EXPANDing "nature Photographer"
Nature Photography can provide expansion to our lives when we refuse to limit ourselves by only seeking perfectly stunning views and rigidly defining "nature photographer".
Before I talk about my personal experience, I want to share a bit about my professional experience. I went to school for photography in 1999, worked in the photo industry from 1996-2007, and, though I was never a professional nature photographer, my nature photos have been in art shows and gallery exhibits. In addition to public displays, I've also created several commissioned pieces of nature-based photographic fine art.
I share this not to establish expertise or claim anywhere near perfection in my images, but to highlight the fact that my personal experience as a woman supersedes my professional experience and conditioning as a trained photographer. I'm grateful this is the case, because nature photography has the potential for providing healing when we expand our views.
As a divorced woman who photographs solo and has been twice diagnosed with and treated for violence-related PTSD, there are a few things I do differently than many who call themselves nature photographers.
February and March are difficult months for me. My movements become slow and scattered, my body becomes heavy and lethargic, and my thoughts swirl around both despair and hope. This year, I didn't have the external demands of full-time employment to force my body against these rhythms. It wasn't easy to sit in this season without distractions or accomplishments, but I can feel myself slowly emerging both stronger and softer this Spring. Nature Photography kept me moving - physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
Staying close to home provided a bit of comfort and connecting to the natural world within my city neighborhood provided a bit of joy. Because my mind and body are still a bit heavy at the moment, I'm only going to share a simple, one-sentence insight: there are many ways to connect with nature and many ways to serve as nature photographer.
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Not all of us have the same relationship with the outdoors. That doesn't make those of us who are more vigilant less worthy storytellers or nature lovers. In fact, we may have more interesting and loving stories to tell. Let's not be afraid to share, witness, and embrace the unconventional stories. Instead, let's allow and celebrate complexity within nature photography and the locations we feel a connection.
When have you expanded your perspective on labels and rules to include
Kristin Perry is a nature photographer navigating life's complexities by focusing on beauty.