Updated: Sep 20
The Light Inside
I've been out of photography for a long time. A few years ago, when I found out my parents were sick, I gave up my studio in London and abandoned my plans. After they passed away, I tried to get back into photography, but my grief was overwhelming. Losing them was shattering, and the months leading up to their passing were no easier. As their primary caretaker, I saw firsthand the failures of our healthcare system.
Mum & me @ South Bank Centre
In the photo above, I'm with my mum Connie at an exhibition of my work at the South Bank Centre in London, just one year before she passed away. Despite her difficulty walking after her stroke and her struggles with generalized anxiety disorder, she was determined to travel to London to see my work. Her determination stemmed from her love of life and her unbreakable spirit. Through it all, she never lost her wicked sense of humor. I could see just how proud she was of me that day. I hope she knew how proud I was of her too.
I'm grateful I was able to be there to support and love my parents to the very end. After they passed away, I tried to find direction in my life again. I thought taking pictures would help me cope with my grief, so I tried taking up dog photography. It didn't help. Nothing seemed to. I became trapped in a cycle of oversleeping, binge-watching Netflix, randomly moving around, and failing to keep up with connections.
People had asked me over the years why I had given up photography, including a former art student of mine. I never knew what to say. How do you tell people that the light inside of you went out?
The only things that kept me going were my dog Angel, who looked after me without judgment, a part-time job that gave me a routine and a few good friends.
I was lucky to have a support system, but grief had consumed me, and every aspect of my life suffered as a result. I realised that I was so desperate to escape these terrible feelings that I never took the time I needed to actually heal.
I started to take quality time out to take care of myself and to do the things I used to enjoy. I learned that the only way to survive this magnitude of grief is to keep moving forward, otherwise, you'll fall into darkness. There'll be days where it'll feel impossible to keep going, but that's what we have to do. We fall, we get back up again.
So keeping with that, I'm not giving up photography. I'm going to try again and again. I may struggle with my demons along the way, but honestly, I feel really hopeful about this. I may have more of my mum's determination in me than I thought.
I plan on posting new images over time to replace the older ones, as well as writing a few blog posts a year about photography, traveling, and some tips for both. Please feel free to sign up for my blog and follow me on Instagram if you'd like to learn more about my work.
PS This article was written sometime ago. Just the love the picture of mum with me.