Zah'mara's journey as a young aspiring photographer is a testament to the power of art and storytelling in healing and offering hope to others. Through the Aperture Of Hope creative photography outlets, she was given a digital camera as a gift to pursue her passion and share her voice with the world. Zah'mara's bravery in sharing her personal story through her photography is truly inspiring. It becomes evident that her creative outlet has become a significant part of her healing process, not only for herself but also as a source of hope for others. The images she captures reflect her unique perspective and allow her to communicate emotions and experiences that words may not be able to fully convey. In working together, she was encouraged to reflect on a life experience she wished to share with others. This creative outlet empowered her to process her thoughts and create images that would reflect her story. The photograph taken during her visit to the hospital room where her mother spent her final days reveals a powerful and intimate glimpse into her journey of grief and loss. Zah'mara's attention to detail is profound. The presence of the blanket and the pair of moccasins she brought along signify the significance of her family's traditions and the love she had for her mother. Coupled with the captivating images of nature, it is a poignant representation of her mother's essence and the beauty that was present even in the midst of her pain. As we reflect upon Zah'mara's images, we are touched by the resiliency and strength she displays. Through her photography, she offers a gift from her heart, sharing the beautiful light of her mother and illuminating the path towards healing. Her ability to capture these moments is a testament to her artistic talent and her ability to find hope in the midst of despair. Zah'mara's story serves as a reminder of the transformative power of art. It is through the lens of her camera that she is able to make sense of her experiences and offer solace and inspiration to others who may be navigating their own paths of grief and healing. Her photography is a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and serves as a beacon of hope for us all.
“This photography workshop with Cath made me feel loved. Like I mattered and everyone else cares.” - Zah’mara age 12 Images captured by Zah'mara
I Began to See
"Cath gave me the camera and it became my healing" Photography by: Mary age 13
An Awareness Photography session with an amazing teen in grief of her mother was a poignant and powerful experience. As we embarked on our exploration of Glenwood Springs, I was struck by one particular word on her list of memories: "Frogs." It resonated with me because it was a beloved part of her mother's life, and I couldn't help but mention, with a smile, that she might start seeing frogs everywhere now. Little did we know just how true that statement would become. As we wandered into the Rock Shop (High Country Gems & Minerals), our attention was suddenly drawn to a solitary frog sitting at the back of the store. And to our amazement, as we ventured deeper, we discovered an overwhelming abundance of frogs in the shop. It was as if they were placed there specifically for us, a serendipitous moment that left us in awe. In the midst of our excitement over the frogs, a quiet presence caught our eye – an owl. Although I didn't share it with the teen, the owl held a significant personal meaning for me, symbolizing my darling daughter Emily after her passing. It was a sign that seemed to strengthen the connection I felt with the teen, as if our loved ones were sending us their blessings and support. Together, we captured images of frogs and owls, each representing a different kind of connection and memory. The joy and enjoyment we experienced in photographing these creatures were not just about the aesthetics; it was about the profound sense of connection we felt with our loved ones who had passed. The camera lens acted as a portal, allowing us to freeze these moments and carry them with us as tangible reminders of love and loss, simultaneously comforting and bittersweet. This photography session, rooted in awareness and healing, helped us navigate the grief and share in the process of remembering. It was a reminder that even in the darkest times, there is beauty and serendipity awaiting us if we remain open to it. The power of photography lies not only in capturing images but also in capturing emotions, memories, and connections that provide solace and strength during times of loss. As I reflect on this experience, I am reminded of the profound impact that art, nature, and meaningful conversations can have on our healing journeys. It is a reminder to approach each photography session with empathy, care, and a willingness to listen, as we never know what memories or symbols may hold significant meaning for those we are working with. This session was a reminder of our human experiences and the power of finding shared connections even in our individual grief.
Photography by: Paulina age 16
Photography and words of expression by "E" age 10 "The emotions it made me feel was like I could express my emotions in a way, that it felt like I saw myself in those pictures. I felt like I was a part of those pictures. I feel like I'm free when I'm taking pictures, like I'm not being watched over or judged. There's no pressure when taking pictures because you mess up and you try again. I think when you are taking pictures or anything that you can just put your emotions into doing something you like and when you are doing it nobody is there. Just you and the thing you love most. When I play piano, I play piano for a stress reliever or hobby. The music helps my mind focus. Makes me feel like I'm home without my family or friends. Not in a bad way, a good way. Having friends and family always there in your space, not respecting your boundaries is very stressful and where there are stressful things in your way you can't express your emotions as good as you could. Sometimes it's good to get away and have some alone time with your passion." - Photography and beautiful words by "E" age 10
During the Awareness Photography session with the grieving teenager, we had a truly surreal experience that left us in awe. As we strolled along the path in the woods, she shared with me her fondness for winter and her collection of penguins, even expressing her desire to dress up as one for Halloween. Little did we know that this seemingly casual conversation would soon take an extraordinary turn. Just as we continued to walk deeper into the wilderness, our eyes fell upon something unimaginable – a penguin, hanging on a branch of a tree. The sight immediately struck me, as if defying all logic and reason. It felt as though a message was being conveyed, as if the teenager's abuela, her departed grandmother, was silently communicating with her from beyond. In that moment, the sense of wonder and astonishment overwhelmed us both. It was as though the universe had conspired to show us the inexplicable connection between the teenager and her grandmother. We couldn't help but feel that this occurrence was more than just a mere coincidence. This encounter has left an indelible mark on me. It has strengthened my belief in the hidden depths of the human experience, in the powerful forces that exist beyond our comprehension. It serves as a reminder that life's mysteries often reveal themselves in the most unexpected and extraordinary ways. This experience also reminded me of the magic that can be found in nature. The fact that a penguin appeared in the middle of the woods, a creature so closely linked to winter and the teenager's affinity for it, speaks to the interconnectedness of the world we live in. It was a small but meaningful sign, a gentle nudge from the universe, reminding us that there is beauty and wonder all around us if we open our eyes to see it. Furthermore, this encounter highlighted the importance of listening and being present with those who are grieving. It allowed the teenager to feel a sense of comfort and connection with her grandmother, even in her absence. It served as a powerful reminder of the impact loved ones can continue to have on our lives, even after they are gone. This encounter with the penguin hanging on a tree has left me in awe of life's intricacies and the interconnectedness of our experiences. It reinforced my belief in the existence of higher forces and the power of signs and symbols that can guide and comfort us in times of loss and grief. It was a truly serendipitous moment that will forever remain imprinted in my memory, soul and heart! -Cath Adams Founder of Aperture Of Hope, LLC Awareness Photography Outlets