My Friend, the Flower Artist
Shortly after the new year last year I felt a pull towards slowing down, scaling back, and taking time to consider what exactly sets my soul on fire. Additionally, I felt a strong desire to challenge myself creatively, seeking out areas of photography I hadn't yet explored, and to delve deeper into what I do know I love to shoot, but up to that point, had been a bit reluctant to tuck into further.
Through mutual friends and networking here in Hampton Roads, I became familiar with Marissa Digiromalo, floral designer of Studio Posy, Norfolk, and her consistently gorgeous work. At the end of 2016, I realized our lives were overlapping more and more frequently. Knowing that we each share common interests--from politics to music and everything in between--I was keen to get to know her even better. This proved to be one of the best decisions I made in 2017.
Over the course of the past 15 months, I've been fortunate to spend a few lovely afternoons and evenings with Marissa. (And finally work together on four weddings!) When I pop in to visit her/the shop, or when we actually plan to see one another, time seems to speed up for me because suddenly, hours later, I find myself tardy for an appointment, or looking at the clock in disbelief, realizing how much time has passed, though I feel I've only just arrived. She's easy to talk to, a delight to be with, and just seems to get me, which I've learned through time and experience, isn't as easy as it sounds.
What started out as a request to design a bouquet she thought was representative of my brand turned into her filling her cozy store front with some of the prettiest spring florals I have ever seen--all for me to photograph! There were urns filled with foraged greenery, and centerpieces lush with blossoms in moody palettes. There were bud vases and larger vessels expertly designed with vivid flora, and stems artfully placed.
I jumped right in! It was the most fun I'd had shooting in months!
When I started my photography business in 2014, I realized quickly that I had less time to pursue personal photography projects, and my time behind the camera became--literally--my job. Because I fell in love with photography first, not business, I found this frustrating. I didn't want to grow resentful towards my business, but between "behind the scenes" work--the day-to-day of running the business-- and taking care of things outside my business (spending quality time with my family, household tasks, and homeschooling my boys), I didn't have much time to pursue passion projects.
Connecting with Marissa, and being able to photograph her and the magic she creates was refreshing and soul-awakening. It made me recognize how important it is not to lose focus (har har) on what first drove me to pursue my career as a full-time photographer. It was also challenging, as I had never photographed flowers before in this way. I photograph them on wedding days, but I had never concentrated exclusively on them. They were always a part of the bigger story. It felt good to step out of my comfort zone.
In slowing down and scaling back, and explore what inspires me, I was able to recognize that I was living and leading in fear, even though if you had asked me, I would have been all, "NO WAY! I eat fear for breakfast!"
To allow myself to be vulnerable in seeking and nurturing a friendship with Marissa, to open myself up to the chance of failing miserably in this endeavor, and by putting my work/art out there, something new, and quite out of my wheelhouse was and is... scary. Every time I hit publish, or share something on social media, I panic and second guess myself a bit. (OK, sometimes it's more than just a bit. Have you SEEN how mean people can be on the internet?!) However, if I've learned anything since I first opened my doors, it's that fear is a [constant] threshold that has to be stepped over in order to move on, evolve, level up.
An unexpected bonus of hanging out with Marissa has been the inspiration and creativity that seems to come with her collaboration. I was at a place in my life where I was feeling quite uninspired--gloomy, even--and both this creative work and Marissa's friendship has done a lot for my soul. She continually inspires me to be bolder, stand stronger, lift my chin higher, and keep going. I have to admit, I have never had a friend like her, and it's been a major highlight of my year.
I am so looking forward to continuing down this path-- one of allowing myself to let go of what's been holding me back from completely immersing myself in my life. To bid adieu to the crippling perfectionism I've had a death grip on, and the anxiety of allowing myself to be seen and heard as the woman I want to be, the woman that I know I am, and who I can be. I am excited to see where this will take me, despite the tough bits. When you've white-knuckled your life for so long, there's bound to be residual pain after the release. I want to face this head-on.
These are some of my favorite images from the last year working with Marissa--from early spring centerpieces in March to wreath making in December.