Monday, April 2, 2012

Puzzle Pieces

I have a way of telling a story, or explaining a thought, that is never quite straight to the point, and it's never quite a clean circle either. There are twists and turns, and I quite often lose my point along the way and end up finding a new one. I've got quite a few thoughts to share today, so please bear with me while I do my best to express them. ^_^

It's funny how the key turning points in your own life don't even hit you with their importance until years down the road. I'm a "let's plan for this and then just see where it takes us" kind of person. As I've been asked to tell my story more and more, I'm actually surprised at the pieces that I've forgotten or taken for granted as just being a part of it instead of an intregal puzzle piece. Next to my desk, I have a large picture that I found in the summer between my 7th and 8th grade years. Since I've had it, it's hung in just about every room except the kitchen. In fact, my husband would like for me to hang it back in the bathroom, from next to the mirror where I took it down, because it brings some sense of comfort to him as well. I love this picture because it has always spoken to me and shown me that this is what women should look like: relaxed and elegant in any state of dress. It's just a worn out, blown up reprint of an old Theatre Magazine cover. It's a reprint of the November 1918 issue, to be exact, and I absolutely adore it. In some recess of my mind, I have always wanted to be as confidentally beautiful as this woman. Without realizing it, this old print, that I found at a garage sale, became a turning point and an important component to the foundation of my belief that all women are beautiful. Period.

Now, I really should go backwards a bit and tell you about when I first fell in love with photography. When I was in the 7th grade, my very best friend's, Jennii, mom began taking night photography courses at the local university. (GO MEMPHIS STATE TIGERS!!) The class needed models, so naturally Jennii and I were quickly recruited for the job. I loved it! Dressing up and being the center of attention was a lot of fun, but what I really enjoyed was watching what went into composing the shot and then seeing the final product. This was before digital, so I'd have to wait for what seemed like forever to get a print back, from a student, but it was always worth it. What was amazing to me was figuring out who was standing where taking the shot, where the main light source was coming from, and what was the most flattering and natural looking body position. There was a process to it, and I was so into trying to pinpoint it, but I was only 13 and eventually my interest moved onto other things. It was always somewhere in the back of my mind though. I'd try to take those same questions and apply them to my paintings and drawings, too. As time went on, I'd pick up a disposable camera or two whenever possible, but I almost never got them developed. For one, I didn't have the money growing up to pay to get film developed, but for another, it just didn't seem as important to me back then.

Fast forward to the dawn of the digital point and shoot. I've had some really crappy digital cameras at one time or another, back when I thought the all-mighty megapixel was the deal breaker. ^_- Having children created a need to document as much of their lives as possible which really worked out for the camera companies because I can't tell you how many of those cheap things that I went through over the years. lol I tell you what though, those early digital camera really taught me the importance of lighting. Without it, you had nothing. With it, you could create the most breathtaking images with whatever equipment you had available.

Once I started to realize the importance of light, other things started to slowly click together. That's when the infamous "picture parties", that I talked about in an earlier blog, started. With those intimate portrait parties among friends, I began to understand the importance of how light contours a woman's body. What started out as friends getting together to create sensual images for their spouses became a way to raise self esteem and self awareness. Another puzzle piece clicked into place.

I get asked who my ideal client is. I've thought long and hard about this. I love all of my clients, but there is a target market that I am drawn to. For inspiration on how to appeal to this specialized market, I think of my own mother. My mother was born to be a pretty child. She grew to be a beautiful teen and then matured into a breathtaking woman. Even after giving birth to 2 children, she was still a sight to behold. Then life took over. Stress and troubles weighed heavily on her. She became ill and soon divorced. Her health seemed to always be a factor in her increasing age; it took front seat and made itself known. She had forgotten that she was a goddess. My mother saw herself as "formerly beautiful" instead of incredible in the present. She was my absolute best friend, and it broke my heart to watch her sense of self worth deteriorate month after month and then year after year. I no longer have my mother here with me, but she will always be the standard to which I hold myself. No woman should ever believe that she is less than she is. That is a belief that I hold dear and close to my heart. I consider it my purpose in life to open every woman's eyes to behold her own radiance. I have my mother to thank for that.

I'm sure that there is so much more that I started this post intending to say, but with it being my mom's birthday today, emotions are high, and I feel that this is a good way to close my thought process. I didn't mean to tell my story or explain why I do what I do, but it seems like I did anyway. If you've stuck around this long, thank you.

Patricia Spaulding
Made You Look Photography

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