Domonique Wiseman and the Healing Powerof a 50 mm Lens
I used to be a “happy snapper”, always the one with the camera at gatherings and on holidays but that was about as far as I got until 2011 in which photography became my medicine.
In September of 2010 I moved from Australia to New Zealand with the firm belief that I was starting a new chapter in my life that involved abundance, love and joy. By March of 2011 I had made the decision to return home after a series of events that had broken me, cleavered me open, and annihilated me from the inside and out. I was experiencing deep, profound and at times debilitating grief. During the six weeks that it took for me to extract myself from New Zealand I was struggling to get a hold on the emotional turmoil that so characterizes grief and trauma. I was flipping between savage sadness, anger, fear, joy, relief, regret and remorse in a matter of day’s, hours and sometimes minutes. This emotional turmoil frightened me but it also intrigued me, and one evening in an attempt to try and observe the emotion rather than get swept up in it, I sat in front of my Laptop computer and took a photo with the inbuilt camera of myself in a state of utter despair. In the process of observing the photo I noticed that the feeling itself began to subside. I did this regularly, taking photos of all the emotions as they arose. What I also noticed was that as I sat and edited the images I could find windows of inner peace and a quietening of the destructive thoughts as I became completely absorbed in the creation process. Back in Australia, deeply committed to making the New Zealand experience “count”, I was determined to grow as a result of all that had happened. As the wonderful Brene Brown says “Owning our story can be hard … Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light”. So into the “Dark Night of the Soul” I went and I took my camera with me. Amongst all the powerful therapy and latihan, I immersed myself in Photography. I purchased a semi-pro camera, began taking classes, hooked up with an old friend who was a pro photojournalist (and is now also my respected mentor) and spent days shooting and nights looking at the work of inspiring photographers. When the healing became too confronting I would grab my camera and shoot or sit on my laptop and edit. Photography became my haven, a place where I could truly step out of the way and allow the transformation to take place. The addition of the 50mm lens to my kit in July 2011 turned out to be one of greatest healing tools I have ever purchased! It is a lens that by nature demands that you get up close to your subject, as you cannot hide behind a zoom to “grab that photo of the unsuspecting person”. And so I began connecting once again to people. Some days all I wanted to do was hide under the covers but I would encourage myself to get up and grab the 50mm. I would ask people I saw on the street if I could take their portrait, or groups of people at a festival if I could take a shot. In doing this I opened myself up to meeting strangers, hearing their stories and sharing a moment in time with them. That lens connected me to some incredibly fascinating people who not only gave me their beautiful portrait but also experiences and stories that aided my healing in ways that I could not have imagined.
Ten months on and I once again feel inspired, connected to myself, to the life force and to the word in a much more authentic way, my faith has returned and I can see a bright and abundant future before me. My world has expanded to include inspiring and creative beings who have come in via my passion for photography. I am preparing to do a fashion shoot, working on a photo essay, developing a website, collaborating with others on photographic projects, my home is filling with my own creations and I am continuing to expand my knowledge and skills as a photographer on a daily basis.
Where I will go with my photography I don’t know, I am simply enjoying the total bliss of going on the journey with it.
Whilst that period in my life was the harshest of initiations it has borne many gifts, one of which is that it bought photography into my life and now I can not imagine a life with out it.