Found: Amy Grace, A Beautiful Life Photo

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.

- Mary Oliver

Film is not dead. It wakes up something strong and necessary. It makes me more present. It needs light to breathe, like a living thing.

There is honesty all around us. So much easier, so much harder, for the taking. Too much waiting for lives to begin. Too much re-framing, too many pictures that swallow the one that meant something. Editing out, then editing in vision, cohesion, voice. Manipulating the picture after it happens, taking out wrinkles, in layers that mimic the life and light it had at the moment it was born, the time it was real.  Film is velveteen rabbit real, that you hold in your hands and load in the back of your camera in a particular way, with particular eyes and plans, with risk and  possibility, with inevitable failures. It is time that becomes forever, a verb, a physical thing of beauty. Like the people captured on it, their visages, hearts, and motion.

Jon doesn’t just breathe his truth, he makes it the air around him. He charges it, then shares it with us, and we feel the prickle. He pours it into cups and passes it around the circle for everyone to taste. It is a beautiful calculation, it is authenticity on demand, it is joy making, it is providing for the family he loves. It is exceptionally inspiring. It is a gift that multiplies. It is a collective statement of inclusion, authenticity, a new kind of family.

It is a call to artistic arms. To open eyes and minds, and to be new. To raise, like a flag, the very voice you hear deep inside, in syncopation with your heartbeat. To mark the still frames of your own movie with your name, not in words but in lines and light. To see connection in all its possibility, to know the shape it takes, in all the noise and fullness and distraction of life. To know that it is possible and genuine and joy filled, and can be done, again and again, miraculously, with compassion, with hope, with success.

Somehow in seeing jon do his dance, i felt my own shell tighten and crack. I watched him sing his loud, clear song, and i needed to sing too. In my own voice. The one that’s been rising up since I was a kid. Watching everything, feeling more than everything, paying attention to the way we all mix with the world and make our own stories that we hide behind our eyes. The voice that will never be its best the way Jon’s is. The one that starts with quiet voices opening doors, with listening too long, hearts cracking and filling, and ends with love, frozen before my eyes.

Jon laces art and livelihood as if they were synonymous. He teaches how to make what you love work for you. He teaches that you can learn to fold it in to your life, across the lines we draw between our dreams and our real lives. He shows you that the hustle doesn’t have to be hollow. That it is action that starts when passion and work braid themselves together, fall down together, get up together, get better together.

FIND is an invitation, an instruction manual, a community. A book that talks back and keeps talking.

Jon’s transparency isn’t an instruction manual on how to shoot like him. It’s an urging to turn it back on yourself. It’s a mirror he gives you. Shows you how it works. A challenge. It wasn’t the pictures I took in San Francisco. I didn’t fire away, as i never do. It has been the ones I need to take now. The ones to which I wake up some mornings, with tears in my eyes. The ones that always begin with a feeling or memory or song i need to write. And in turn the pause i need to reclaim, the care, the introspection from which the pictures i love are born. The clarity. The strength of direction and passion and voice and conviction. A reassurance that dreams can be woven into the very fabric of who we are. They should be. I saw proof.

About Amy Grace, A Beautiful Life Photo, based in San Francisco, CA:  Blog  |  Facebook Instagram  |  Contact