jewelry to wear or delightedly give as gifts. Maybe if we keep spending time together, her boldness and vision in crafting something new will rub off on me :)
"I create because I love to take these separate pieces and turn them into something that no one else maybe could see it as. Like I took these beads and this chain and made them into a necklace, or if I'm sewing a skirt from plain fabric, I can see the sum of the individual parts that go into creating these things. I can turn pieces into a whole through my own unique vision."
Anne-Davis is a creative in every sense of the word: witty and thoughtful with her words, letting inspiration lead the way as she paints or sketches or designs graphics. Sights seen, songs heard, words read, and products of her own imagination all appear in her work. She's both attentive to what surrounds and true to who she is- a quality I'll always admire.
"I love those moments when I feel inspired all of a sudden to create. And it's always accompanied by a sense of urgency that says 'do it now before that feeling runs away.' There's nothing like adding life to a blank canvas. It's kind of like getting a taste of what my Maker did with me."
Lindsey is the owner of my favorite coffee shop in Greenville, and up until about a month ago, she and I had never crossed paths. But what I do know is that she really loves what she does: artfully crafting coffee and setting up an atmosphere that invites people in. Each time I stop in for a latte, I watch her exchange more words than the ordinary "hi, how are you?" with customer after customer, and I know that it's about more than just coffee-- it's about people too.
“On a personal level, I love what I make because I grew up in a coffee loving family. Every family gathering revolved and still revolves around coffee. I remember my sweet mother making us coffee in the morning before school and thinking that was the most special gesture. Coffee equates to comfort in my mind and reminds me of the people I love and the sweet memories made with them. As a business owner I love what I make because I love to see others meet and gather around coffee; even people who have never met before always seem to leave my shop on a friendly note. I think it is important to treat every cup of coffee I make like a work of art so that I know I did everything in my power to please my customer and deliver a high quality good. I love when I can whip up some latte art on a customer’s drink because I think even that tiny detail can change a whole coffee experience. I love what I make because I meet so many fascinating and inspiring people who make me want to be a better person. Everyday I go into work and look forward to meeting new people and learning from them…and all over a cup of coffee!”
Kiley has this gift for knowing people. Yes, she's a champ when it comes to social media stalking, but I've come to know that she really cares about people, enough to want to know about their stories and quirks. You can tell when she's behind the lens: by the laughter in between (during) shots, and in the way she makes sure lives, stories, moments are frozen and remembered.
"I am a visual storyteller. I am so tied to the art form of photography by the stories I'm asked to enter and the people I grow to love in the process. I believe every moment is important and every moment deserves to be told and deserves to be tangibly remembered. I believe there to be so much magic in freezing moments, whether big or small, that can't be reproduced and that would otherwise be fleeting. There's magic in keeping that moment forever, in being able to come back to it, and in being able to remember the exact feeling you had the moment it was taken. That's what I want to give people. I want to give them the gift of knowing that their stories matter and I want to give them the gift of remembering."
And for me? Writing isn't just a way to make sense of the muddled mess that swirls around in my brain, nor only a simple act that takes up a portion of each day. It is very much those things, but more than that, I don't just write because I like or want to, but because I must. I write because of that terribly wonderful surge of inspiration that always seems to hit when it's most inconvenient, because it seems so right to spend time stringing words together. I write because I feel I was made to.
written while listening to:
Letting Go - Sawyer
Awake (deluxe) - Tycho
Caroline - Jon Foreman
It's Only - ODESZA, Zyra
+ James Bay, Sleeping At Last, George Ezra