Jun 30, 2011

Wonderfully Worn, Beautifully Broken


These are some areas that I scouted and are using to shoot for a project. I will share details about that project in the near future, but for now, I wanted to share a few scouting shots with you...and a couple of my thoughts...

It continues to amaze me how such worn out, old, torn up areas that have been long abandoned, discarded, and ready to be bulldozed away for new, fresher, beginnings, remain so beautiful to me.

Scraps of a lives before me, hints of secrets, and stories told again and again. Snippets of stories scattered about in scraps, shreds, and shards. While many may see filth, I see fabulous. While many may see dirt, I see age. Others may see awful, I see awesome!

So, I have to then again(again!) ask myself why is it when I look in the mirror and find yet another wrinkle, another little spot, a little fold that wasn't there they day before (I think), why do I not see beauty? 

When I feel tired or feel like no matter how much I try, my days just don't go as planned, why can't I see past the dust of the day and see the beauty instead?

Sometimes...being on the inside, looking out, we might feel like how these room look, but then we have girlfriends who see us the way I view these beautiful rooms. Our girlfriends see us as impressive...pissy moods and all... 

And if it weren't for our girlfriends to remind us just how awesome we really are, then it would be so easy for us to just work ourselves into a frenzy when we find ourselves "in one of those moods" and never really see how the scraps of our secret lives, our piles of our past and present, and how our less than perfect paths, have led us to a very amazing life.

 Since I shoot only in natural light, I sometimes find myself "fighting the light" and the time. The clouds move over the sun, the days get shorter, and as the sun moves from east to west, I must move my work around the room. It gets hard.

But then, I realize when I stop "fighting" the light, but start working with the light, and accept that the sun will always move from east to west, the clouds will always come and go, and I will always have to move with it to get a good shot...then my attitude changes.

This is nothing new or a revelation. 

But having so many doors and walls...so many obstacles, it is a good reminder...

 What I once considered an obstacle, I  now use it as an advantage. A door makes a wonderful shadow for a shot. And a wall blocks glaring light. A bare window allows in more light while a corner only allows a mere stream. 
It all depends where I stand, how I look at it, and what I am willing to accept.

I am at my most happiest with my art at two moments: 1)when my writing has moved, touched or helped someone in some way. And 2), when I am alone with my camera, my thoughts, my props, and surrounded by beautiful natural light to create images that I KNOW can only come from God because I have never been formally trained. It is a connection that I will never be able to explain.

But since I have no doubt that in those moments, when I am trying to figure out how to shoot something, how to adjust my camera, how to get the light to work with me, it is then that suddenly, I know, I am not alone at all.

Many times, as I work alone with my creative juices flowing, I feel extremely grateful for the opportunities to use the talents that God has given for me. I have never understood why He gave me these talents but I do know He uses me. I don't use Him. It is His eye that sees what clicks through the lens. It is His will that pushes my finger and clicks the camera, because I have no training. I always wonder what He wants us to see. And I always wonder what I will see when I download His photos onto the computer.

Lately, I thought I would share what I think He wants us to see...I think He wants us to see that everything will be okay and He knows every detail of our lives and He cares very deeply about every detail. I think this because He captures every detail through my lens...down to the tiny specs on the dirty floor.

I have spent hours (days actually) in complete silence as I work in the heat and alone. When I get home and download the photos I see a common theme that I didn't see during the photo shoot itself.

Beautiful cracks.

Worn pieces.

Water-stained paper.

Much like how cruel life can be lately around us. Earthquakes, fires, floods, and even personal friends passing away lately. 

Cracks where we let something slip away...

Worn relationships that cause pain...

Water-stained hearts with tears....

And yet, through all that life can toss out at us, we manage to piece back together our lives. 

And even with the peeling paint, the bit of dirt, and the glued crack, I still stop in my tracks, and admire the beauty of this simple cup. 

That is the miracle of living with God. He never gives up on us and He never gives up on providing beauty in all situations, no matter how ugly it may seem at the time.

This discarded cup on a filthy windowsill with peeling paint is probably one of my favorite photographs I have taken. It wasn't photographed in an elegant location like France, and it isn't valuable by any means. But it is fragile, made of china, and was pieced together by someone who found it worthwhile. Someone found it worthwhile to piece it back together. You are worthwhile...your life is worthwhile. God wants to show you the beauty in your life...especially when it isn't going so well, when life can get ugly...

And I think, I am pretty sure, that God is trying to tell me lately, that life is fragile, beautiful, and worthwhile piecing back together, no matter how banged up it may get. And He(God) will be there to help us see the beauty in it along the way.

I just wanted to share some of my thoughts these past weeks I have had while spending many hours alone with my camera and with the Original Creator. It is so worth my time to spend it with Him... He just amazes me with all the beauty He continues to show me through my lens.

from my house to your house,



Sarah atRosePetals said...

These are such uplifting and inspiring words...the power to see beauty in everything, especially the most forlorn, is a wonderful gift. Your writing and your photos are always stunning and I'm so glad that you share that gift with us. The bowl on the windowsill is also my favorite!
I look forward to more...don't wait so long in between though! :)

Rhonda said...

Touching post, Elizabeth. I am a huge fan of your photographs and blog. You inspire me so much.

This is exactly why I loved Paris, I love cracks, worn, life lines, I call them.

Sweet Old Vintage said...

Elizabeth... Such a lovely written and inspiring post... Thw words just flow in such beauty... Sending wishes for a peaceful Fourth of July holiday....

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you for visiting everyone. I appreciate the nice comments and so happy that my photographs are seen by those who appreciate them as well.

Happy 4th of July weekend to you all and be safe!!

Big hugs,
Elizabeth :-)

Terri Smith said...

As always, your words touch my heart and spark a genuine familiarity. I can relate to your words as if I had just spilled my heart out in "girlfriend moment" and you agreed and shared the same thoughts. Sometimes it's not easy to put thoughts into words, but you have read my mind and have so beautifully transcribed those thoughts through your words and pictures. Thank you. I look forward to reading more and seeing the simple beauty of life through your photos.

Unknown said...

Beautiful, elouquent and inspiring...thank you Elizabeth.
Happy 4th of July!

shabbyechic.blogspot.it said...


Anonymous said...

Today I found your blog for the first time. Today I truly needed your words & pictures. I've had a number of rough days recently, but today more than usual. I found you while I was on break at work, & found it necessary to take an extra few min to make sure no one saw my tears. Thanks....

PS: I have jars & bags of buttons also. Sometimes I just pour them out on a tray & move them about sorting by color, style, age or for no good reason...

Elizabeth Maxson said...

So nice to see may enjoying the words and the meaning behind them.

Anonymous, glad you found me for the first time. I had read your comment just after I read a beautiful tribute sent to me via email that brought me to tears since I have lost someone recently to an illness.

Words can be so powerful when they reach us in a moment in our lives. I am glad you found me...and keep pushing those buttons around. Buttons seem to brighten my day just by sitting in a jar....maybe I will push them around a bit myself....

Big hug,
Elizabeth :-)

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

E: Right now my life is pretty ugly, I would say it's almost the worse it's ever been...but I know I'm had worse, but it's pretty close. But then today I read your words and they give me comfort, like a small crack that let's in just enough sunshine so that you know soon there will be hope! I only have hope, faith, and my belief in God that he WILL see me through my situation. Thank you dear friend for this post.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

My Sweet T,

Know that I will be praying for you and take your time to do what you need to do. Blogging can wait. We will all be here and aren't going anywhere.

You are very special, remember that.

Big hug always,

Burlap Luxe said...

My kind of beauty! Elizabeth forget you moving in with me!! I am moving in with you!! (Room-mates)

I say clean it up white wash over the tattered to soften the blow and move in on all that haunting beauty!
Love the way you right so inspiring, and the photos leave me in awwwww!!

I hate waiting and have to know whats the out come so hurry girl :)

See you soon!

Joani said...

Beautiful, beautiful, & beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Sandi said...

SO beautifully said! I have nothing to add. :)

Unknown said...

OMG, Elizabeth, I just finished reading one of the most beautiful, uplifting pieces of written word I ever read. I can tell exactly where it comes from. You are so blessed, many go thru the journey of life and will never be able to grasp, comprehend or experience this things you talked about. Every great revelation comes from Him and is a very special thing to be able to hear, receive and make it real. You have blessed many lives today with your words and I can imagine God's smile upon you, you have made your "Papa God" proud. Blessings, Marta.

summersundays-jw said...

Wonderful post! It did my heart good to read it this morning & your pictures are amazing. You are such an artist with your camera -- He certainly did give you a gift. Have a wonderful holiday weekend. Jan

Pearl said...

Wow! I'm astonished. Love every word.


Anonymous said...

My Dear Elizabeth - sometimes even a bird landing on a chair before a party begins to let you know that someone in heaven is there with you, reminds you how wonderful God is.

I love this post and of course your photographs.


Elizabeth Maxson said...


Thank you for such an uplifting comment. I hope my words make "Papa God" (I love that!) happy. He has given me so much, the least I can do is make Him a little happy....geesh, I give Him enough trouble as it is!

Thank you for stopping by - visit again soon!
Elizabeth :-)

Elizabeth Maxson said...


I loved helping you with your party and yes, that little bird stopping by and sitting on the chair to check things out was a wonderful sign. How cool that I happened to be sitting right there, with my camera, when the bird just landed and started to stare right at me...almost like he was posing.

He knows a good party is about to start...he isn't no bird-brain! He came to join in the fun. I had a lot of fun - thanks for letting me join in!

Elizabeth :-)

mercedes scott said...

Elizabeth, thank you for the moving post, accompanied by your gorgeous photos. This was my very first visit to your blog and I loved it! Will be back for more :)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Welcome Mercedes!

So nice to have you and so happy that you plan to visit again. I am always thrilled when a new reader writes me - thank you for taking time out of your busy life to let me know you stopped by. I appreciate it very much!

Elizabeth :-)

Just A Girl said...

Isn't that the way our life in Christ is? He is the Light that moves about shedding more light...possibly in areas that we don't want exposed. But when we stop fighting against what He is doing, then, and only then, do we see the beauty of what He's creating in our lives.
Beautiful post Elizabeth and as always emotionally breath taking images.
God bless

Kim said...

Wow! I think I needed these words. Tonight we walked by your old shop and talked about how much we miss having you to visit.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I needed to hear these words!

Tonight we walked by your old shop and talked about how much we miss having you in the neighborhood. I am excited to see what is next in your adventures!


Burlap Luxe said...

Hi Elizabeth girl! I am still waiting to see the outcome of what you are doing over here!

I hope you are making room for me! (Smile) your paint buddy!!

Come for a visit and check out my home that speaks French, I am sure my pieces will fit in your rustic elegance!! If not nothing a little paint can't fix!!


Anonymous said...

Even though an older post I just loved your story. What an amazing old house; the woodwork is beautiful and what stories those walls could tell as well. God Bless you. S Carlson

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