The Freedoms We Are Afforded

The Freedoms We Are Afforded

Freedom. What a huge topic. Working with refugees this year opened my eyes to so much. I began to question if I actually understood what freedom means. If I have never fought for it, know nothing else but it, am of a color that in my country means no discrimination, have never had to flee because of someone challenging my rights…do I understand freedom?

I’m not ready to answer that question. I may never be.

Instead, I’m inspired to get to know what freedom means to other people.
I’m inspired to celebrate the freedom I do have. This video has such a sense of freedom to it.

It allows me to help others in ways I may not otherwise be able to do. In my world, art is freedom. Creating is control. That is why I am so passionate about giving tools to create to people who may not otherwise get them. That is why I started The Light Space. That is why I started teaching self-expression workshops (called If I Could Fly) to underprivileged groups. Why I am inspired to continue working on behalf of people around the world to give a voice to those who feel silenced.

Because when we can create freely, we can express ourselves freely.

My video this week brings the idea of freedom to life. On any given day I can wake up, get in my car (that I can afford), drive to a beautiful location (that I am allowed to create openly in), take pictures of myself dressed however I see fit (because I live in a country where, as a woman, I can make those decisions without fear), and share online without worry of what people think.

What a LIFE.
Seriously, what a life.

I take this for granted. I want to take the freedoms I am given with a full heart and a serving of gusto. I want to take them by the horns and blast full steam ahead, because if I gave these same freedoms to some of the people I have met in my travels, they would do so, so much.

Which do you prefer?
Monochrome or Color?

I had a meeting with The Light Space teacher in Greece this week. The Light Space is a photography school for underprivileged groups that I started alongside Laura Price of Blossomy. We began in India and now have chapters in Thailand and Greece. Our Thai chapter serves anti-trafficking organizations in the area, teaching photography so that they may create better images for press and fundraising. Our Greek chapter serves refugees.

During my meeting with Olga in Greece, she told me about how one of the students got approval to move to Sweden. Many of the refugees in Greece are there for a safe haven but are looking to relocate somewhere permanently. It is a joyous thing when they are able to move on.

Olga told me our student moving to Sweden wanted to take a camera with her to continue her photography journey, but we couldn’t let her take one of the school cameras. I’m sending her one of my older cameras to her new home in Sweden so that she can continue her artistic life there.

When I agreed to be sponsored by Sony, it was only after a big condition – that they provide cameras to my schools in various countries as I continue to run The Light Space program. They agreed happily, and so raised my respect for a big company that didn’t have to agree to anything of the sort.

Another big factor has come into play. Because a perk of sponsorship is getting new equipment so that I have the latest to shoot with, that means I can give my older cameras to graduating students of The Light Space to further support their dreams of becoming photographers. The camera I’m sending to Sweden will be my third personal camera donation to a graduating student of TLS.

Which brings me to this: If you have a camera you want to donate to a graduating student of TLS, please let me know in the comments or email me. Because the students often move away from the TLS headquarters after graduation, they can lose access to cameras. Giving a camera to a graduate of our program ensures that they can continue to express themselves through a medium they have come to love. Plus your camera is going into a specific person’s hands, and you know it is going to be thoroughly loved.

If you feel in any way moved by the work I’m doing with The Light Space, you can donate here.

Finally, congratulations to Ale Fragoso for winning the free mentoring space this month! Signups for mentoring will take place on August 1st, 2018.

13 thoughts on “The Freedoms We Are Afforded

  1. Great video, it looked like a heck of a hike and climb! But well worth it.
    I know I take way too much for granted, in the same ways you mentioned.
    I am still using the first camera that I started with, and although it has served me very well it’s a T3i which is a big step back from those Sonys. LOL
    I do have a quick mount for a tripod that is new and never used, I ordered the wrong size like an idiot. Does TLS have a use for something like that or is it not worth the trouble? If not that is fine by me, I will just take it to PPC and give it to someone there.
    Have you ever tried peanut powder in your banana ice cream, it is wonderful! 😀

    1. It’s funny, it wasn’t a HUGE mountain, but it it was steep. And trying to film myself at the same time proved…troublesome 😀 haha! I loved it though. Peanut powder?! Never considered that! On it!

      1. Sounds like it is time to get a little drone to follow you. 😉
        And everything is better with peanut butter! LOL

  2. Freedom? I don’t think I know more about it than you do and I may be old enough to be your father. I guess I can only answer the question in the negative. That is what freedoms are withheld from us is a better question because that gives an outline of freedom. For example if you got up naked this morning, took your camera and walked to the local coffee shop. You want a coffee, a scone and you want to photograph what is going on around you. Could you do that?
    I’m not talking about your personal feelings of modesty, but rather the social restrictions and the laws that created them. Even if you worn shorts and a tee shirt you might be barred from entering the shop because you are barefoot. If we were truly free, no one would say anything or do anything. In a truly free society freedom means few laws and the citizens are self governing. You could walk to coffee shop dressed or undressed as you see fit. I’m not sure if I should write more. This is a subject that gets very deep in a hurry and I may have colored over the line already. I’d to know what you think.
    I love your photos and perhaps I could send you a few of mine.

    1. Hi Bart! I see where you’re coming from and it’s true – total freedom is so far from where we are. But, from my perspective, after working with so many people who cannot, for fear of political or social persecution, do so many things that I can, I tend to celebrate what I can do. Especially after going on a photo shoot so easily without having to worry about any of that. There is more work to do, yes, and so much to celebrate at the same time.

  3. Freedom is fleeting. What a strong topic for a creative space. I worked as a prison guard for 25 years and we officers would discuss who had lost more of their freedoms, the prisoners or us. We gave up our right to speak our minds, to religious worship, time with our families (being ordered over to a second shift) our freedom of movement, we could not leave when ordered over at least not if you wanted to keep your job. Now that I’m retired and living in my fifth wheel trailer as a camp host I am for the first time in my life truly feeling free. If I don’t like where I am I can just pack up and move. I work when I feel like it and not when I don’t. I am working to hone my craft and watching your tutorials has been a great help. Thank you for all you do to help others make their work the best it can be.

  4. First, I love the colored one. But I love color….lots of color. 🙂

    2nd, What kind of cameras are you looking for? I will see if any of the board members have any. Just DSLRs? SLRs? Pocket cameras? Also, if I collect any, how do I get them to you?

    1. Oh thank you Vicki! As for cameras, only DSLR with a lens to go with it. Hopefully newer as in from the last 5 years, but we’re open to anything. Laptops also! I’ll send you a mailing address should you have anything to send – just email! 🙂

  5. To me, the color image has more depth, giving me a greater feeling of openness and, therefore freedom. Its color palette grades from dark, warm reds in the foreground to cool and light-feeling blues in the sky, adding to my sense of openness and freedom as I move thru the image, from its base upwards through the model and soaring birds.

    Freedom, at the most personal of levels… mine… has been a wonderful gift my whole life. Other than not being able to walk nude into most coffee shops (I wouldn’t anyway…;-)), I really have not felt denied any sense of freedom of movement throughout most of the United States and Canada. When I am rightly denied freedom of movement onto an individual’s or corporation’s private property I sometimes feel saddened because the lands I would most like access to are some very beautiful and remote landscapes – expansive range lands and forests. But I am also heartened that we citizens of this great land are the guardians to our national heritage of public lands were all are welcome… with rules, of course, designed to protect those treasured lands that many of us wish to visit and enjoy. I’ll take public land use management visitor rules any day over signs saying “Private Property. No Trespassing.” So, in the end, my “lack of freedom” to encroach upon another’s private property is a very minor nuisance when compared to the wonderful freedom to explore and enjoy almost all of these United States… also without fear of harm in most situations.

    Almost daily I sense the lack of even this most basic of freedoms… that of unrestricted movement… that many people in many parts of our world will never experience and I’m saddened for them and their situtions. Add to it, tribal and national conflicts, human traffiking, economic poverty,etc and it’s difficult for me to fathom how anyone could live in those conditions, and even more how could anyone ever impose those conditions upon others.

    While we discuss real, to us, inhibitions to our personal freedoms, even the worst of conditions we experience will most likely be better than the best of conditions millions of others will ever see. I’m happy for me… us…. and saddened for so many others in this world.

    I’ve also enjoyed the freedom of expression and free choice, and I greatly appreciate that. Starting with my parents who always supported my interests without ever telling me what/who I needed to be, and now into the gracefully greyed hair stage of life I have always had, and appreciated, the freedom to determine my own destiny. As with what I’ve written above, I treasure this freedom, wish it for all and am saddened for those who will never taste this most precious of gifts.

  6. I love your art, I really wanna get into the fine art photography world and I would love to learn about your technique. I would like to take one of your mentoring courses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *