cameracraftgiveaway

I’m really excited to share that I’m a part of a really amazing class starting soon!

Camera Craft is led by Galia Alena and she describes the program (which is actually a combination of two classes) as:

“Camera Craft is designed to help demystify your camera and the technical side of photography, empowering you to follow your inspiration, and make expressive and beautiful images. It is photography 101 and it is so much more. I want the participants to walk away feeling like they have enough of a grasp of the technical stuff that they can really let their creative voices sing. Between all the samples and the guest contributors you won’t be able to help but be inspired.”

I had a lot of fun creating my video contribution for this program. I explored something a bit different than what I usually focus on in my classes but at the same time…it’s something at the heart of everything I do here at Be Your Own Beloved: Exploring Selfies through a Right Brain Perspective. In this video I share a number of activities and my favourite tricks for letting go of the technical overwhelm and feeling of “I’ve got to get it right” and instead learn from an experiential and inquisitive place.

And I’m just one of the guest instructors too. It’s packed full of powerful lessons from Galia as well as the inspiring creatives you see in the above photo.

Guess what…as a mentor for the class I get to give away one spot and that is indeed happening today! To enter,  click over and check out the course here. Then come back here and leave a comment sharing what you’d be most excited to learn about in Camera Craft inspired by what you saw on the info page.

The giveaway runs from 12am June 23rd to 12am June 24th so don’t delay in checking it out and entering the giveaway! I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow.

Or if you know for sure you want to join the class, head on over there and register! The first class starts June 27th!

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  • Alison

    I would love to be able to master all the functions on my camera and be able to take it off auto. I don’t always like the photos it takes in auto!! I would also love to be able to take moving shots and shots in darker rooms. These are my current challenges. I learn best in a community and have always enjoyed that about your classes. It would be great to meet other photographers, too. And post-processing would be fun to explore…
    Thanks for the opportunity and giveaway, Vivienne.ReplyCancel

  • I’d love to get on a first name basis with my camera 😉ReplyCancel

  • Mary

    I would love to learn to take all these stunning images.ReplyCancel

  • Tina

    I would love to be introduced to my camera as a “crafty” tool! I would love to learn about my camera better! 😃ReplyCancel

  • Karen

    This course looks so amazing! I would love the opportunity to grow my skills as a visual artist. Often, there are moments when I wish I could capture the magic I am experiencing but my camera phone has its limitations. I have a DSLR camera that sadly sits idle because I am somewhat intimidated by it. Fingers (and toes) crossed!ReplyCancel

  • I would love to learn to capture the beauty I see in the world into an image – particularly through shooting into the light and telling a story through photography. Thanks for the chance to win a spot in the class, it looks fabulousReplyCancel

  • Oh my goodness, I just saw this giveaway and I only have about seven minutes to enter (assuming EST applies) so I’m throwing my hat in the ring just in case! This is exactly the sort of class I would absolutely love. My parents gave me a dream gift last Christmas, my first DSLR, and learning how to use it has been a hobby I’ve somehow yet to find the courage to fully embark on. I’ve alwayslived teaching myself new things, yet I’ve lacked the confidence to explore with my camera. Camera Craft sounds like it would be just the thing as it encourages applying your photography experience to your own personal journey, something that really speaks to me as a severe anxiety sufferer on a journey of overcoming fear. I could say much more, but the clock is ticking so here’s my entry and fingers crossed!ReplyCancel

  • Destiny G Kelledy

    I would love to learn the mysterious ways of bringing the visions I have into my photos. Translating what captures my eye into gorgeous images full of shadow & light – it feels a bit like magic. Getting a deeper understanding of my camera & its features would help my photos go from flat to dimensional. Moving, emotional, artistic images – yes please!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Downs

    I would be most excited to learn from such a wide variety of photographers in one course. What a treat! To have so many heart centered women teaching together is fantastic! Thanks for the chance to win a spot!ReplyCancel

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For 8 years now I’ve been going to the same dance class almost every Tuesday led by my wonderful teacher Jana. Each time she reminds us how the hardest part if often just showing up and that she’s so glad we are there. She also reminds us that in Nia (the kind of dance class it is) we use our beginners mind. We show up each time, not thinking we need to achieve perfection or even know what the next dance step is, even if we’ve done the routine before.

We show up with our beginners mind, meeting the moment and connecting with our body open to the sensations, the emotions, the wonder of the moment.

It takes the pressure off of our shoulders to get it right. Letting go of those expectations and just letting my body move has been a pivotal part of healing how I feel in my body.

If you’ve taken a class with me before, I’m sure you know exactly how this has all influenced both the way I take photos and teach about them. Every single time I pick up the camera I try to meet it with a beginners mind.

With curiosity. With wide open expectations.

I pretty rarely plan out a photo though I may have a starting point or general idea. But what happens in the process is all spontaneity, all exploring what the potential of the moment is and well, all magic.

Even 10 years into my own photo journey that’s how it feels every time I see the world through a camera. Like magic.

And that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to know the left brain information to learn the how and why about photography, but I try and approach that with a beginners mind too, with curiosity.

I wanted to share about this because before I got into photography and especially exploring self-portraiture as a tool for self-compassion. I thought photography was intimidating and overwhelming. I thought I had to know everything about my camera in order to take a great photo. I thought that it was my technical skills that would help me see myself with kindness through the camera. But I was wrong.

It was being willing to approach it with a beginners mind.

Being willing to approach ourselves with a beginners mind.

I credit that beginners mind with the fact that I’m still so smitten with seeing the world through the camera and imagine that I will feel that way the rest of my life. I also credit it with helping me heal how I see myself. Because when we allow ourselves to set down expectations of what our photo or ourselves in a photo ‘should’ look like, that’s where we truly get to meet ourselves and the world around us with the wonder that the camera so beautifully translates.

Over these past 5 years of teaching the online photography classes it is honestly the biggest roadblock I see people put in their own way. That pressure to know exactly what our photo will look like before we take it and then achieve that photo. It’s getting so caught up in our left brain that we block out our right brain wonder or don’t even give ourselves a chance to experiment with it.

This also relates to when we’re talking about our relationship to how we see our bodies in photos, doesn’t it. We probably all have a rock solid opinion of how we see ourselves, likely based on some outtakes of ourselves we’ve seen and old stories about ourselves. But that is kind of the opposite of using our beginners mind.

What if, for ourselves too, we met ourselves with the playfulness and curiosity that we would if we were seeing ourselves for the first time?

What if we were willing to begin again and again each time we find ourselves caught up in those old stories?

What if we were open to what lies beyond our pre-concieved notion of how we look in a self-portrait and were willing to take LOTS of photos (including outtakes) in the process of learning to se ourselves with compassion.

That’s what’s at the heart of this work at Be Your Own Beloved. It always has been even though I haven’t quite put it into words to share with you in this way before. It’s especially on my mind this week as I’m teaching the Beloved Beginnings class with an amazing community of folks.

The Beloved Beginnings class is always available as a self-paced class but if you’d like to join in on a community class, the 30 day class is always taught in community so you can experience the support of both myself and your amazing peers in this class. Come join the Be Your Own Beloved starting July 1st!

Both of these classes were created with folks who aren’t necessarily comfortable in front of the camera and are wanting to make space to explore selfies as a tool for self-compassion. And they all have this energy of playfulness and using our beginners mind at heart!

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viviennepose



If you’ve been hanging out here with me for a while or join me on Instagram you’ve probably seen dozens of photos over the years where I’ve done this exact move.

When I find a quiet space to take a self-portrait it’s my go-to move, and while it’s ridiculously fun (as I’m sure you can tell by the fact I’m smiling in these shots) there’s a deeper meaning behind it for me.

When I started on my own personal self-portrait journey 10 years ago, I was just emerging from a depression. I had some realizations of the ways I was existing in my life that were keeping me small and deeply draining me. I was burning out and had to learn how to stop putting everyone else before myself.

During this low time one thing that happened was I started to notice the way people took up space. Now, by no means do I mean physically. It was about how we energetically claimed space. I felt like it became my own personal research project for quite a while, observing on the bus, in the city, gardeners at the local community garden, people at events.

Up to this point, I had tried to keep myself small energetically. To not try and annoy the people around me. But it wasn’t in my nature, just circumstance. I move my hands a lot when I talk, I can’t sit still.

I don’t know if anyone’s nature is the definition of ‘perfect’. I think we’re all trying to fit ourselves into a really small box.

But I had done it for a long time and I was exhausted.

I wanted to find out how I moved again, what my ‘nature’ was.

So I started asking myself questions inspired by what I had noticed about people claiming space. Sometimes it seemed like it was something learned or assumed, other times something reclaimed, a confidence, an empowered state of being.

I wanted to find my way to the later. Where I lived more unapologetically (rather than profusely apologetically). Where I didn’t come home after a day with people and question every word I said and have a constant vulnerability hangover. Where I didn’t question my right to space.

But I didn’t want to fit myself into another box either. For me this wasn’t about ‘perfection’. It was about connection. To be centred in myself again and in some ways for the first time.

These questions seemed like the answer and continue to be:

How would I move if for a moment, I forgot how one is ‘supposed’ to be?

What would happen if I didn’t contain my joy, myself?

What does confidence mean to me?

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Of course, my claiming space didn’t start like this, it really began with the tips of my toes and hands into the frame, claiming space with each photo. But when I started using the timer and stepping into the frame of a photo, especially when I’d find those quiet moments where it felt like no one could see me, where I could really dance like no one was watching, this is what I did.

And from the first time I did it, it felt invigorating and also like I’d found something that felt like me. That felt like the way that I’m supposed to move.

It felt expansive and at times was literally me claiming as much space as physically possible.

I’m also claiming space for joy.

For choosing how my body gets to move.

For choosing how I want to see and communicate with my body (and choosing a compassionate voice).

It is also a reclaiming. After feeling like a turtle hiding in her shell for a long time, finally finding her confidence to shed that hiding place and exist in the world without apology, I needed to remind myself of that right to claim space. So that’s why you see this pose so often, even all these years later.

It might look like a fun whimsical pose to do in a photo, but like with all of my whimsical photos, there is a deeper meaning behind it. It’s boldness is in response to feeling the opposite way. It’s playfulness is in response to how incredibly un-playful it is to try and exist for other people’s expectations.

There is another element to this claiming space too. It’s not just the photo itself but the act of taking it. Experiencing the fear or nervousness that comes and doing it anyways. That is the act of claiming space whether it’s your feet in the frame or your whole body.

That’s what changed me, that act of cultivating resilience. The more I pushed through that fear though the camera, the more I rooted back into my own personal power.

And that is what we’re digging into in the upcoming Claiming Space class. We’re going to get brave in our photos but not just to get bold images, but to cultivate that personal resilience, to get to walk away with photos that remind you of that “Wow…I did something I hadn’t believed I could” moment.

Come join me for Claiming Space. We get started oh so soon!postfooterclaimingspace

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How would you show up in front of the camera if you had never been told what was ‘flattering’?

If you didn’t have any specific perception of what a ‘selfie’ should be?

What would you do the next time you take a selfie if you suddenly forgot what you’d been told you should hide or how to pose? How would you move or stand?

How would you take photos if you’d grown up seeing a representation of your body in the visual media around you (and if you have, how does that play a role in the privilege of how you relate to photos)?

If you knew that you couldn’t do it wrong, that you are enough no matter what?

How would you look into the camera if you hadn’t been told you need to ‘smile for the camera’?

How would you be in a photo if truly no one was watching, if likes or comments had no bearing on your relationship to yourself?

These things that get in the way of seeing ourselves without judgement have been taught to us. So how can we invite ourselves to unlearn them?

We’re claiming space to ask these questions

And to answer them not intellectually but experientially.

Not just with our heads but with our hearts.

Not just with past proof or experience but with the potential of what we have yet to discover.

Not just the answers we think we know but the ones we have yet to uncover.

To create images where we see ourselves represented, our body, here and now.

We’re claiming the space in front of the lens to listen.

To reclaim our self-image and how we choose to see ourselves through the lens.

Claiming ourselves back.

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Join me for the Claiming Space E-Course where we’ll dig into these questions through the camera…we get started soon!

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yourselfie600

Your selfie is a claiming of space

Whether it’s the tips of your toes or your whole body

Whether it’s unfiltered or wildly creatively processed

Whether it’s your first one or your 5000th

Whether you took 1 in the moment or 50

Whether you share it or keep it to yourself

Whether it’s with a phone or a fancy camera

Whether you went out of your comfort zone or not

Whether you get likes or comments or not.

Even whether you like it or not.

 

Because the more we choose to be the narrator of our own story.

The more we choose to take back the reigns of the stories we let define us.

The more we open our hearts to the person awaiting us in the photo.

The more we show up.

The more control we feel over the camera.

The more we are able to stand in our power.

 

Every selfie, your selfie, is an act of claiming space.

It is a moment you choose to create where you are in charge of how you see yourself.

Where you choose self-connection over the worry about people thinking you are ‘self-centred’.

Because it’s not self-centred to choose to see ourselves with compassion.

It’s a choice to hear our own voice again outside of our inner critics voice.

To see and hear our own voice of inherent worthiness again.

Photo by photo, we are claiming our voice again.

Claiming ourselves back from unrealistic standards of beauty.

Claiming space for ourselves to be heard.

Claiming compassion.

Reclaiming.

 

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