“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “
Why are you passionate about this topic?
Somewhere along the way we learn to silence the voice within us. We’re too often told that sharing our feelings/ emotions/experiences/ourselves openly is anything from weak to whining to attention seeking to just not talked about or too much or too dark and or boastful & so on. And so we learn to stuff it down a little further. We say we’re fine when we aren’t. We might downplay when we feel proud. We pretend something didn’t hurt us when it did. We worry they’ll say our passions are silly or impossible. We fear putting it out there because people will judge us. We let fears hold us hostage.We feel things deeply so they brand us sensitive. We let the opinions of others stand in our way. Until we decide that we don’t live for them & we want our voice back, we want to make our dreams a reality, we want to be real with and for ourselves and that what others think truly doesn’t matter. I believe in exploring all that is within. The deep rooted & the temporary feelings. Everything your soul lives and aches for. That which brings you the utmost peace. That which overwhelms and exhausts you. That which haunts you. Those things that get your heart racing with excitement or with anxiety. What gets you up in the morning and what keep you up at night. Every bit of it. The good and the bad- everything in between. It’s all your story to tell. One individual human being is a story containing more stories than we have time to tell. But telling them, sharing your real, your soul, your heart, your art for yourself and sharing it with the world and healing yourself while simultaneously and probably totally unknowingly inspiring others to push past their own fears and tell their own, it’s pretty amazing.
I always had art right there with me through everything. Expressing myself , telling my truth through art is what art is all about to me. I need it. Through art I have learned so much about myself and taught myself how to get through everything life has thrown at me. Art has saved me, it continues to save me. It’s impossible not to be passionate about something that gives you so much.
•When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?
When I was a young girl I would write and paint but more so when I was consumed with feeling something, which made my anxiety worse, and I quickly began to realize that art/creating was my therapy. I need it to get through it all. So, eventually I began using writing and self-portraiture to tell my stories and often now I cast others to be in my storytelling images. When I would put off writing it out/creating from what I was going through I felt more anxiety. And when I sat down and wrote out what I was feeling then shot an image to go with those words/feelings, I felt relief.
What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique? (aim for at least 5, but any are welcome)
- Let yourself feel. Keep a journal. Write it all down. It will inspire you.
- Get in front of the camera. Feel whatever you’re feeling in that moment and use a remote/timer to shoot. So often inspiration comes while shooting. Notice the expressions and poses you’re making that show your emotions through body language.
- Allow yourself to fail. If you set out to shoot a story and it doesn’t go as you planned and doesn’t turn into something more while you’re shooting you’re allowed to walk away and revisit it later. This is your art. Take breaks when you need them, they are good for the mind, body and soul. They are also good for your art- keep writing those thoughts and feelings down- they can inspire you later when you’re ready
- Think about how location, light, tones and even props can strength your story
- Create what YOU feel & don’t apologize for it.
What were the challenges for you in the beginning?
In the beginning, I struggled with putting my personal art out there. Sharing so much of myself and for it to be judged. That fear was without a doubt my biggest challenge because I was sharing so much of myself with each image and a lot of what I would talk about people felt were taboo subjects (parental estrangement, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, therapy and so forth) And I absolutely experienced people loving it, feeling it, relating to it and hating it. I got the “overshare” comment often. People told me my work was “too dark/emotional/depressing”. And I spent far too much time and energy wondering if I should share my images but keep the stories behind them to myself. But I felt the need to talk about it all was not only incredibly overdue but necessary if I was ever going to move on, heal, grow. I had more messages from people that felt the same, went through something similar, felt something from it or also live with a need to get so much out from within themselves. I reminded myself I make this art for me. If people love it great. If they don’t that’s fine. I don’t make it for them. I promise you’ll stop caring what others think. I promise your art will resonate with the people. Some who will tell you and so many more that won’t- but it will. But most importantly sharing your work, it helps you grow, it helps you heal, it connects you with amazing people and artists- you just have to push past your fears and keep making the art only you can make.
About the photographer:
Jessica Lutz is a self taught photographer living in Southwestern, Ontario with her husband raising two daughters. She is represented by The Norman Felix Gallery of Toronto & specializes in Emotional Storytelling Imagery. She is passionate about coffee drinking, written word, the story within and vintage dresses.