It’s a general rule of thumb that artists, writers and anyone with a dream should surround themselves with positive energy. That’s a relatively easy thing to do. However, once you do that, sharing your work and talking about your dreams can be another thing entirely.
There was a time when I had such a hard time sharing my work or inner most thoughts—even with friends. It wasn’t that I didn’t want them to know. I was afraid they’d think I was crazy or worse. 😉
I quickly discovered, however, that if you don’t put yourself out there for the world to see, no one will know what you do. I also learned that support shows itself in the least expected ways.
In addition to writing, I dabble in photography. Mind you, my work isn’t as brilliant as Leanne Cole’s , whose site you have to visit, but I occasionally get a nice shot off every now and then!
I’ve taken a few photography courses, learned about f-stops and apertures, and studied the work of master photographers. My favorite photographer was Gordon Parks—the ultimate Renaissance man.
In addition to being one of America’s most renowned photographers, Parks was a film director, of the “Learning Tree” and (a little movie called “Shaft”, which is now a classic) writer, and musician.
Anyway, let me get back to sharing our work. We’ll talk about Gordon Parks in a bit.
A dear friend of mine, who I’ve know for well over 15 years now, knew all about my writing and photography. We talked about it occasionally, only because I never wanted to take over the conversation with writing talk.
First, let me tell you about my friend. She’s a former model. She, Beverly Johnson, and the late Naomi Sims, used to work the catwalk in Milan, and Paris. She left the business and went on to pursue a career in the corporate sector, where I had the pleasure of meeting her. We became fast friends.
One day we were discussing photography, and I casually mentioned (again opening up) my artistic obsession with Mr. Parks. She glanced at me over her red-frame glasses and smiled.
“I know Gordon,” she said. “I met him when I was modeling.”
“Really?” I tried to sound nonchalant, but it wasn’t working.
She smiled again, knowing good and well I was about to burst with excitement. “Yes, he lives in New York still. We used to hang out all the time.”
If that wasn’t enough to make me pass out, what she did next blew me away. She picked up the phone and began to dial. I felt my lungs tightening—no air entered or escaped.
When she handed the phone to me, and said, “Gordon wants to say hello,” I almost fainted. The conversation was brief, and polite. I remembered telling him how he inspired me and how much I loved his work. Then, I handed the phone back to my friend, and sat down. Stunned.
I hadn’t seen it coming, the unselfish gesture of a friend who supported my work and my dreams. I will never forget that moment. I’m indebted to her for making something that marvelous happen.
That was in 1999, and when Mr. Parks passed away in 2006, I was heartbroken. However, I was also honored to have spoken to him, if only for a few moments.
I visited his exhibit, “Half Past Autumn,” at the New York Museum of Art, just before his death, and was blown away once again by his work. If you’re a lover of photography or beautiful things, I’d recommend adding this book to your collection.
Lesson learned? Don’t be afraid to share what you love doing. Surround yourself with positive energy and embrace the support received because you never know what might happen.
For me, I was able to speak to one of my greatest sources of inspiration and he spoke back.