Monday, December 29, 2014

THE REACH: Enlarged, expanded and elaborated through creative friendships

THE REACH. This image represents a collaborative effort between my friend Lisa Alexander Streib and me. I suggested the pose and she interpreted it, creating this image and naming it "The Reach."  This kind of collaboration not only strengthens our friendship but also individual visions expressed in our work. (photo by Lisa Alexander Streib, reach by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallellujah for CREATIVE VISIONS! Hallelujah for sharing visions, having them nudge up into each others psyches and crossing borders in collaborations! Hallelujah for friendships that support our journeys. Hallelujah for Lisa Alexander Streib!

My friendship with photographer Lisa Alexander Streib continues to grow and deepen over time as we collaborate in our photo shoots. I have written about our work as model and photographer before (see the links to previous blogs below). Yet I continue to be surprised that who I am as an artist, writer, and friend impacts Lisa, affecting how she SEES me and how that is expressed in her images of me! Then, in this creative loop, how Lisa's portraits of me changes how I feel about myself and her. Here in this photo below is an example of how Lisa's imagination and creative action affirmed me (read the photo caption for an explanation).
I'M A WRITER. Lisa Alexander Streib gave me an enormous gift when she created this portrait of me. She acknowledged me as a WRITER by putting the tattoo on my shoulder (I don't really have one). During our walks and talks, I had disclosed to her that even though I have journaled most of my life, written and edited professionally in my twenties, and now blogged for a number of years, that my creative peers and colleagues did not view me as a WRITER. My writing, I have felt has been undervalued, seen secondary to my art and far removed from my profession as an ESL teacher. Lisa gave me the gift of naming me as a WRITER with this image (that was her intention) and I have owned my word crafting with greater confidence since then. (image by Lisa Alexander Streib and model me, Hallelujah Truth)
The Reach
A couple of days ago this affirmation through Lisa's artful image making happened again with "The Reach." On the evening after Christmas, I was surprised to see a new image of our work together appear on my Facebook profile page. Creative minds and their processes are fascinating! Why was this image appearing now?

This beautifully crafted image began almost a year ago with a series of photos Lisa took to honor and glorify my hair! Having recently been diagnosed with the auto-immune disease, Alopecia, I had asked her to photograph me as a creative response to a life event that can be devastating. Losing hair with the possibility of going bald is frightening--a real challenge to one's self esteem! 

Our collaboration is richly supporting me and my hair loss. First of all, I am not alone. Experiencing friendship through Lisa's creative lens is fun, lighthearted, respectful, and loving. We get the chance to be "girls" playing with my hair, hair ties, barrettes, hats and various drapes and backgrounds.

Then during these collaborations, Lisa and I are also experiencing something more than the supportive experience of the photo shoot.  We are building something meaningful. Our creative acts result in a deeper sense of self, a closer friendship, and yes--the eventual image that honors me!

I don't know where our journey around my hair loss will take us or what images will result. Time will tell. The doctor says that everyone writes their own story with Alopecia. I trust in Lisa's creative vision to help me accept and manage what is going on with my health and hair. What a magnificent gift.

Currently, Lisa is working on a new series of photographs with the working title, "Constructions." In these photographs, she is combining architectural structures with portraits, experimenting with expressing more about individuals through the background she chooses to place them in. The photo below is part of this new series. Titled, "Focus," it depicts her daughter Laura. 
FOCUS. (image by Lisa Alexander Streib)
When I was walking with Lisa in her neighborhood after she posted "The Reach," I asked her to elaborate about this new series. "It's about human's aspirations, human's hopes, human's failures both physically and symbolically," she responded, "--the greatness of humans and their demise." Lisa's father was an architect, and her use of architectural structures are a tribute to him and their relationship. 

With regard to "The Reach," she explained that the pose came from me. She said it was "very me," all that I am seeking the light and truth (thank you Lisa). Then she built the image from there with the wooden stairs and the trail of nails leading the way. The light she added speaks of me attaining my goal! How awesome is that! Thank you Lisa!
CELEBRATING THE PHOTOGRAPHER. I feel so honored to be engaged in a collaborative friendship with another active CREATIVE SOUL! During our walks and talks, I find it fun to turn the camera on Lisa, who submits to my capturing her on my I-phone. What pleasure it is to photograph a photographer! (photo by Hallelujah Truth on a walk in the Candler Park neighborhood, December 2014)
That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me! Share your thoughts. What are you reaching for? Do you have collaborative relationships?
FRIENDSHIP SELFIE. (taken December 27, 2014)
Other blogs written about my relationship to Lisa Alexander Streib and experience modeling for her:

True Collaboration: Show up. Do the Work. Consider it Good Enough.

Defining My Mission
Atlanta Along the East West Line MARTA and a Portrait of Two Women
Mark Nepo and Lisa Alexander Streib Collide in My Life
Infinity and the Selfie


  1. Hallelujah! To meaningful collaborations to sharing oneself through word and imagery. I've been in awe of this collaboration for awhile now. I'm struck by the depth and intimacy of Lisa's photos. They sing to me in a truly profound way. How wonderful that they are nurturing and "empowering?" (is that the right word?) to you as the "model." Hallelujah to you for being brave enough to put yourself out there and to bare yourself to all of us. Your blogs and your engagement in the artistic process continually inspire me.

    1. Trish, thanks for the word "empowering"! Living and breathing in the creative realm is empowering. It helps that Lisa is so sweet and soulful herself. I met her at a meaningful event for both us and our friendship has grown from there. I trust Lisa and her vision. She is LOVE and knows about creating meaning in line with her love of friends and family. So lucky for her and for your warmth and connection to our project.

  2. For whatever reason, this comment left by Cris Winters is not it is and thank you Cris!: I have been reading your blog for awhile, and I am inspired by the way you use your art for self-discovery and healing. Thank you for all your sharing. Best wishes in resolving the problem with your hair. It must be alarming!

  3. I always read your blogs and sometimes more than once when they especially touch my soul. This one does. It's wonderful how you build on friendships by just being you and giving from the heart to everyone you meet...or so it seems to me when reading what you have written here and on the DCP page..I have looked up the causes of your hair loss and treatment because I have been experiencing a thining of hair my self. I am sure it is drug related since I started several months ago to take a new one...I decided to take myself off the new meds...I feel the doctors are too fast to push pills on us and we rely too easily on them for a quick I have decided to correct the problem with common sense..

    The words you write always give me hope, inspiration and very often challenges..Most of all they gladden my heart. Thank you!