“I seek what lies beneath surface beauty. What interests me are intimate human complexities –
the darkness as well as the light.” – Joyce Tenneson
I began my love affair with photography as a means to cope with life events that were out of my control. I was on a path which lead in two very different directions, neither of which were easy. There was my career which drained me of my happiness, a marriage without love and passion, and ultimately I had lost my identity. My life needed to change and I needed to be the change. Photography became so much more than taking photographs; it became a tool that helped heal my soul.
I’m the type of person who likes everyone to feel comfortable, I wear a smile on my face when I walk into a room and strive for others approval. Seeking approval and validation from others is not the way to go because in the process you’ll forget who you are, especially as an Artist. I was looking outside of myself for validation, direction, and inspiration. Often I would find myself paralyzed and emotionless, and I was sadly ok with it. I felt a shift within myself in the coming months and began transferring my emotions into photographs. Like Tenneson says above, I too was learning to unmask my own darkness without realizing what was happening.
A lot of things in my life changed when I began to explore black and white portraiture. I finally had a place where I could process the feelings I had suppressed for so long and I found clarity. I remember a point along my journey when I shared my work with a friend and as we looked at my images I said, “I can’t believe how dark these are, I’m usually so happy.” It was almost as if I was having an identity crisis, “Who is this person? Why am I gravitating towards so much dark? What will people think? Should I share this work? What if people don’t like it?” and I thought, “Am I depressed?” This was all so foreign to me, but now I see that there is so much beauty to be found while exploring the shadows.
For me, black and white photography is all about conveying emotion. It gives me more creative control over how I choose to share my thoughts. I’ll never forget when someone described my photography style as raw, authentic, and hauntingly beautiful. I remember feeling proud, I am putting art into the world that make people feel something whether they liked it or not. I want the viewer to connect with my images – The light, the mystery in the shadows, the expressions, the caress of the hands, feeling of the embrace, and connect it to their own life. All of these elements are brought together to create a poetic story.
I knew photography was going to be a big part of my life but I wasn’t sure in what way. Never could I have imagined the journey it would take me on. I am now at a place where I recognize myself, I am proud with the woman I see; I look at each day as a new opportunity to find peace within myself. By sharing my journey with other women my hope is that they will also use photography as a tool to heal. I want women to finally be able to breathe and find a sense of relief and empowerment. We should never fear the darkness in our lives, we need to explore it, feel it and be empowered. It’s in those moments of fear that we can unlock a strength we never knew we had.
Article Feature: Dear Photographer
Written by: Megan Owen, Megan Marie Photographer