Artist Sandra Pipken presents a compelling collection of floral portraits created using digital photography. To view more of her portfolio, visit her website.
What is my story?
“Story of my life is a palimpsest/Changed only by words compressed/One over another, a priori/On top, is my latest story.” Cassie Lang
Farming was the way of life I began with. According to Aristotle, farming is the most democratic way of life; it enables one to be self-sufficient and offers true independence in return. Living on a sustainable farm had its challenges—no running water, no toilet, and no electricity. I helped plow fields, collect eggs, feed chickens, cows and hogs, butcher animals, churn milk to make butter and sell produce from our fields in the city.
I found out that you need very little else, that it takes courage and strength to continue on. I learned how to think and improvise to overcome any situation that arises. My childhood was full of wonder, happiness, and joy. So it was, that when I moved from farmland to urbanscape, another way of life presented itself to me. It was a movement from living within a community to living in the “I” world.
After leaving my parent’s home at seventeen, I struggled, suffered, endured alone—all without family, experience, or skills. I lived a so-called “rambling” chaotic life—going here and there, doing this or that, no purpose, no goal, just living from day-to-day.
Then, on one of those days, it was as if I crawled out of hell and lay upon the earth drenched in its stench and slime. Suddenly, it began to rain and all the remains of that vile and wretched place was washed away from my body. The courage and strength I had learned as a child took me in hand and pulled me out of hell. Now, I had a goal and a direction—to obtain a real liberal arts education.
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I did just that, finishing my degrees and returning to California. I asked myself, now what? My degrees did not have a practical application. Getting a job eluded me.
I became ill and was very ill for about one year. During this time, I moved from California to New York, then to Connecticut, then back to California, searching for something but not knowing what.
While I was recovering, I picked up a camera and began taking photographs. I never thought of myself as being a photographer—a digital photographer at that! Even more so, a flower photographer!
Eventually, over time and after I learned that photography was more than just clicking the shutter button, it became the creative and productive vocation I had been searching for.
It begins there, but continues on. It is a process and entails not only finding an image, but clicking the shutter button, post-editing, using the appropriate paper and application and finally, using the best inks to print. Also, it requires keeping up with current trends, methods and technology that I need to produce a better image.
My story ends here, adding another layer to my life in a simple, succinct way—until the next page is written.
Artist Sandra Pipken invites you to follow her on Instagram.
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