Sunday, July 24, 2011

Illuminate Week 2 - Light!

For the next few weeks I will be taking part in an online photography course called Illuminate, taught by a sweet new friend and baby loss mom Beryl, from Be Young Photography

For week two of our Illuminate e-corse we are looking at, watching, and writing about light. What does light mean to us? Where do we find it? And then we are taking pictures in different lights, thinking of what kind of lighting we feel most drawn to, thinking about how differnt types of lighting bring out different types of emotions and connections.

So here I am trying to think about light ... what does it mean to me? Where does my light come from? Why is it so important? I think I'm having mental block ... maybe making this harder than it needs to be, so thought I would look for quotes or sayings about "light":

"Lights camera action"

"Lets shed some light on that shall we?"

"Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light."
Albert Schweitzer

"God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way."

And God said, “Let there be light,”
and there was light.
God saw that the light was good
Genesis 1:3-4

You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
You, LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
Psalm 18:27-29(NIV)

The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
Psalm 104:2

When our world goes dark around us, what do we do? Seems to me human beings have forever looked for ways to light up the darkness. Torches, campfires, lanterns, candles, lightbulbs ... my kids treasure their night lights and flashlights. We have this need to illuminate things and push the darkness away.

My life has felt very dark this summer ... sadness and grief take their toll. My bed and sleep have been where I go to get away from reality, to get a away from the world. And then even when I get out into the world I feel exhausted ... like I'm making my way through a strange unfamiliar place with a tiny candle to see where I am going. Its strange because I feel like I am missing out on much that is happening all around me ... but I'm not ready for bright light to reveal all that is there.

I've been a bit obsessed with candles lately. After losing Journey we were given four memorial candles ... which I thought was so nice. We are newly grieving for Journey but really this grief reopened the older wounds of all our losses. I love that they can all be acknowledged together. But I see this tiny amount of light from a candle very much resembles where I am at. My world feels very dark ... but there are glimmers of hope ... I can't see very far ahead or very much of my surroundings, but the candle does illuminate enough to make my way around and it does penetrate through darkness.

I decided to photograph my candles on their window sill at different times of the day. The end results were very different depending on if and where the sun was shinning. I love the glow from the candles when there was very little other light. But I also love the morning photo with sun beams streaming in ... almost like rays of hope and love being sent to me from above.

My last three photos are certainly of light ... sunlight. They were taken from my car window as I drove out of our neighborhood. I was just inspired by the morning sun and beautiful clouds. I really still wanted to be hiding under my covers, but I had forced myself to get up and go out. Made my self go out into the sunshine and the world for my twelve year old son. I was on my way to his baseball tournament so I stopped long enough to shoot three quick pictures. These were taken while I was stopped at a stop sign, but I switched modes on my Cannon Powershot (point -n-shoot) camera between each shot:

My camera was on macro (I had been photographing baby blocks the night before)

I switched to the "sunset" mode for the next shot:

Then switched to the "action/kids" mode:

I had not planned on these pictures being able to represent me or my grief ... but today while I was looking at them it occurred to me that physically these pictures are almost exactly the same ... taken from the same location on the same day (in the same minute of time) ... houses, trees, street lamp ... nothing moved, nothing changed ... yet with one click of a button on a my camera the end result is drastically different. To many people my life now looks exactly the same as it did before my first miscarriage, many people expect the same Heather they knew before ... but with one "click of a button" (one silent ultrasound picture)I am now drastically different. Loss has changed me ... there is no going back to who I was. All my parts may be in the same place ... I may look the same physically, but I am not the same at all. My world is painted a whole different color. And I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I will never be the same as I was before and I will never see the world as I did before. I'm sure there will be a new me to emerge from this journey ... a more broken, but perhaps stronger me. How I wish I could explain it better, so those around me could understand. But then, I guess its taken me almost 6 years to even begin to understand ...


  1. Heather, your analogy about grief and your pictures (identical subjects but very different visually because of the mode or light they were taken in)is very powerful to me. I definitely see the same things very differently through the lens of grief.

    My favorite picture is the one of your candles with the strong rays of sun behind them. I can almost feel the glow in that one :)

  2. I echo what Lindy said about how powerful that analogy is--so true!! I love the imagery and meaning in the last 3 pics that go along with the analogy--incredibly moving. And I loved the candle pics--the differing light really popped since you left the candles in the same position all week and captured how the light changed around them--the last 2 were especially good xx

  3. You are so insightful in your post this week Heather. And I think you read my mind into the Week 3 assignment because we talk a lot about how our perspectives of the same thing can be so so different (by using different cameras, having different photographers, or even the type of light). And your images ring so true to this concept! I love the yellow rays of sun over teh candles and then in the next image the candle go dark with this beautiful sunburst in between. It gave me chills! Thank you also for showing the 3 photos on 3 different settings. What a different those make. Just lovely. xoxo.

  4. I love what you wrote about candles. Not long after Lewy died, I felt the need to have a special candle just for him. I went to Yankee Candle and smelled candles until I found one that reminded me of him. I had to jump back into work pretty soon after he died, and I always had the candle burning while I sat at my desk. I think it helped me feel a connection to him even during the times when I had to be thinking about other things. I think you much more eloquently explain the meaning that candles can convey, though. Oh, and your photos are really great this week!

  5. I'm so glad someone was so thoughtful in giving you 4 candles. They are beautiful and your photography of them gave them so much meaning to me. I love the one with the intense, defined rays the most. I loved the gold tones. When the sun comes down through the clouds and makes streaks like that, I always call them "God clouds" because it's like little beams of love coming down...I suppose these are like beams of love from your babies. I'm so sorry for your losses. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so beautifully.