Musings

yin x yang

I believe in the principle of yin and yang - that all things have a counterbalance and a complement. Yin and yang might seem contradictory individually, but when the right two come together, they form perfect harmony. They emphasize the individuality and the other-ness of their counterpart. They neither take anything away nor add to the other, yet the marriage of the two creates something beautiful and profound.

For me as an artist, and being so focused on color, this concept carries into my work as well. Every color has an opposite that is very different, but complementary. And every photograph that speaks to me is a yin waiting for its yang. Many times its match is not always the obvious, it’s more based on feeling.

My photograph Conception (below left) has always been my personal favorite photo. This was the first photo I exhibited (at the UNICEF art show in LA). It was shot in the winter of 2016 during my 365 project and it represents, to me, birth, the womb, a journey. When I look at it I feel as though I’m moving towards the beginning of life, and this mysterious light is the entry point.

This summer I was traveling to the airport into the sunset, and the sky lit up with the most glorious light display. It moved me so much that I pulled my car off the highway and took a photo (luckily I had my camera with me). The resulting image on the right is the yang to my yin. It’s called Consummation and it’s about the beauty of endings. I look at it and I see a celebration of completion. So often we feel the need to think of what’s beyond an ending (like the afterlife when a loved one dies, or hope after a relationship dissolves). But an ending in itself is beautiful.

These two photos will forever be paired in my mind - yin and yang, beginning and end, winter the summer, cold and warmth, darkness and light, Conception and Consummation.

on being human

It makes me sad that in our culture we glorify the “brave face”. We are so uncomfortable with suffering. How was your day? we ask. How have you been? And if we are honest enough to say we had a really bad day, or it’s been hard lately, we feel compelled to follow up with saying it’s part of the job, or that’s how life is, or put some positive spin on it, like how we’re learning some good life lessons or in the big picture it’s not all that important. We might say “others have had it worse” and try to diminish what we feel. We put on the smile and show how much faith we have, how brave and how strong we are. You’re a fighter! people say admiringly, as if it’s all about winning and losing.

It takes more strength to be vulnerable than to be strong. Pain and failure are not weakness, and a brave face is not strength. It takes immense courage to show someone else our suffering - to let them see into the darkest corners of our lives, to tell them we’re hurt, or sad, and let it sit right there where it is - without diminishing it or making it ok for ourselves or anyone else. I think this is where healing begins.

Being human means that we experience all of the facets of existence - suffering as well as joy, failure as well as success. Why are we all so afraid to be human?

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.
— Washington Irving

truth

Many of us live our lives very publicly in today’s world. The internet and social media have made it possible for us to share our everyday thoughts, feelings, spaces, opinions, relationships and decisions with complete strangers. As time goes on I see this as more and more of a danger; part of the truth may be left in the shadows. In that respect we only really know half (at best) of someone’s story, and so often we judge what we read or see on the surface without truly understanding.

Assume the compassionate view of others, if in doubt. Every one of us is trying our best, and light and darkness are both part of our stories.

autumn

It’s almost November. It smells like wood smoke outside, wood smoke and pungent saltwater and decay. Damp fog chills to the bone, fragile frost crystals gleam and break at first light. Yellow school buses squeal to a stop, whoosh, sigh, swallow children, move on.

It’s almost November. I bring out the boots, the throw blankets, the scratchy plaid scarf that was my grandmother’s. I order new books. At the supermarket, wooden crates overflow with carefully and somewhat precariously stacked apple varieties. There are squashes and ciders and pumpkins and ears of dried purple corn. At the coffee shop I drink a hot latte and eat a scone that tastes of orange, ricotta and spiced nutmeg.

It’s almost November, and before I know it, this wild riot of color will sleep beneath a blanket of gray and white.

L1011197.jpg

rebecca lily pro set v

I've been a little quiet here on my blog, but busy with color in the studio! I just released Pro Set V for Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw last week. I loved creating the bold new looks for this set, from vivid to pastel to dark & moody!

I treat every color palette I design as artwork and a means of expression. Just as a photograph is most impactful when it is both technically sound and conveys heart, I believe a professional color grading product ought to be reliable but also artistic in approach. Color to me is art, and art is true inspiration come to life – not an emulation, not a science, not a copy of what has already been done before, but a unique idea expressing itself.

Pro V is my idea of what beauty and feelings look like in color form. My hope is that every individual photographer who uses it finds their favorite color palettes that resonate with their own particular way of self-expression. It's been so exciting for me since the launch to see photographers around the world love and use Pro V creatively!