adventures around the world · Ethiopia · Portraits

Values : Authenticity

A friend and fellow photography, Shun-Luoi, has been providing me with some guidance and and wisdom as I’ve been considering making Love Roots my full-time adventure.  In the beginning of this process, he encouraged me to consider my most important values for my photography business.  He gave me a list of about 100 words including words like “challenge”, “direction”, “meaningful work”, “stability”, “generosity”, etc.  I had to narrow this list to 10 values that I will let guide me in my work and relationships through this process of creating and sustaining Love Roots Photography.  It is a challenge! So many of these values are important to me – and I finally chose 10, and will highlight a few of these here in the next few months.

Authenticity.

Here are a few definitions:

Authenticity refers to the truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions.

The reason I love this word and see it at such an important value in my life and work, is that it frees me up.  It frees me to be ME, and no-one else. In our culture, it seems like many of us are always comparing, always striving to be like someone who we may see as better, more successful, (fill-in-the-blank), than us.  Especially since I’ve begun pursuing photography, I’ve come up against that personally.  It’s easy to see all the beautiful work that others have created.  There are so many gifted artists out there, and with the ease of visability through the internet, the comparisons can be endless!  I’m reading a beautiful book by Brene Brown called “The Gifts of Imperfection”.  In it, she speaks of authenticity.

“Choosing authenticity is not an easy choice. E.E. Cummings wrote, “to be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its        best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight- and never stop fighting.”  Staying real is one of the most courageous battles that we’ll ever fight….The thing is, authenticity isn’t always the safe option.  Sometimes choosing being real over being liked is all about playing it unsafe. It means stepping out of our comfort zone.”  Brown, B. “The Gifts of Imperfection).

I love this.  Authenticity is a challenge.  It takes courage and willingness to put yourself out there as someone who is uniquely YOU.  This is a value that I want as a mark on my work, and on my life.  Not only do I want to be loyal to the practice of authenticity, but I want it to be visible in the work I do as an artist-photographer.  Creating authentic images is very important to me and I hope that those who see it can recognize that- but if they don’t….that’s ok 🙂  What matters is that I know I’m always being true to myself and true to who I was made to be- that’s the essence of authenticity!

Here’s to a year of living and creating with the value of authenticity always shining through.

(the photos above are from a life-changing trip I took to Ethiopia…more on that, soon! But for now, as you can see, the children had such beauty, such joy, and such authenticity!)

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