Updated: Apr 26
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou Here’s my story. From the moment I held my first camera, a crayon, a colored pencil, a piece of charcoal, or a brush full of brightly colored paint, I knew I wanted to be an artist. My family was very supportive of my desire to make art. The summer of 1975 at the age of 16, I traveled to Versailles, France to visit my aunt, uncle and three cousins who were a few years younger than me. My dad gave me his Time Life Library of Photography to learn from, and his Minolta film camera to take with me on my journey.
Traveling around the French countryside, we visited all of the old cathedrals we could find, structures more beautiful, ornate and ancient than anything we have here in the United States. We spent time in Paris at the Louvre where I was exposed to incredible works of art. We climbed the Eiffel Tower for cloud-covered views of the surrounding area. My aunt even bought me a crepe pan to take home. We drank wine, and bought a fresh baguette and cheese from the little boulangerie down the street from their home each afternoon to hold us over until dinner. The support continued. I was allowed to pursue my passion in college, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Art Studio and Art History while learning to develop film, creating etchings for print making and photo silk-screen. I invested in a good camera. As soon as I graduated from college, I got a full-time job, married and at the young age of 20, gave birth to our daughter and quickly put aside my passion for art to take on the role of "mom." Somewhere along the line, I dropped my camera and stopped taking pictures, along with the pencils, sketch pad and canvas and focused on work, family and travel when I could. In 1997, in preparation for our daughter’s senior school trip to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, I purchased my first digital point and shoot camera. I dabbled with it when I got home and shot with it until I wore it out. Fast forward to 2007, after both my parents and my father-in-law had both passed away from some lengthy illnesses, I invested in a professional camera just prior to embarking on the "Magical History Tour" the three of us took to London, Liverpool and Hamburg Germany. It was truly the trip of a lifetime! From there, I was bitten by the photography bug again and again and again! In 2010, I got my dream job with an amazing Arts organization in Human Resources. I got to help open a performing arts center, work around artists and musicians all day and was surrounded by art on every wall in my office building. In addition, I was able to use my photography skills to promote the organization, our events, artists and staff every single month of my 11+ years in that role. I was truly blessed to have served in such a creative capacity, using all of my many skills and expertise. I continued to find ways to hone my photography skills by attending meetups, joining photo clubs and attending events. In 2018, several of us women photographers were shooting at a fine art event with mostly male photographers when one of the models told us that she had never actually worked with women before. That’s when the lightbulb went off and Women’s Collaborative, Art of the Woman was born. In January of this year, I traveled to Imaging USA, the annual conference for the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) to study for their certification exam and take the test. I passed the test and am finishing up the technical evaluation this week, hoping to earn my Certified Professional Photographer credential. Now at the age of sixty four, it’s time to re-focus my time and energy on creating art again…for me! I am looking forward. There is still much for me to learn and many more years for me to grow as an artist!
While we may have been on “pause” for a few years due to COVID, Diane, Zinn, and I have continued to stay connected and have been brainstorming and planning for future adventures for our members and followers for when we could safely re-convene. We have spoken with a number of you throughout the past two years, and you told us you prefer to work in the summer and outdoors, so we are planning two to three events for the summer of 2022. We will be reaching out to you soon with more details. In the meantime, take our brief survey here. That’s my story about my passion for art and photography. What’s yours? We would love to hear from you! Drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Cindy (photo courtesy of Jim Williams)