I struggled with how I would present this. Such a personal project and a trip I spent years cultivating. Maybe you’ve seen Iceland’s famed rainbow street, it’s actually a small part of it that is painted but it gives the illusion of an entire roadway spirited with color. I toyed with writing about that, or the colors you see in this country covered in volcanic rock, moss and ice or equating it to the country’s history, how they were founded and the rich stories passed down over generations. None of that seemed right to me, seemed to be the reason I traveled 2,500 miles, spent 9 days walking over 40 miles and took more than 2,000 images. And then today, while editing one of these photos it hit me. While out with coworkers, I was asked by someone I had just met, Why Iceland? The truth is I was running. But not running away from something, rather I was running towards myself. My freedom, my independence, my confidence, my life. I was going in order to escape the lie I had lived for decades, in order to find me. I was bringing color back into my life. And what better landscape to achieve this, than the other worldly terrain of Iceland.
So, why colors? Did you know that colors have meaning, evoke emotions? There are entire courses dedicated to color theory, how they make you feel, how they influence you as a consumer, how they’re used to sell. As an artist I have a basic understanding of this and have used it in my own life, for example some people find the color yellow to bring them a sense of happiness, others, like myself find it oddly infuriating. It’s no wonder that within a month of moving into my first home I tore the yellow wallpaper from the walls faster than you could blink an eye. So when I look at colors I see the emotions they make me feel and I use that in my work to tell my story. My story is not 9 days in Iceland. My story is about a journey to regain who I was, who I’ve always been and to find a way back to her. And this story begins with “Passion”.


I had long since left passion in the past. I was taught in church that the passion I should have should be towards god. I attended a christian school where my desires of the flesh made me an outcast, a walking she devil. I buried my passion time and time again until I was numb. I don’t blame the church but I was never taught that what I felt inside was normal, okay, or anything but a sin. This always left me confused and let me tell you that 30 years is a long time to bury such deep emotions. I am proud of my body, my sexuality, that fiery passion which burns inside of me. And it’s taken me years to realize that it’s okay to feel this way, to be a sexual being, hell, it’s healthy. And I had lost that passion, afraid of what it would do to me if I let it out. Ashamed, that’s what you’re taught to feel. And that’s stupid. Why be ashamed of who you are? No matter who you love, how you found them, how you explored and found yourself. There’s no shame in who we are. I love little things like holding my partner’s hand or squeezing his leg. I can’t keep my hands away from him, three years in and I’d touch him all the time if I could. We share our passion for one another in a way I never thought I’d have, one that I knew for years existed but couldn’t find. Trust, humor, love, quiet, fire and friendship. I drape myself in red. The fiery passion which surrounds me, burns within me, consumes me. Love is wonderful. Passion, is magical.


I was a horrible student. If I tried and applied myself I got a C. If I didn’t and coasted by I got a C. Nothing I seemed to do mattered in school, I didn’t excel in any one subject. Was I doomed for mediocrity? Not in the least. I graduated by the skin of my teeth, began working and realized that no matter where I was they couldn’t keep up with me. I caught on to things quickly, computer systems, ordering, maintenance, programs, you name it and I could grasp the concept faster than my peers. I moved up the ranks from an entry level phone agent to a supervisor, an analyst, specialist to whatever you call me now. I bought my first home by myself at age 30 and paid down my mortgage quickly despite those first years living solely to pay for that home. I did not have balance. I opened my photography business and worked 2 jobs, sometimes 7 days a week for months to prove to myself that I could do it. Always working, always earning, burning myself out until the point of collapse. Midway through 2018 I moved to a new state and used it as an excuse to shut the doors on my business. But really I needed a break. I was uninspired, unhappy, grasping at straws to keep my marriage afloat. I was so out of balance that when my marriage inevitably ended I had to face the facts that I had, for years, ignored the growing symptoms of mental illness. I hadn’t slept more than 4 hours a night since I was a child. Years of undiagnosed insomnia coupled with chemical imbalances in my brain led me to crash at the end of 2019 and just this year I finally feel like I’m getting to a healthy place. 4. Years. Later. Balance is vital. Work life balance. Chemical balance. Relationship balance. When any one of these is out of whack you begin to ignore the rest and let me tell you how very much I wish I had sought out my balance sooner. Grey signifies balance and balance now consumes me. I am no longer a slave to working long hours, ignoring my mental health or putting myself anything but first. Seek out balance within your life. It’s more important than you can ever think it will be.


Anyone who’s ever known me knows I am not calm. I’m always worked up, that fiercely Italian trait where you’re screaming and flailing but that’s just how you speak. I don’t think I’ve ever truly been calm a day in my life. But while I grew up learning how to scream and flail my point across to any one of my 4 siblings or 10 cousins I never really learned to sit and be calm. Quiet used to bother me. I had to have noise, music, the TV, something that told me I wasn’t so alone. I didn’t understand calm. I have lived alone often throughout my life but still didn’t take those opportunities to identify a need or use for calm. And when I was struggling though particularly depressive anxious states I could sit in a room with no noise and hear this ringing louder than cannons, pounding through my head. I didn’t think it would ever stop. I was so terribly broken that my brain was screaming to be released from my own head. I have a routine now. My dogs wake me every day at 7 and we walk and I feed them. And then I sit with my calm. No noise, no music, nothing but tea, quiet and me. I stare out the big picture window onto the yard and breathe. I don’t plan every waking moment of that day or struggle with some internal issue. I just breathe. I probably look sad or melancholy staring at nothing but this is my calm. That quiet piece of my day where I sit and just be. It’s a moment for me to exist without expectation or worry. Everything I do is a work in progress including finding my calm. The place where no one exists that’s more important than my life. My calm is the 5-10 minutes I create for myself. And in all its divine irony blue signifies calm and happens to have always been my favorite color. The woman who never seems calm. I absolutely seek it now and will till the day I’m not longer able to drape myself in blue.

New Beginnings

What a wondrous meaning we have here. I never knew green could signify this but the second I saw it I knew that was true. Spring brings new life to the trees as they sprout into fields of green, teeming with color. A new start. Is that what Iceland was for me? A new start to it all? Truth is every day is a new beginning. A way to put aside the mistakes of your previous day and move forward. That how I try to live, as a person and an artist. Try and try again to stop dwelling on the past and look for those new beginnings. Sometimes they’re big, like your partner moving 1,500 miles away and now navigating what that road looks like for you. Other times they’re small, you just want your day to end so you can begin anew tomorrow. When I was in a depressive state I thought there would never be a new beginning again. You’re lied to by your insides, your brain constantly hammering you with fear and doubt until you feel like a shell, full of garbage and worthless. I struggled silently for months feeling like each day was my own personal hell on earth, filled with nothing but the lies my brain told me. It’s only now that I can look back and understand that those lies were robbing me of each new beginning I was having. I managed to create a genre of drone portraiture during this depressive state and some of my most incredible work was during this time. But I couldn’t enjoy those new beginnings until I sought help, regained chemical balance within my brain. Each new beginning is a gift and I let them pass me by because I was proud, stubborn and ashamed. Human of me, right? Don’t miss your new beginnings, not even for a second. They are beautiful and you deserve to celebrate them all, no matter how big or how small.


Oh to be a powerful being, like Thor or Vader. Power for me is the strength to fly to Iceland alone, traveling the countryside shooting nude and ignoring the looks, tourists and snowflakes falling from the sky. In fact it’s one of the most liberating and powerful acts I’ve ever accomplished. I get called ‘brave’ a lot, for my work, and I never think of myself as brave. Foolish maybe but not brave. People think that I have this courage that allows me to take off all my clothes for the camera and really it’s not courage at all. I don’t want to be seen by others, I’m discreet and hide but when the shutter begins to click all of that fades away. It’s almost like a trance, I don’t even know you’re there. Perhaps you’ve heard it described by athletes as, in the zone. It’s a place you go in your head, hyper focused on the task at hand and completely unaware of your surroundings. But getting there fills me with anxiety and dread and I knew this going to Iceland. I knew it would test my power, my ability to act like I have it all together and have no fear. I tried to get to locations when no one else was around but that did not always happen. And when it didn’t there was a moment of pause where I told myself you have to do this, this is why you’re here, no one will care, fuck them if they do. And every time I dug deep within myself, dropped my clothes, ran like hell and let it all fade away. There is a power in that, that is inexplicable. You feel invincible conquering your fears, vulnerability and having power over it does wondrous things for self esteem. I show my body in vulnerable ways to bring back power to myself, to women. In an age where we’re still fighting to be equal, to control our own lives and not be seen as solely a housewife or mother. I do this for anyone who’s ever felt shamed by others about their body, had their body violated and for those who live where they can’t do this for themselves. That is my power.


Remember when I said I hated yellow? Well I do but you can not deny that ending with ‘Hope’ is incredibly uplifting. Hope is such a beautiful thing. It’s almost life giving in the way it can urge you to hang on, make it through your day, build into butterflies hoping to see your crush, hear that song, take that flight. Hope is so immensely positive we never seem to hope for anything bad. You hope things don’t go badly, ie you hope for good. As I approached my last shoot and the wind blew so hard my underwear began to tumble away I had in me this hope that these moments would never end. That this project I spent 2 years creating would be something anyone would even want to look at. I had hope that it would turn out well, hope that I’d figure out what to say, that my underwear wouldn’t catch wind and fly across Iceland. Hope that I had done the right thing. Don’t get me wrong, I also had fear, self doubt and imposter syndrome but still there was hope. As I wrapped on my very last shoot, having not reviewed any of these images, I felt accomplished. Somewhere inside me, 2 years prior, I had thought up this crazy idea to travel to Iceland and shoot across the countryside. Seeking solace, nature, color and truth. And never in all my years did I truly understand just how much I needed to go. To be alone on this epic adventure and find my joy again. You should have seen my face driving down Route 41 that first time. I almost cried, it was surreal. I had done it, gotten on a plane, traveled alone and set out on my own photographic adventure. Me. And all because of hope. The hope that by doing this I could be proud of who I was again. That I could feel like me again. Because that’s all I’ve ever really wanted, to be me and be accepted for it. Not stifled or beat down. To live the life I have imagined. To find my passion, balance, calm, power, hope and new beginnings. Thank you.

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