pixie campbell, canon 50d
I met Pixie years ago in my very first online community: Sark's Marvelous Message Board. Both her and I moved on from that community to writing our own blogs and a few years later, her and I reconnected again in blogland. In the beginning, I went by the name Bohemian Girl and in her comments, she addressed me as Boho. It caught on and others started doing it as well. I myself connected more with that sweet nickname and there you have it. Pixie is the one who named me. ; )
I received a very tantalizing email from her a few months ago wooing me out of my sabbatical to photograph her. I told her that I feel rusty and that she would be the perfect person to stretch my photographer limbs and explore where I am at with this art of mine. It had been a little over a year since I had a session. When she told me how enormous this session would be for her at this time in her life and that she wanted no one else for the job, I felt honored, humbled...and more importantly, needed. I had forgotten what it felt like to feel needed in a deep and spiritual way outside of these four walls of my home. It gave me courage.
I told her I have a mushy mama brain. She told me she does too. So, we gathered our wits and our charms and wine and cheese and music and props and dress-up duds and hats and BRAVERY and we hiked up a weedy hill to see what would follow us in our surrender.
It started with sitting on a blanket, taking deep breaths and reminiscing about the journey of our relationship. How when I was going through fertility stuff, she was having babies and how neither of us forced anything with one another at that time. The mutual respect between Virgo sisters born just a few days apart has always lived between us. There were a few tears. Then we lightened up and tossed around dreams about our art. Then we burned sage. Then made a prayer to the heavens. Then once the big black top hat went on her gorgeous head, the whole darn field was infused with magic. I call it our Pleasure Field. I felt a warmth surrounding us and our vulnerability gave way to some very raw and moving moments with one another, with ourselves, with Mother Earth and some singing coyotes.
The whole session shifted some things for both of us. She wrote a bit about her thoughts on it here. For me personally, it opened up a space in me that hasn't been explored in some time. Sessions to me go so far beyond just capturing moments for my client. Every single one of my sessions so far has been rooted in some sort of transformation for the artist I am photographing. It is emotional and freeing and opening. Not only for them but for me. It has always felt like an even exchange of love and adoration. And it never just happens within the few hours of shooting. The transformation begins with the emails exchanged beforehand and then perhaps a long phone call and then right before the session when there are hands being held and long gazes and spilling and tears and then afterward...the emails sharing how they feel changed and how I feel changed and the photos shared and oh man...they feel beautiful and whole and seen and I feel seen. Its such an intense process and it is why I am not able to do this all the time. I am so lead by my heart on the timing of sessions and I honestly let go and don't try to make any of this happen. It is such a lesson in trust for me. Its been hard to put into words for people why I don't offer myself as a photographer full time. I am not even sure if I knew why exactly...until now.
Pixie asked me where my heart was now with my art after having this session. I told her it felt like a veil is lifting and I am beginning to see and feel more clearly where I want to journey with this art of mine.
A previous client of mine wrote this to me recently...
Denise, you have no idea no idea all that followed from that cracking open-- I am so in my beauty. My soul is so in me. SO much is happening and it ALL. BEGAN. WITH. THAT. TRANSFORMATIVE. photo shoot.
I think I am learning that I may have a deeper purpose with my lens. Its not easy for me to say that. I am shyly putting it out to the world. As most anyone who knows me intimately, knows I can be humble...to a fault. Meaning, it is easier for me to let others shine than to allow my sparkles to glisten. But after every session, I have received very similar sentiments and years into it, I am just now willing to embrace that there is something truly unique happening here and I promise you I am not at all thinking it is about me. I feel strongly that it is a collaborative movement between spirits. A movement that I want to tap more into to see where it can take me and other photographers. Its a movement that isn't just about the images but the process and the journey.
Look at the peaceful calm on Pixie's face in those last few photos. I look at those and cry every. single. time. I want to bottle that cocoon of soft flowing self love and abandon and gently mist it all over our world and throughout the Universe.
We were one another's nurturer that day. Then we ended with wine and food and feeling tipsy and giggling. You can't end a day in a Pleasure Field without getting high.