One element that every photographer will say is of upmost importance is light. There are so many things you can do with photographs based on the lighting. Too much and pictures look harsh, skin tones red and shadows are cast onto your subject. Too little and you can get blur or noise. But sometimes, photographers have to shoot in darkness. Sometimes they even prefer it. It may seem like a daunting task for someone without the tools or the know how, but for the trained photographer, shooting in darkness can bring newness to things overlooked. Shooting in darkness can bring a new beauty to something that might be seemingly mundane in broad daylight.
That's what happened to me. I lost my light for a while. In the summer of 2011 we suffered a miscarriage. And for the first time in my adult life, I found myself swimming in darkness. A circumstantial darkness, in the beginning...and then it was followed by a self-imposed darkness that I didn't want to come out of. I wasn't ready to embrace the light because light meant newness and I was still mourning.
I set my camera down. I set it down and I left it there.
For me, the camera was a symbol of happy moments. Remember? smile! smILE! SMILE! SMIIILLEE!! I wasn't 'happy' and so the camera went on the shelf. For months. Not only was I struggling with 'happiness,' but I was struggling with jealousy when other people were happy! Almost like I wanted to rob them of their joy and pull them into the depths of my sorrow. Or maybe exactly like that.
Darkness. The absence of light.
I have definitely walked through my share of difficult times. But this time was different. This was the first time I was no longer willing to put on a happy face and be who I thought people expected me to be. This season of life, I could only be authentic. RAW. And for me, authenticity looked pretty messy. Wet, teary faced, and emotions just barely beneath the surface that could be brought out at a moment's notice. Yucky emotions that you probably didn't expect when you asked me, in passing, "how are you today?"
I became REAL comfortable in the RAW. And from there, I learned how to navigate in the absence of light.