We are so looking forward to the latest class, Rose Coloured Glasses, from Vivienne McMaster which starts Monday, October 8. Vivienne has such a wonderful way of seeing the world and sharing her special vision in her classes. I asked Vivienne to give us a deeper look inside her daily practice of finding beauty and living in joy.
I love the idea of your new course Rose Coloured Glasses. The course description says that this is “ an invitation to the beauty around you, to embrace your inner optimist and to let the search for things that make you smile lead you please.” Can you tell us about your inner optimist? I take it she’s a glass half full kind of gal? Where has your smile lead you?
My inner optimist comes out through my camera. Somehow when I make the space to take photo, be it of myself or of a flower I just crave to take photos that bring out wonder and whimsy.
I wanted to call the class ‘Rose Coloured Glasses’ because I feel like this optimism through the camera, the simple act of seeking out beauty or things that make us smile. Well, it is nourishing and healing.
Seeing the beauty around us doesn’t mean that we’re ignoring the tough parts of life, but are counter balancing it in a way and giving ourselves a creative and nourishing practice of slowing down and noticing.
The fun part of going on photo walks too is it allows us to engage with our community and let our smile lead us places as we wander taking photos!
You talk a lot about how finding photography and cultivating a regular practice lifted the heavy curtain of depression for you. I love the line from the course description where you say, “The simple act of seeking beauty around me helped me find the beauty within me.” What do you think it is about the creative journey that helps shed some light on this very dark state of mind?
For me, photography came right after that curtain had been lifted. I think if you’re going through a depression or a rough time we need to encircle ourselves with support be it friends, therapists, family and not be alone.
Where photography came into play was after I came out the other side of the depression. I was through it and knew life would be different now but didn’t know how to return to happiness. To joy. Taking photo walks helped me find that happiness again and taking pictures brought me joy. I feel like not only did it help me return to a sense of self and joy again but it continues to nourish me. The continued practice of taking photo walks feels and taking pictures daily feels to me like what meditation might feel like to others. It’s a self-care tool that I need to keep balanced and healthy in my life and I know I’m not alone in this!
That’s why I wanted to share this part of my experience in this course is to invite people to discover finding joy again and the ways photography can help us thrive.
Can you describe a photo walk where something unexpected was captured in your lense and changed the course of your day?
The other day I had a photo bike ride (where I stop and take photos but cover more ground) that did just that. I was biking out to the forest and I take this trail often but this day it was different. Along the path on every post was a half dozen hearts. It would have been beautiful to have just the hearts on one post but they continued on. It was totally unexpected and felt like a message of love that I’m sure changed not only my day!
One of your fellow Emerge teachers and close friend, Liz Lamoreux, talks about how we all have super-powers. Recognizing joy, creating magic, being present. What is your super-power and how do you use it in your day to day life?
I think one of my superpowers is playfulness. As participants of Rose Coloured Glasses will discover it is at the core of the way I teach photography, so don’t expect an intimidating class…expect to play!
This also comes through in my day to day life simply in the way I see and exist in the world. Playfulness (like seeing beauty) doesn’t mean that I don’t take life seriously but it keeps a good dose of joy in my heart which from hearing my story you can tell that is something I never want to be without again!
What do you hope for your students to gain from the Rose Coloured Glasses course?
I hope that the participants will find a safe and supportive community energy which always exists in my classes. They should be forewarned that they might make some new friends that they will totally adore.
I also really hope that they will find inspiration to build a creative practice of noticing the beauty around them and documenting it through their cameras. The class is great for new folks to photography or to my style of teaching but for those who have taken classes with me before I have lots of new activities and ideas for them too.
Mostly I hope that the participants will spend the next two weeks feeling oh so inspired by what they have the potential to create through their cameras! I so can’t wait to share this course with them!