Vulnerability | Online Photography Mentor

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Vulnerability means opening yourself up to the possibility of being hurt. And it’s the things we care the most about, the deepest about, that are the most capable of hurting us. No one else has the ability to bring me to tears the way my husband and children do. I care about them so much, and they about me, that in that very intimacy is where the most power to do the most good, and bad, lies. We trust each other to not hurt each other on purpose, but the power is there. The vulnerability we show each other is worth it, because of that trust, and because of how much deeper it allows our family and relationships to grow.

Being vulnerable with your art is so much harder, because you don’t necessarily have that relationship with your audience. There isn’t an assumed sense of trust, of mutual love and respect, between you and those who view your work. When you create a photograph and put it out there, you are opening yourself up to other’s judgement on that work, and it isn’t always a kind experience.

But when that work is of the things you hold most dear, the people you love the most, the moments you will cherish till you are 90, it’s even harder. But it is so necessary to still seek out that vulnerability.

You can call it whatever you want – being authentic, genuine, or vulnerable, but they are all important emotions to give in to in order to create family documentary work that is powerful and meaningful. It’s in that vulnerability that we find the human elements that bring us together – the universal emotions that we all feel, in different ways, and it’s that universal-ness that makes someone else feel something when they view your work.

Even within the context of creating photographs meant just for personal consumption or a close circle of family and friends to ever see – the images that will still mean something 30 years from now are the ones that have those universal, vulnerable themes present.