Photography

Human Element

Despair

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Anyone who has walked through the valley of despair and come out the other side knows that even in that darkness, seeds of light can be found. Often their tendrils reach out of the gloom and into the daylight alongside the journeyer who emerges from that deep sorrow. When we find ourselves in a place of despair, it can help us to know this, so that we don’t give up. We can stop, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves that we will find ourselves on the other side of this troubled time, and that we may even emerge with something new to offer.
It seems that despair has been around for as long as humans have been able to express themselves, and many of the great artists, teachers, and visionaries have labored through times of depression and hopelessness. Their words, images, and lives can serve as beacons in the darkness, even if they can’t always immediately lead us out. In the end, we must find our own way, and this is why despair often overwhelms us when it comes; we doubt that we have the resources to contend with such a formidable presence all by ourselves. This is when we must come to our own aid and know in our hearts that we have what it takes to keep moving forward in the general direction of the light.


Pain is Pain

Winds of Change

It seems that every day we hear stories of personal suffering and loss that far exceed our own. When we compare our situations to those of people living in war-torn countries or recent events on the East Coast, it is tempting to minimize our own experiences of suffering. We may feel that we don’t have a right to be upset about the breakup of a relationship, for example, because at least we have food to eat and a roof over our heads.

While awareness of the pain of others can be a valuable way to keep our own struggles in perspective, it is not a legitimate reason to disregard our own pain. Disparaging your feelings as being less important than other people’s emotions leads to denial and repression. which over time  leads to numbness. It is as if our internal systems become clogged with our unexpressed emotions. This in no way helps other people who are suffering in the world. In fact, it may do just the opposite because when we devalue our own sorrow, we become impervious to the sorrow in others.

Fully experiencing our own hurt is the gateway to compassion toward other human beings. Feelings of loss, abandonment, loneliness, and fear are universal, and, in that sense, all feelings are created equal. Regardless of what leads us to feel the way we do, our comprehension of what it means to be human is deepened by our own experiences. Our personal lives provide us with the material we need to become fully conscious. If we reject our emotions because we think our experiences are not dramatic or important enough, we are missing out on our own humanity.


Partner Makeovers

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A relationship, in the truest sense of the word, means relating to another. Usually when we say that we relate to someone, it is because we’ve found common ground. But part of relating is finding ways to make ideas that seem different come together. So often when we choose relationships, we try to fit another person into our predetermined ideal. When they don’t fit perfectly, we may try to make them over, creating our own vision from the raw material they’ve brought. But unless someone asks for guidance and direction, entering into a relationship with someone we want to change is dishonest. Then our relationship becomes with someone we’ve imagined, and anytime our partner steps outside of that imaginary projection, we will be disappointed. An honest relationship is one in which we accept each other as whole individuals, and find a way to share our life experiences together. Then, whenever we want, we can choose as a couple to give the relationship a makeover by renewing the way we interact. 

By wanting to give another person a makeover, we are basically saying we don’t accept them for who they are. If we take a moment to imagine the roles reversed, we can get a sense of how it would feel if our beloved only committed to us because they thought we were, or would become, someone else entirely. In such an environment, we are not relating to each other from a real place, and we are keeping ourselves from being able to learn and grow from the different viewpoints that our partners offer. 

If we feel that a change is needed in our relationship, the only makeover that we truly have the power to make is on ourselves. By accepting our partners for exactly who they are—the ideal and the not-so-ideal—we will create an energetic shift in our relationships, and we may find ourselves really appreciating our partners for the first time. Working from within, we determine how we relate to the people and the world around us, and when we can accept it and embrace it all, without conditions, we make every act of relating a positive one .

This shot was taken recently at Huntington Beach in California after a difficult day with my Partner. We had been to this location during happier times and now circled back. There was a certain sense of release and calm this day and yet an undercurrent of unresolved troubles and emotions remained. Technically, this is a 30 second exposure using a Singh-Ray Variable Neutral Density Filter. This allows the waves to smooth out into their ethereal glow….Magic of sorts.

Thank you for your kind visit, Erik

 

 

 


Creative Anxiety

Anxiety is a feature of the human condition. Period. It is a much larger feature than most people realize and we all spend inordinate amounts of time in order to reduce our experience of anxiety or in order to avoid anxiety altogether. Our very human defensiveness is one of the primary ways that we try to avoid experiencing anxiety. If something is about to make us anxious we deny that it is happening, make ourselves sick so that we can concentrate on our sickness, get angry at our mate so as to have something else to focus on, and so on. We are very clever creatures in this regard.

We are also very resourceful creatures who have it in us to create. “Creativity” is the word we use for our desire to make use of our inner resources, employ our imagination, our thoughts and our feelings into beautiful things like songs, photographs, paintings, literature and feel like the hero of our own story. It is the way that we make manifest our potential, make use of our intelligence, and embrace what we love. When we create, we feel whole, useful, and devoted. Unfortunately, we often also feel anxious as we create or contemplate creating. There are many reasons for this. We get anxious because we fear we may fail, because we fear we may disappoint ourselves, because the work can be extremely hard, because the marketplace may criticize us and reject us, and so on. We want to create, because that is a wonderful thing, but we also don’t want to create, so as to spare ourselves all this anxiety. That is the simple, profound dilemma.

Since both creating and not creating produce anxiety in a person who wants to create, you might as well embrace the fact that anxiety will accompany you on your journey as a creative person—whether or not you are getting on with your work. Just embracing that reality will release a lot of the ambient anxiety that you feel. Since anxiety accompanies both states—both creating and not creating—why not choose creating? Pick your next creative project  with a new willingness to accept the reality of anxiety. To help reduce your experience of anxiety, remember to breathe deeply, speak positively to yourself, and affirm that your creative life matters to you. If some anxiety remains, create anyway!

If you enjoyed this image, please have a visit to http://www.kerstenbeck.com where we have a wealth of cool Portrait, Landscape and Travel images from all over!


Staying Balanced

Work and Play

Like pieces of a puzzle, the many different aspects of your being come together to form the person that you are. You work and play, rest and expend energy, commune with your body and soul, exalt in joy, and feel sorrow. Balance is the state that you achieve when all of the aspects of your life and self are in harmony. Your life force flows in a state of equilibrium because nothing feels out of sync. While balance is necessary to have a satisfying, energetic, and joyful life, only you can determine what balance means to you.

Achieving balance requires that you assess what is important to you. The many demands of modern life can push us to make choices that can put us off-balance and have a detrimental effect on our habits, relationships, health, and career. In creating a balanced lifestyle, you must ascertain how much time and energy you are willing to devote to the different areas of your life. To do so, imagine that your life is a house made up of many rooms. Draw this house, give each part of your life its own room, and size each room according to the amount of importance you assign to that aspect of your life. You can include family, solitude, activities that benefit others, healthy eating, indulgences, exercise and working on self. You may discover that certain elements of your life take up an inordinate amount of time, energy, or effort and leave you with few resources to nurture the other aspects of your life.

A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures, as well as time to live well and in a gratifying way. With its many nuances, balance can be a difficult concept to integrate into your life. Living a balanced existence, however, can help you attain a greater sense of happiness, health, and fulfillment.

Shot at Oceanside, California, for a 2013 Calendar Project for a Corporate Insurance Client, what is interesting is not only the gorgeous sunset about the Fisherman in the background setting off to catch Dinner for his family.

You can see more images at our Photo Website: http://www.kerstenbeck.com Please take some time to look around! …..We appreciate you kind support of our work!

 

 


Vampires Among Us

 

Of course Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person/being. This year, we decided to play a bit on this theme with the help of some wonderful models at a photo shoot in Riverside, California. The stage was the historical downtown area and at an old church. Now why Vampires would like to be there is beyond reason! We found that Vampires come in many shapes and colors like this one blow from Russia, having a tasty Cigar after a good feeding!

Hello, Comrade!

Sometimes, they are Vampire Brides, left wanting at the altar!

 

Teaching the young the tricks of the trade!

 

Or Just dropping in for a quick snack!

Yumm!

Lighting in outdoors shoots needs to be effective and portable. For most of these scenarios we used a Quantum Q-Flash as Key and an old Vivitar V285 as fill (dropped many times and still kicking). Some light modifiers helped, like a diffuser in front of the Q-Flash. We tend to think of this as Guerilla Lighting. Many on location Photographers used studio strobes, portable batteries and huge beauty lights on rolling stands. This is something perhaps we can do, but in the mean time, basics work just fine until we hone our talents to a new level.

Hope you enjoyed our Halloween Set and have a visit to Kerstenbeck Photographic Art to check out some of our other Projects, maybe even purchase a Print or Digital Download!

 


Gestures of Solace

Angels among us

Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.

Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as “I care about you,” or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them.

This shot was taken in Vancouver, British Columbia on a cold,windy and rainy day in October. The statue is located close to the passenger ship terminal in downtown and is really special. To see more of Vancouver or the many other wonderful places we have documented, just click the link and you will be transported to our  Website Kerstenbeck Photographic Art