Inside my Shell

When I feel threatened

When I feel rejected

When I feel scared of not being loved or liked anymore

When I feel scared of my own feelings of love and closeness towards others….


I retreat inside an invisible, protective, hard shell and leave the rest of the world outside. I cut the links, the connections that would normally help me being part of that world.

I isolate myself, I become the small island in the middle of the vast ocean that cannot be reached by anyone. 

It takes courage and an open, fearless heart to reach me on that far away island. Someone who doesn’t get swept away by my own pain. Someone who doesn’t let the “egotistic mind” come in between or interfere with their own selfless motives.


I remove myself from the external world until I find balance again; till I gain control over my own negative emotions.

Having control over my feelings and emotions makes me feel safer because when I don’t get too close emotionally I can remain detached and untouched (???) by other people feelings, by their own changeable moods.

Changes!!…is that what all this is about?


Preservation is not letting anyone come too close to see my vulnerability; it is also not wanting to see their weak spots and their vulnerabilities!! 


The memories I have of me growing up are of a child who often felt abandoned and pushed away, unloved if I showed….if I….what?! I think if I wanted to be myself, or if I went against what others felt it was best for me, maybe!

Little I knew as young person that they were reacting that way to protect their own unworthy feelings and shutting down the love, helped them escape that pain.


When the energy channel of love and affection was shut off during childhood and afterwards too, I felt punished without knowing why or what I have done to deserve it. Then like the victim who turns into the perpetrator I began to use the same punishment on myself by shutting out love within and without. Love had no way to enter or to go out.  


And that became a pattern that my mind has played with me since then. The believe that I must have done something wrong to be rejected was created and the more it was played out by the mind, the deeper it became.

Self-sabotage


Love feels good when is there to feel but when is blocked, shut off it makes you feel empty.  


This is what inspired  me to create this work.

 



The Pressure of Social media

I woke up this morning reflecting on the challenges I am facing in the attempt to let people know what I do, what I have to offer, my skills and quality as a photographer and as an individual with a creative mind. 

Last night after watching a couple of documentary on Abstract Creativity I felt a little damped down, especially after the one that was depicting the world of Instagram. I use Instagram too for my work….well a little I do…but for the first time I was hit by the immensity, density and overcrowdedness of that social media platform. When I use Instagram, I simply scroll down my homepage feed and I don’t  experience how busy that whole world is in the same way as I did last night . 

I felt totally overwhelmed by it.  


I see a lot of duplication of marketing styles these days, where is the originality gone? 

The majority of people seem to follow the same templates for most things, from tv series, documentaries, marketing tactics, presentation of products, blogs, vlogs and everything else. 

Everyone is on this crazy race to put up constantly images and ash-tags of everything they are doing just to keep themselves up in the feed. Everyone seem to scream “look! I am here. This is what I do. This is what I sell. This is what I offer!”  


I see too much of the same, copies of copies repeated over and over again. 

I cannot and don’t want to be a copy of anyone else.

My whole life I’ve worked hard at maintaining my own ideas and principles without following the crowds. 


There must be another way to be and show the world out there what I love doing, what I create, the work I produce and the services I offer without feeling squashed by the social media stampede that I see happening today!!


I prefer originals to copies! 

Am I one?

Well, I don’t know for sure but I will keep trying! 



 




Metamorfosi


When I looked up its meaning I found these: 

1. A typically marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal (such as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies.

2. A change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means, the metamorphosis of humans into animals.


Only a few months ago Stuart Acre, (a very interesting man who has sadly departed for higher dimensional spheres), told me to look up the Roman writer Ovid, who about 2000 years ago, wrote a long poem based on Greek myths called “Metamorphosis”. In this very long poem, he tells stories of humans who having transgressed against the gods were punished by being changed into animals or even plants.

That is how my research for a better and deeper understanding of such a process began.


I then found an article written by Professor Stuart Reynolds (interesting enough, another Stuart!) of the university of Bath, about Metamorphosis that started me off onto my own reflective process. On one side, there was my brain reading, and taking in the scientific information, while at the same time another part of me, less analytical and more intuitive was refining, digesting, and transforming it into a more subtle, but much deeper understanding of what it all meant for me in relation to myself and one of my photographic projects about metamorphosis that I’ve already produced many months before. 

What struck me profoundly in that article is the fact that despite all the shape shifting of any animal or plant who goes through that visible process, the new creature is in essence still the same individual that it was at birth, at the beginning of its own cycle. But then… it made me wonder about which one is the beginning?! I then realised that is not a linear process but is more a continuous circular life event that keeps turning around and around like the planets in our solar system, like the tiny wee atoms that create the matter, the solid appearance of the world we see, or we think…we see!?

In the article an important question brought me to a total halt. 

What can it mean for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly, which looks so different, and yet retains its essence and the ability to reproduce another caterpillar? 

Or is it really the winged butterfly that possesses the true spirit of the insect, and the wingless worm-like larva (caterpillar) is just an incompletely developed part of the adult? 


This is when my own deep mental process began to work automatically without forcing it. I reflected on the time when the insect lives inside a stiff, protective casing. This time of seclusion from the rest of the world, totally isolated from external forces, is the most important of all. It is exactly during this time that life goes through the transformation process, growing, increasing in size, changing its shape developing its new character. All this inner transformation is not visible to the external world at first and it happens in different stages. It is only when this inner development has outgrown the protective armour that the need to replace it becomes a necessity, and yet this change still happens from within. 

When the new and bigger armour is ready, the old one will fall off and then it will continue to grow and develop from inside until the new transformed life is ready to hatch.

This process requires time, it doesn’t happen fast. The different stages of development are all equally very important and necessary for such transformation, not only on a physical level but on a spiritual level too. 


What the guy pointed out in his article that I really like is the fact that the moulting, the name attributed to this wonderful process, captures the idea of shedding old clothes but fails miserably to register that “it first involves acquiring a pristine set of new ones”. 

That is what I thought was such a profound realisation. 


Hormones play a strong part in this development, from the initial stages of the larva to the birth of the butterfly. It is the same with us, humans. Hormones have such an important role in all our developing stages, and being a woman I am so aware of them. Throughout life, from the time we prepare for our first bleeding, to pregnancy, birth, lactation and then menopause, all this is triggered by hormonal changes happening inside our bodies, our own protective armour. 

How magical is that! 

On a conscious level, I don’t think I was so deeply aware of how similar my life was to that of a butterfly,  the moment I was inspired to create the “metamorphosis” project. Yet, I feel something inside me knew it already. The process is not totally completed yet but I’m starting to understand that there is no end to anything but only a continuous transformation from one stage to the next and the next and …..  the next. 

Right now it is so clear to me!


All these elements gathered together brought a better understanding of why I created this work around my own metamorphosis process which is exactly what this story is about; a continuous transformation and self-development, on a physical level, with my body constantly changing together with my internal growth as a much more refined human and spiritual being. The wings in the final image represent the freedom from the Ego, old false believes and mental patterns acquired through life that have kept me trapped inside my own mind. 


My personal creative work is becoming more and more a physical extension of my inner work, and is helping me to grow those magical wings that will help me to fly.


The “Metamorfosi” project  started off as a set of three images but the more I worked on it and the more I discovered that I had a lot more to tell.  

The photoshoots were all great fun, and playful times. The images taken in the tunnel, in the middle of winter were exhilarating because of the cold conditions on location and had to be achieved as fast as possible because…..I WAS FREEZING!  


The first image of me inside the giant sock, is something that is not part of the original planned set, and is only one of the extra shots taken with the help of Dave Hunt - he was holding up the sock to create the hanging effect - another fab fine art photographer I’ve done a workshop with last year. I put it here just to show one of the many stages I went through in order to get to the final images, and there were lots of trials….and errors before I worked out a way that worked for me!


All images were achieved with the use of a remote shutter release gadget hidden in my hand or in the birth of the butterfly I had a friend with me who was pressing it whenever I asked to do so after getting in the different poses.


This is one of my most loved work I have created in the past three years. 


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