I’m thrilled to introduce Valerie Lear as our guest muse today. You might know Valerie as Any Direct Flight on Flickr and Tumbler. She is a French expat living in Toronto, Canada and missing home like crazy. Valerie hates long Canadian winters but loves summer and fall. She is a self-described “compulsive photographer and film lover.” Without further ado, I bring you Valerie’s post…

When I was 12 years old, I became a “photographer” (I still have a hard time calling myself a photographer today). I was given a Kodak Instamatic as a present and I took it with me everywhere I went. When I was 29 years old, I became a mother. By then, I had owned a Canon AE1 for a few years and I filled roll after roll of Kodak Gold with pictures of my beautiful baby boy. When I was 37 years old, my daughter died in utero, 4 months into my pregnancy and I became… lost… pinktree

Grief took all the space, there was no time left for photography.
No time, no need, no desire, no energy…

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Then one day, because I wanted to take photos at a butterfly release, I borrowed a digital camera. Putting my eye to a viewfinder again was strange and exciting… and what I saw was beautiful…

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Through that viewfinder, and through the many viewfinders of many cameras to come after that, I saw beauty… in a butterfly… in the blades of grass around it… in the drops of dew hanging on to the tips of the grass… in the sky… in the clouds… in the light… and in time being suspended for just a moment…

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“The camera is an instrument that teaches people to see without a camera.”

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My camera was an eye-opener, a heart-opener, a healer and a teacher…It gave me back a sense of awe, a sense of wonder and a sense of purpose.

Years after the Kodak Instamatic (it sits on a shelf, in my bedroom), my cameras follow me everywhere again. I shoot both digital and film (with a big, big preference for film) and i love to photograph the small stuff of ordinary days. I’d love a chance, some day, to shoot Mount Everest, or the Taj Mahal… but until then… life is now and beauty is everywhere…

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And if you look carefully, you’ll always find a small trace of my daughter’s presence in my photos…

Thank you for musing with us, Valerie!

Meghan of Life Refocused