To be known.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
— Brené Brown

  

As photographers, we are allowed into moments of people's lives that oftentimes, no one else gets to see. We are welcomed into sentimental spaces and messy bedrooms. We are invited into first looks and intimate kisses. We are there through both the shyness and the comfort. We witness quiet glances and gentle touches. And the more I photograph people and relationships, the more I realize how absolutely beautiful it is when someone allows themselves to be vulnerable with you (both off and on camera).  

We talk a lot about documenting connection. The images that move us are the ones that we can relate too. They mirror both the joys and flaws of our humanity. They bring us into the moment and make us reflect on our own similar experiences. When I'm meeting with a couple, or photographing them, so many of my efforts are invested in listening to their stories. The connection begins far before I ever take out my camera; it begins with "let's grab a coffee. I want to hear your story". And that story is always, always the most rewarding part. I want to share with you what this is teaching me in my day to day life. 

To fully know someone and be known is one of the most powerful things. I am continuously reminded of this passage in scripture:

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God's Good News but our own lives too. // 1 Thessalonians 2:8

I love that it encourages us to share our broken, beautiful, wholesome, authentic and sometimes messy stories. I love that it asks us to not only share the good and joyful parts of our existence, but to also be vulnerable and share the parts that we've kept hidden in fear of judgement or shame. I once heard someone tell me that we often think sharing our story will isolate us from others, but what it actually does is insulate us with community. This is something I'm constantly learning because vulnerability is a journey, and there are still fear-based thoughts holding me back. But I'm more humbled by it and open because of it than I ever was before and for that I am thankful. 

I hope this post encourages someone reading this to tell their story or listen to another's, to say what they feel, take a risk, be vulnerable and muster courage in any area of their life they feel they need to. There's no shame, only grace through all of it. I'm rooting for you. 

xx 

Inna