Sunday Morning.

 

In full force working from the heart. In 2013 I will offer exclusively documentary/lifestyle and emotive portrait sessions (non-traditional: fine-art studies, conceptual, experimental) for children and families. I’ve been very focused on storytelling and practicing this skill over the past couple of years, building up to this permanent change, and I’m so incredibly grateful to the art of mobile photography for reawakening that in me. Remember, these sessions are also available free of charge for families or children in need. Visit [ this link ] to see recently updated information regarding charity sessions. Have a great evening <3

 

xo

Michelle

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May the Rain Fall in Torrents

 

Air is cold, love is near

And conversation awaits.

What fate is sealed, what is left to contemplate?

(All things. Shan’t we draw out our minds onto paper?)

 

Neither experts nor amateurs exist;

There are no definitions. There is no sacrifice.

Even giving and taking carves out stone sculptures where we once stood breathing.

 

What is all to misunderstood

Is that simple four letter word

The one that strips you bare and leaves you completely exposed, hands tied, eyes glistening and wide.

Love can synchronize hearts, it can rip hearts apart.

 

Still, we insist upon dissecting ourselves and ponder that perfecting situations will help;

In vain.

 

For bigger than ourselves, and even bigger than love

Is the wide and infinite Universe embracing us

Sustaining us.

 

Oh, Entertainment and Lust, your waters only drip;

May the rain fall in torrents like scenes from movies wherever there is trust.

 

There is much to believe in.

Though we have walked along the shore, the ocean speaks and the galaxies await.

 

© Michelle Black Dec 2012

 

 

 

 

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Transformation of Consciousness | Shift of Ages: What I was doing during “The Apocalypse”

 

 

This is one of those moments where I’m thankful that my mother chose “Dawn” for my middle name, a word that means “a beginning”……

Many believe that today marks the end of the world, but many others believe that 2012 is the year of change and transformation, when our old ways of thinking cease to exist and we take on a better perspective,  joining forces with all that is,  a new beginning. (try a google search for “galactic alignment“).

I spent “The Apocalypse” prancing around in the snow, engaged in a quiet meditation that centered on gratitude. I plan to spend the rest of it listening to Dead can Dance and making Christmas cards:)

 

 

 

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Quieting Down: A Simplified Lifestyle

Knowing When to Quiet Things Down

Summer / Fall of 2011 was literally the busiest time of my entire life. Juggling a studio/business, teaching three online courses, selling products from a second business website, and struggling to keep up with all of life’s regular responsibilities, I found myself overwhelmed (and not handling it gracefully, to say the least). I remember Megan Miller of Picture This Photography walking into the studio one summer morning and I had been there working all night without much sleep for the third night that week. “Oh my God, you look terrible,” she said. And I did. My son was sleeping on the studio couch. We brought his video games and bicycle so he could ride around for entertainment while I worked.  Since when did something that I love so much (my business) become such a distraction in my life? And not only that… I realized my values were shifting as a result. The large townhouse I was living in took so much time to clean, the photography studio needed to be tended to, and let’s not mention keeping up with all the paperwork and organization of bills. Thanks to Megan and her husband Adam for making that part easier on me:)

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been in this predicament.. where life’s responsibilities weigh so heavily that you’re not sure how to find comfort or balance. The key is realizing that something needs to be done, and then doing something about it.

 

Simplifying Your Life

Since that time I’ve had some heartfelt discussions with Nate Embrey over at TheShotShot, the incredible Tina Dolin ( who has been an incredible asset to my journey ), Amy Parrish of Atelier,  Taisha Holland at Cloud 9 hair design. Josh Branstetter ( jabberpics.com ), the spectacular Kina Williams ( who has become quite the spiritual mentor ) — my sister and grandparents, and some wonderful friends. Yes this is a thanks to you all before continuing <3

I’ve been wanting to write about this for quite sometime but it wasn’t until a trip to the mountains a couple of weeks ago that all of the manifestations of “letting go” seemed to become very clear to me. (I’ll be posting a video blog about that soon.)

Although it isn’t an easy thing to do but here are some basic steps: 

1) Determine what is absolutely necessary, and what is important to you. Once you do that, it’s time to start “cleaning house” so to speak. It just so happened that a move was in the cards for me, so it helped me rid my life of a lot of material things and focus on what was sentimental. One thing I knew I wanted to do was move into a smaller living space for awhile (if not permanently). It’s taken some time to adjust to the smaller space, but again, after my visit to the mountains and returning home, it feels more like home here than ever now. You have to be happy where you are and appreciate it for what it is — if you can’t do that then ask yourself what needs to change, and change it! You can do it:)

2) Accept that this is a gradual process. You aren’t going to just get rid of all the mind clutter and the stress, you’re going to have to make a plan of action and stick with it. For example.. I decided I didn’t want a car payment anymore, so now I’m driving my sister’s first car that’s paid off. That was my “step one.” When you can act on things with a step by step approach, you’ll be more likely to follow through.

3) Accept that you might cry a lot. (haha). This is emotional. But again — you can do this.

4) Determine what will make your life and well-being a healthy place to exist. For me, that meant cutting out alcohol, staying away from situations that distracted from my personal and spiritual growth. I realized that more than anything else I wanted to be a good parent, a good friend, a helpful person, to be truer to my motivations and aspirations as a businessperson (or do something else and preserve my love for photography) …… and ultimately to evolve spiritually and manifest a sense of composure in all that I do (instead of chaos). It didn’t start out as chaos, but if you’re unprepared it sure can get that way in a hurry.

5) Accept your faults and forgive yourself. More tears probably. But that’s okay… let’s just call that “adult growing pains“.

6) Changing your values really does change your behavior. I promise that lying beneath all of that doubt, confusion, and worry, there’s a pretty amazing individual under there.

7) Be willing to be alone. People are going to “go away” so to speak. You’re on a journey. But rather than looking at it as “losing people” look at it as staying true to your path. There are billions of human beings and when you follow your bliss, you’ll run into others who are following theirs. It’s incredible! You’ll also realize that there are people right under your nose that have been there with you all along. People come and go, and that’s okay. If you have to stay away from things that distract from your path for a little while until you’re more secure in the transition, that’s okay too. I find that even the simplest social gatherings aren’t good for me sometimes. Knowing your own boundaries is essential to the development of self-discipline, and surprisingly it is through discipline that one can find a true sense of freedom.

8) Be aware of the energy all around you, and of the energy that you transmit. That always sounds so vague. But I believe that we all have a sixth sense and we all know when our environment doesn’t exactly match our “flow” of energy. The important thing to understand is – it’s you, not them. Not that there’s anything wrong with you, but it’s up to you to decide what to do with the energy around you in varying situations.

9) Practice kindness and respect towards all beings. 

10) Remember that your happiness depends on your perspective! 

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Howard Thurman

 

That’s all for now.. I’m hoping this was worth something to you all. Until next time.. I leave you with a mobile photo of the place I was when the “light went on” in my head… at Mt. Pisgah in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Have a beautiful weekend and a lovely holiday everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read!

 

 

xo,

EscapeToLight

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Out to a Frosted Morning

There are surprises in every day.

I welcome and accept what each day and its new light brings.

 

 

What I’m currently working on:

  • continuing to update the new online portfolio (website)
  • Finishing up November / December 2012 clients (Closed to new projects until 2013)
  • Inspirational Video Blog Posts:)
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Custom Handcrafted Art Journals with Prints

Now offering these custom, hand made art journals for my clients.

Bringing together a love for writing, making gifts, upcycling, recycling, and photography all in one motion. These will include up to 20 textured prints and 40 pages of sketches, prose, poetry, and overall goodness. Pages containing loose prints will be carefully protected using acid free paper lining. Gift boxed and gorgeous:)

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BBC Planet Earth on a New Level

 

I’m sure most of you have watched the beautiful series called Planet Earth that was first aired on the BBC in 2006. The film crew spent 5 years documenting the high – def footage. I was pleased to see them using a Nikon D200 in some of the time lapses, not because I work primarily with Nikon but because it goes to show that if you know your gear you can produce ‘miracles’. I’ll call this series a miracle because it combines unexplored terrain with pure art.

I was introduced to the idea of watching the series on mute, while playing an album in place of the narration. Strangely enough, friends and I discovered a perfect match up when we paired the “Caves” episode with Tool’s 10,000 Days album. Of course you need to start the music where the footage begins and the music fits perfectly with the imagery throughout the entire episode. I went on to discover that Beef Terminal’s ‘The Grey Knowledge’ fits just as well with the “Caves” episode. Point being… if you’re looking for a way to sweep yourself away into oblivion with inspiration, try experimenting with different albums paired with different episodes.

My 10 year old son and I enjoyed this phenomenon together lastnight and ordered a pizza; let’s just say he was nothing short of thrilled:)

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A Stranger.

Last month I traveled to Indiana to photograph the vow renewal of John and Janie Yoder at Imagination Photography (will be posting those photos soon). Still, I need to add that it was an absolute pleasure to attend and observe that amazing couple and their friends, wow. Take a look at the “Get Excited” video that the two directed and filmed for their guests, and be ready for tears. I’m also humbled and grateful to call them friends of mine.

On my way home from the lovely celebration, I made a stop in Fort Wayne, IN to visit a long-time friend. Coffee was calling my name, and I had some Philosophy homework to complete so I went downtown to Starbucks and set up my mobile office on one of their couches. Why is it that the mind starts to wander when it is required to focus? Well, that was happening to me as I sat typing, deleting, typing, deleting. I simply could not articulate my thoughts and the couple sitting next to me was distracting; I watched as they acknowledged they had known one another from some time ago and started playing catch up.

You could call this eavesdropping, but the moment called out to me and naturally warmed my heart; Their body language was so welcoming and warm, her smiles and laughter were lighting up the place. I admit… I snagged a photo of them and added it to my Instagram Gallery. I couldn’t help myself.

Shortly after I took the photograph, the sweetest girl sat next to me and started a conversation (on one of those pretty burgundy chairs shown in the photo above). Just like that — she and I were discussing all sorts of things.  I had about an hour to kill before meeting up with my friend, and Beautiful Stranger asked if I wanted to check out a park and gallery nearby.

There are so many people out there that we can learn from and make connections with… all of them, in fact, when we can quiet our own agenda enough to let someone else’s world influence what we already (think we) know, need to do, should be doing. You’re guaranteed to walk away with new knowledge and a new perspective if you slow down and quiet your own mind. Allowing for mediums of exchange in our every day lives is so valuable — it supersedes the concept of ‘give and take’ entirely.

I’m really grateful to have met her and shared an hour together during which she trusted me to be a part of her world.

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alternate versions of self

We fluctuate between alternating versions of the ideal self in search of the perfect balance.

 

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More October Sessions at Riverside

Here are some images from the second day of sessions at Riverside last month in Zanesville, Ohio. What an amazing day, and the weather was on our side!

Styling by Taisha Holland at Cloud 9 Hair Design.

Clothing by various independent designers including PetalPetal, Sweet Violet Jane, and SparrowHills.

Special thanks for the opportunities provided by each of you!

If you are a stylist or designer and would like to plan a collaborative event with me during Winter or Spring in your area, please feel free to call at your convenience.

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