Tara’s Website: www.tarawestphotography.com
Masking, along with social distancing has been an unusual, yet interesting experience for me. As a photographer, I have been trained to be an observer of people. Habitually, and almost instinctually, at this point in my life, when I interact with people, I try to make them feel a comfort level, that allows me to connect and capture them as close to their natural state as possible. While I do believe the eyes are the windows to our souls, I truly never realized how much, I rely on the expression of the whole face, for this communication and human connection to happen. There is a ‘blankness’ or a void, as if all expression is missing, that I see, when I look at others with masks on. And there is a ‘blankness’ I feel within myself, when I wear one.
The social distance further enhances that feeling of absence, in the human connection for me. I can literally feel the fear in some people, to be too close to me, or to others, as we all shuffle away from each other to stand on our designated spot on the ground.
On many occasions, I have stood in the grocery store with tears in my eyes, feeling the restraint, the frigidity, and the breadth of dis- connection, with complete strangers, around me on many of occasions now. The irony does not escape me, how we are doing this to keep each other safe.
I am finding great fascination and inspiration from the likes of Jane Goodall, Dr. Zack Bush. For me those that connect to mother earth, and nature are our true teachers, and leaders, at this moment.
I am passionate about helping others. As a single mom, I was once in a position where I needed some help, and family, friends and complete strangers helped me, and my children rebuild. I will never forget that feeling and am committed to pay it forward. I prefer to quietly find those who could use an extra hand in life, and contribute to them directly, however I can.
It is my feeling that, this pandemic has collectively shaken us awake. I think more people will stop waiting to do many things.
We will start living a more conscious experience. Back to simpler times for many. While it has been adding many fears for many people, to me, it feels as though, it is simultaneously removing fears for others…changing jobs, considering big moves, alternate choices for educating their children, starting gardens, a focus on sustainable living, connecting to nature more, health conscious living…etc. .
I have connected to myself, my life differently. I have had some time to ‘Edit’ where I feel necessary.
Re-assessing my life, my choices, my path and how that fits into the world now. It has, once again, taught me the value of time. And reminded me how we each only have so much of it. Most of us do not get to know when our time here will end, but we all know for certain…it will end…and how we choose to explore that time, should be a deliberate, conscious choice. While it feels as though there is so much negativity attached to this, I am hopeful, it will all translate into an evolution and change into the greater good for humanities future.