It’s been about 10 years since I first ever picked up a camera and started trying to create with it. When I first looked through my the viewfinder I saw…well, I saw exactly what I saw with my own eyes. Clouds, grass, trees. Nothing too exciting really.
But then I found a community, then it was Flickr. A group of like minded people from all over the world, with different backgrounds, different personalities but one common interest, taking photographs that told some sort of story.
This community grew and I grew as a photographer with it. I started to develop closer friendships with other photographers, I started to travel to meetups where we’d spend a week creating, after years of always feeling a bit isolated, I’d found my people. What I valued most about this photography community was that we were given permission to express ourselves creatively without fear, we pushed each other and created with each other and the community really pushed ourselves to create and grow. Unfortunately as with all things, the community grew in it’s own separate ways and while I remain friends with many of these photographers, that creative hub was no longer prevalent.
Cut to last August, 2017 in a crowded yoga studio with 50 strangers, a close friend and yoga guru to the stars Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa. I had been thrown into a three hour kundalini class with little preparation and halfway through, while in silent meditation thought of a tree full of lightbulbs. And that vision developed into thinking about community and how I missed having a photography community that was organized and supportive and connected. By the time the class was over, I’d planned The Lightbulb Project.
Over the course of 52 weeks, a group of passionate photographers from around the globe created images together inspired by a weekly theme. The facebook group became an active hub of creativity, support, inspiration. In the 12 months of the project there were over 2,000 posts and 18,000 comments in the group. Each day photographers would be sharing their vision.
During one week, I challenged the artists to connect with each other and create, regardless of distance or styles and the outcome was incredible. People from opposite sides of the world, created beautiful work together that was a perfect visual summary for the project.
I knew early on that there’d have to be another round of the project, that it was a community that meant a lot to me and to others, it kept me motivated to create, it kept me connected to other artists and gave us all a chance to come to the table together and share who we were and what we could do. And so, now we start Year 2, with the same theme we started the first, Lightbulb.
I created my image inspired by the bridge that connects all the artists together. This creative bridge, this bridge of ideas and light and power. The bridge of lightbulbs I’m walking on aren’t lit up, because in the image, I’m on my way to meet all of the other artists and bring them back so we can light the bridge up together.
I’m carrying a lightbulb, representing the finished first year of the project, filled with the light and ideas of all those that have completed or participated in this project so far. Two glowing butterflies engage, one with the lightbulb signifying all the amazing growth and changes in the artists from that first year, and one just ahead of me, to lead the way to the next project.
I know that this project will continue to inspire and motivate and connect people and I can’t wait to see how it changes and lights up the creative community in the next year to come.