I was born a visual artist. At six
months I was making circles with crayons – over and over again on
a piece of paper (ALL the colors, baby! Who needs electronic games? Crayola
Crayons are your friend! LOL) Then I got multi colored blocks and I was
all about lining them up in rainbow colors. I was 3. So my mom had me
“tested” and then put me into art class. I was blessed with
a mother who saw me for the artist I was born to be and crossed huge bridges
to support that. I painted for years. I was “acclaimed” and
in lots of one woman shows in renowned galleries. Photography, at that
point, was a “means to an end” for me.
I loved painting but then one day my painting let me down. I was done
with all of it: my marriage, my art, and mostly being so scared all the
At that point the camera became the new tool for my art. It morphed. Fast.
All the while, I was trying to cope with my own insecurities – take
a photo – panic – take another one – panic again. But
I learned; I grew. I’ve always had a vision – I was born with
it (that part is really easy for me) but there is so much more to it than
you can believe.
The thing about photography that wasn’t there for me with my painting
was that it was now me and someone else. I guess, if I am going to be
painfully honest, I’ve always wanted to be loved. I isolate myself,
because just having the “girlfriends you go out with” still
leaves me lonely on some level. But when I shoot someone – I am
very present and they are as well. We connect on a completely different
level – my insecurities as well as theirs. It bonds me with my clients
in some intrinsic way. We created these images, my clients and I. It takes
real courage on both of our parts to make this work. I have said it over
and over again, “I can only shoot what I see”. I let my clients
see me and subsequently, they let me see them.
I have received a number of prestigious awards in my career for both my
painting and photography. To me that isn’t what is important. I
believe you can really see the people I’ve photographed if you look
in their eyes. I know that they can, and they have learned to see themselves
as beautiful on account of it. Thusly, my images of the people who bravely
and honestly shared themselves with me, and trusted me, are the only accolades
I’ve earned that really matter to me.
I was born with the gift
of sight. The Wave of Hope has let me use that gift on all levels, inside
photography by Selene Gonzales
I’m a portrait artist and I love what I do.
While I am the "creator",
I am in no way, shape, or form, the only person involved in this project.
There are three women and one man, in particular, who have been here throughout,
have worked tirelessly, for free, held my little scared hand, helped with
the shoots, the interviews, the promotion, editing, video, all of it.
They are my best friends in this and the rocks in my world.
Thank you Amber, Emily,
Selene and Doug. This would be nothing without you.
Sharon and Amber, photography by Jennifer Garrett
Man, oh man. There are
few times in my life when I am at a loss for words, but this is one of
them. To the men and women who came into my studio, shared their hearts
and souls with me, stood up alongside me and said, "let's do this!"
Your voices, your honesty, and your courage is what has made this happen.
This would be NOTHING without you. Granted, I am the painter, but without
the paint, the canvas remains blank. You are the paint. Together we are
re-coloring the world. So many of you have gone above and beyond with
volunteering, holding my hand, listening to me cry in fear and frustration,
and simply loving me for who I am, wow. I never knew what I was going
to get back in terms of love and kindness. Thank you.
They say it takes a village.
You are my village. I love you all and I mean that from the bottom of