Six hundred twenty-one thousand seven hundred minutes, that’s how long since my last post. And this will be my last as Linda Crayton Photographer.
Earlier last year after I backed my way out of my Pop’s empty home for the last time, wiping away my footprints and tears with a cleaning rag, I found myself at the beach and lighthouse. These places are etched in my soul. For thirty-eight years I sat at Pop’s kitchen table looking out over this beach, water, and seascape. I knew this, all of it, wasn’t just the end of a chapter. It was something much bigger. It felt like I was closing a book.
Everything in the last few years, from moving to and making a home on Vashon to walking my Pop “home”, is the ending of my third book in the series of my life. With Books I and II covering my childhood and college to career, Book III was about my family, the family I created as an adult. And photography was a large part of that. Photography really worked for me and my young family.
But change happens and it happened within my family and business. My girls morphed into young women while the business of being a photographer exploded, or was it imploded, around the internet then social media. Regardless, I had to change what I was giving in my life. I’ll change for my kids, but I am not for photography. Instead I am going to watch and support the players on the field while holding a beer and popcorn on the sidelines.
I consider it a soft break up. We still love each other. I am keeping my cameras. I’m just taking down the shingle.
I’ll never forget what it gave to me. I cherish all the places my camera took me. I stepped over welcome mats and into personal, sacred spaces. I stood on unmade beds and followed babbling babies and Fluffy into undone closets. Hundreds of beautiful people shed their everything in front of me. I was able to tell so many stories through the gift of trust.
Answering the “why are you leaving?” is so wide. I found we live in the land of too much and too many. We are buried in a sea of things, digital images included. The value of skilled photography has been diminished and people want more for nothing. I lost the desire chase the market down. But harder for me is that more and more people don’t like what they see, in themselves and their images. I could choose to breathe into this space, and make it mine. I could lean in really hard. But I see so many photographers and activists working to promote better body image and focus on what really matters, and doing really good work, that I feel it isn’t my calling.
I feel the pull, or maybe a push, elsewhere. I am taking all of my years of experience in food service, as a CPA, in banking, non-profit work, bodywork, parenting (project management, right?), real estate management, and photography to make something new. It’s the multipotentialite in me.
The girls are not sad. They have already decided what to do with my cameras. They can borrow them, but I’ll still going to do some photography, just not as Linda Crayton Photographer. Personal and non-profit work will call and I’ll answer.
Before I sign off, I have a couple of things to ask as Linda Crayton Photographer.
First, hire professional photographers sometimes. Photographs are the record of your family traditions. They tell your history. I have pulled together many photos over the years for clients and for friends as they deal with grief and loss. They mean so much.
Then, this is important, every year have a few special images printed. Aside from a fire or flood, prints don’t go away as easily as digital media is. Corrupt files are gone. Backups fail. Enjoy your prints. Hang them. Look at them. Remember your history.
Lastly, be kind, to yourself and others, and give. You too just might just start to see the person looking back at you in the mirror or in that photograph as truly lovely. Heart is undeniably beautiful. I am learning that I always have something to give, and I can find it by asking “What do I have, right now, to give.” Sometimes the best thing may just be my silence. Sometimes it is a lot more. Listen to your heart, give, and be kind. It’s a win-win, and much needed in our world.
I am signing off with my most meaningful images from 2016.
Moving on to “Book IV—Renewal”
In kindness and love, Linda
This family… They are everything wonderful and more. I am so glad they are a part of our lives.
I loved, loved getting on the floor with kids
This family. I met them in DC, when they had just welcomed their second child, and followed them to upstate NY. I have watched their children grow.
There was a Nutcracker Performance on Island. I was inspired by Annie Leibowitz for this shot.
Pete Droge and Elaine Summers welcomed me into their beautiful, art-filled home in preparation for their first live gig in many years.
I knew him before he entered preschool. Look at him now.
Ronly. I am finally taking my 40th birthday yoga retreat with Ronly, after my 49th birthday. She is a beautiful soul.
AIE–I love the diversity of this campus. Makes me wonder what our young women will choose for their careers.
Steph–Steph was a supporting role in 3 other weddings whose personality made her a standout. And when she called to ask about a referral, I came out of wedding retirement. I had to see her marry her guy, surrounded by the people she loved most. And I understood why she loved them–they are a stellar bunch of people!
Elise. My Goddaughter. One of my favorite people. I’ve watched her grow and become a strong, confident young woman. She is dedicated and willing to work hard. It’s been wonderful to watch her open her wings and take flight.