From the Shadows…Into the Light

I did not come to photography looking for magic. I came looking for a way to speak my pain. In the process of finding images to portray my darkness, I passed through the shadows into light. Now, I am one of photography’s many lovers, devoted to the art of seeing and revealing. […] There’s something holy about this work, something healing about this search for light. Like the pilgrim’s journey, it’s heaven all the way.

–Jan Phillips, God Is at Eye Level

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

–Mary Oliver, “The Uses of Sorrow”

Through a casual Facebook post featuring some of her favorite books, my pen friend Connie F, introduced me to Jan Phillip’s book, God Is at Eye Level [Thanks, Connie!]. With Amazon [birthday] gift card in hand [Thanks, Tee!], I ordered the book and two others on creative and contemplative photography. 

The photograph of the wilted sunflower is the result of an exercise in God Is at Eye Level that invites readers to use an entire [pretend] 24-exposure roll of film to explore one strong emotion. It is my attempt to capture the tension between the darkness that walks with me as I deal with grief and trauma and the light I feel I need to project.  

But I am learning, day by day, there is value in darkness, particularly if we are using it to move toward Light.

In the quote above, Phillips underscores the usefulness of darkness, its role in our creativity and healing. Darkness is a “gift,” a necessary part of process; therefore, it’s critical that we face the darkness, wrestle with it, deal, so that we might emerge whole, or maybe not as fractured. Running away from it—creating some inauthentic happy place—only imprisons us. The operative word is emerge. Eventually, we “pass through” darkness and into the fullness of Light.

10 thoughts on “From the Shadows…Into the Light

  1. Janet from FL says:

    I clicked like, but I LOVE this! We struggle with darkness, and pass through into the light! I love the feeling of the sunflower picture showing both light and dark in the sunflower. The light we find after the darkness makes the darkness a journey, not our life, not our punishment… This post is a keeper. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Esha says:

    This is so beautiful and profound! I’m glad you decided to share your journey with us through this absolutely stunning image, Chandra! I wish you love, light and catharsis. I really do wish that you can come out of your pain and trauma, healed and healthy enough to take on life once again, with renewed vigour and energy.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post and for joining us this week, Chandra.
    Love and hugs, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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