The Power Of One

One of the most read posts I sent out on my WooWay mailing, called The Internet is Forever (Asterix) involved dealing with loss of my history with the Chicago Reader.

In this, I wrote about my discovery that examples of my early photography career with the Chicago Reader were no longer visible in their online archives…anywhere.

Due to size or intellectual property issues, they imported the articles, but did not include the photographs from earlier editions of the paper.

The email started with dealing with the reality of the situation – but at the end* celebrated the various soft and hard skills learned with the experience.

Fast forward nine months, and through the wonders of Instagram, I get a ‘ping’ from an artist group I photographed in 1992, updated in a Gossip Wolf column. (the article here.)

He Who Walks Three Ways

After I did a quiet appreciative happy dance, I decided to update the story. In addition to the pleasant surprise in being led to one of my photos, it was also a little reminder to me to give life’s irritations or obsessions up to the body’s wisdom, and let things happen as they will.

*Looking with the attitude that there is nothing to panic about or ‘fix’ is a mindset that allows for quiet personal wonder, delight, and awe, even within an ordinary day.

I found that by not fighting and resisting and replaying the memories accompanied by emotions that would suddenly float in and make themselves felt, they changed or would leave by themselves. No examining or selecting anything for further review, I stayed present with no judgement as to what came up, and it would just evaporate.

Practice presence in all different types of situations to have the grounded feeling of being inside your body. Feel the heat through your fingers, feel your toes against the floor, use your senses. Even if at times you conduct your day on autopilot, make time to connect with yourself through the day.

I invite you to subscribe to my ‘Woo Way’ newsletter for intuitive counterintuitive strategies to help sense the world around you at your best.

Please enjoy one of the great inspired books by Wallace Wattles, The Science of Being Great. I feel his books are like a message from a supportive grandfather who wants the best for you. It is a terrific read – & re-read – for the year ahead!

Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her for commissioned work here. Thank you.

Running Start

In areas of my life, I sometimes think of a classic idea in cartoons:

the hero or main character runs off a cliff and continues to keep running in air – as long as they don’t look down.

The concept of following one’s own path has something of that same slightly unreal feeling at first. But instead of anticipating a fall, I believe my path will carry me over the chasm to the other side and keep on going.

I have a mind that wants to extrapolate and guess all the combination of possibilities beforehand. It serves me well, but sometimes I have to step out on faith, and follow the decision to reveal myself publicly as a photographer who uses intuition and psychic sensitivity freely in my work and in my life.

I work for myself, so when I feel tense or anxious, I “reboot” by reading something short, simple and inspirational.

For ten years a beautiful book of meditations called “The Language of Letting Go” has been my friend when I feel crowded by a workday of too many calls, tasks, or demands on my time.

There have been newer versions with new affirmations as she continues to write and evolve, but this edition from 1990 continues to be my personal favorite.

Today’s entry referred to consideration of the idea that what we are learning at work often reflects and resonates to the things we are working out in private life. My issues of clearer communication with my clients can echo my issues of effective communication with my family.

Issues of establishing policies and boundaries with my clients can reflect where I place my boundaries with my loved ones–or where to place them in new relationships.

Issues of money, sexuality, childhood, self-esteem, fear of failure (or fear of success) can still appear at the most inopportune times. But they have less power to keep me off-balance all day as in years past. And I can tell immediately when something doesn’t feel right with me…and why.

So I welcome my visitors from the past, and redefine them with physical modalities like EFT and my eye exercises. I have respect for the lessons they still have to teach.

More and more these days, I am seeing that where I want to be in my decisions, photography career, and life is over on the other side of that ‘leap of faith’.

Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her for commissioned work here. Thank you.

On the Easel

Today on The Easel, I have a contemplative photograph with subtle and elemental symbols that show something different each time you look at it. This ballet of shape and pattern occurred during a moment teaching photography on a snowy day on the far side of Chicago:

a reason you always carry some form of camera, and take time to watch what is above you as well.

Bird on A Roof is 20″ x 30″, and made from fine watercolor paper with a deckle (torn) edge. Choose my neutral frame here, a different size, or an unframed version.

If you are interested in purchasing my art images for yourself or others, contact me for details. I love to see my photos in other people’s homes.

Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her for commissioned work here. Thank you.

Set the Tone

A local young bride’s wedding photographs are now ready for her home.

I was extremely pleased to have two heirloom frames to work with: these images look amazing in antique settings!

Another pleasure was in working with a younger person’s style of communication and relating.

So lovely to meet another who values images that hold an vibrant personal energy for her home. I whole-heartedly agree.

Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her for commissioned work here. Thank you.

The Digital “Caress”

The post was from someone I have enjoyed reading and communicating with: Sophie has devoted her life to creating innovative products that aid with spiritual growth and development.

In this post she published an image of her younger self, an open smile under the flat yellow-sepia tone of film photographs of our past.

I don’t usually correct people’s images when I see them online in media – it is my observation that people upload what they choose to, and adjusting them is sometimes a second thought.

Some of these images have degraded badly with fading, water marks, scratches and dust specks, but others think it makes them look authentic, look past the damage, or put the restoration project in the overloaded file of ‘Things That Need To Be Done – Someday.’

But I really like seeing the joy of people who have good images of their loved ones. Like an art restorer uncovering years of age and grime, I love to see the sparkle that’s been there all the time.

I really like the intimacy of looking at faces closely, and bringing the details back into awareness. Like a remastered record from your past, you can finally enjoy these images with refreshed beauty and memory.

I don’t consider it only restoring. It is a loving ‘digital ‘caress’ from someone who loves photos, really loves portraits, and is aware of the positive energy a good portrait of a loved one can have.

My family has several beloved prints of my parents that have cracks in them so severe that the surface has disappeared and it will have to be reconstructed. I look forward to creating a renewed set of these favorite photos for my sisters and family to enjoy again.

I sent Sophie the new image, with the apology of taking the liberty of changing it. And I am honored to say that she loves it!

Do you have older and damaged images? My digital ‘caress’ can take old family and favorite images and make them bright and beautiful again. Contact me here to look to see what I can do for yours!

Dorothy Perry is a Chicago lifestyle photographer making personal stories of intimacy and connection.

 Contact her for commissioned work here. 

Eleven-Eleven Alice

The art of photography is the continual practice of observing things with a unique vision. But expanding and refining that vision is a creative challenge as well.

We go about daily life distracted by our phones and internal chatter, and mental filters created by our pre-conceived ideas of reality and what should be in it.

Our eyes function with the help of a sensing device called a reticular activator: it picks out the things that we have chosen (or have allowed ourselves) to see.

We all have had the feeling of suddenly noticing things that have been around us all the time – when we allow ourselves to see it, then we can. Instruct your reticular activator to pick out yellow trucks, and they will seem to be everywhere. Rare or uniquely colored objects might take longer, but then your eyes will ‘pick them out’ in advertisements, signs, and packaging.

It also excels with misplaced objects, giving hot/cold feelings or images that guide you to the location. Instead of saying that you ‘lost’ something, say “I’ll find it’ instead. The confidence within this statement allows your sensing energy to locate the object that much faster.

And in some cases, it can actually set in motion and create what you desire.

My favorite memory of using this creator skill was the decision that I wanted to own a specific type of car – a vintage Volvo 240 DL. It happened so rapidly, that the process of seeing to owning that exact type of Volvo took 48 hours, start to finish: a perfect storm of coincidences and circumstances.

  • I walked out of the Brown Line train station at the moment that this very type of car drove past.
  • It had a “For Sale” sign visible in the side window.
  • The driver stopped to get gas at a station across the street.
  • The price was an amount I had available in the bank.
  • I got to witness this cascade of coincidences in action, and had a great car by that evening.

Creativity energy creates the space and circumstances for success to happen. And to keep my inner eyes working, I use different types of perceptive techniques regularly so I have a neutral state of mind that can exist for creative focus, letting go, or just enjoying that pause of meditative ‘no mind’ itself.

This exercise I’m sharing, is called “Eleven-Eleven Alice”, because I do it at 11:11, morning or evening.

Like the classic illustration of Alice expanding in a small room, the practice uses imaginating (seeing something in such 3D, 360 degree detail that the senses believe it is real) to briefly step outside everyday life thinking.

Before the start of the exercise, sit quietly, settle down into your body, relax your lower jaw. Relax all the muscles descending down your body.

Feel the top of your head touch the ceiling: brush your hair against the ceiling. feel the texture of the trim, the coolness of the paint, the lighting. (don’t worry about fans or lights, they won’t harm you!)

At the same time, widen your upper torso so that your shoulders touch the walls. Really imagine being this big. Visualize touching the surfaces through your fingertips and skin. Feel both shoulders widening and filling up all four corners of the room. Feel the smoothness and coolness of the painted wall against your skin. If there is furniture, feel its material as you expand. You are as wide as the room and growing.

Move your vision to other rooms, your lower torso going down several floors. I imagine my feet touching the ground three floors down, my head above my building, slowly looking around.

Feel your immensity. Gaze around as though your body is gargantuan: a full buildings’ tall. Take giant breaths. In this state, be grand as you feel this gigantic self.  Then come back slowly, gently back down into your body. Stay neutral, eyes soft focused, thought-less.

This enlarged self allows you to step out of your mind and daily worries, and is something you can enter and re-enter in different circumstances. Play with it. Widen yourself when you are sitting on a bus or in a car, expand when you are in a store, be big when you are talking to someone. 

There are times I do combine it with an intention to let things go, or to send out an energy of happiness to everyone in this surrounding vicinity. But I practice this to experience an imaginative and more creative state of mind – and 11:11 happens two times every day.

I look forward to hearing if ‘Eleven-Eleven Alice’ becomes your favorite time of day as well.

Loving the ‘Lovey-Dovey’

I had a mom and dad who loved each other,

and through their 50+ marriage

were joking and affectionate with each other all their lives.

But there is no evidence of their lively personalities

in the traditional poses and portraits they had taken of them.

These photos are all we had to recall the vital, real people they were.

See if you can find the two lively, lovely people in this picture!

So, in my portrait sessions, I use techniques that encourage a couple

to express their “lovey dovey” feelings for each other.

This opportunity to be affectionate lightens the mood and creates terrific images.

How great for a couple to have images specifically about their relationship.

What a great way for children to see and remember their parents as real people.

My pleasure, profession, and mission as a portraitist

is to envision the feelings of love in a lasting way

especially for later.

Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

The First Purple

The mercurial Midwest Spring has been hard on the beautiful flowers that come up in the neighbors’ gardens.  

They come into the beautiful, shapes colors and scents and sometimes into extended days of rain and chill that blast and freeze them.  

The lilac season came in the midst of rain and bone chilling temperatures.  

2016-04-22 15.21.26.jpg2016-04-22 15.21.26.jpg

In a week, they had bloomed and then were gone.  

I picked a wild branch, that true to all wild things, did not open, but found a blooming garden and stood there (as long as my son let me)

breathing in the air of my childhood

being again as the little curious, exploring, growing child 

And with this brief meeting this season, I ‘got’ how flowers are used as examples to teaching the here and nowness of life: so beautifully and sensually and completely HERE in their season and time on Earth  

an inspiration, a gift and appreciation.

Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

Better With Age

I have a studio photograph of my parents as a middle aged married couple, a posed portrait with her best outfit on, leaning on my dad’s back, both with pleasant, fixed smiles. 

This is the same pose we always have of ourselves through school, printed in the yearbooks, and remembered by friends.  

But years later the children have only these photographs to recall their fathers, mothers, and beloved partners.  What is remembered of their sparkle and vitality?

It is no accident the photograph of my parents my sisters share the most is one of them as childhood sweethearts in their youth and energy, graceful in the naturalness of that candid, immediate moment.  

And it is kismet that years later, I find it is the seed of my creative technique in my search to capture real emotions for the romantic parents I love to photograph.

It stems from my desire to capture livelier, more engaged and energized portraits of mothers and fathers, photographing parents as the childhood sweethearts and lifelong soulmates they are.

My portraits are moments between two people in love, showing tenderness and affection. Glowing from true feelings inside for life and each other.

This intimate portrait is a gift that keeps on giving.

Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

Contact her studio here.