All Hawaii Photography is credited to Cindy Cieluch
I needed a damn break.
The last few weeks you’ve seen so much of me actually taking more time for ME as I worked on figuring out how to even come back to all of this. How to bring light to so much darkness. How to be a voice in so much noise. How to be a better ally to those hurting.
Photography for me is so much more than taking pictures. That’s the easy part. My connection goes further – I want to know who you are, what you are about, and capture it in every which way possible. It’s emotionally driven. For me you can’t have one without the other – it’s a package deal. Here is where the hard part comes in. When people come to me for my work to have that experience and then turn around and are supportive of political, religious, or other organizations that actively aim to put policies in place that take my rights away.
You see as a gay man, the political climate DOES personally affect me. I have a lot at stake, as do so many other marginalized individuals when it comes to our concern of basic human rights. It too is emotional.
Over the past few months I found myself losing faith in a community that I once was so inspired by. I watched family, friends, and clients share and speak more hate and negativity than words will ever be able to explain. My investment in having hard conversations about looking at the “big picture” left me feeling helpless and I struggled more and more to pick up my camera and be passionate about doing what I love with those who had such different values when it came to supporting discrimination, racism, and inequality. It was hard to watch so many of those around me fall short on being more educated and focus their efforts primarily on personal gain without acknowledgement of how their choices could heavily affect others they “care for” or “support”. Especially those who associate with organizations that are founded on values of selflessness and loving your neighbor. I was nearing burn out and emotionally spent.
That all being said I am so thankful to have had so much time to recharge and find my way back “home”. Just as so many others I’ve been inspired by have said – “the work starts now” and I’m here for it.
Cindy Cieluch there will never be enough thank you’s to my time with you. Grateful, humbled, and forever inspired by you in my life. You always capture me in the best of ways. The rainbow (it is Hawaii photography after all) and on the side of the garbage can I scrambled to get on, and eventually fell through, was marked with the perfect message.
“The most and wonderful and beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or touched…only felt…in the heart.”
Encouraging everyone to get out of their own way today and see life from another perspective. It’s needed right now more than ever.
For more of Matt Ehnes Photography click here.