Karin Elizabeth | creative block
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Immense, intense

In my previous post, I was very open about my struggle with stagnation. But that post only scratched the surface. I now feel more ready to be completely honest about what has been going on in the past 3 years, causing me to lose so much focus.

In 2014, my uncle and grandfather both died within 6 weeks from each other. I have written about that before, but what I didn’t write about is that shortly after those two losses, I also went through a devastating miscarriage. All of this caused me to spiral into grief and subsequent depression and anxiety – it took me about a year to work through that. I struggled with fertility problems, had surgery & was diagnosed with endometriosis, and my beloved grandmother died in 2015. We needed medical assistance to achieve pregnancy in early 2016, which was both stressful yet something I was immensely grateful for – a recipe for emotional conflict. After another pregnancy loss, we finally conceived Rosalie, who was born October 28th 2016. My pregnancy wasn’t the easiest as I carried a large baby due to undiagnosed gestational diabetes, and the delivery was hard, but we made it. Two became three.

She is now almost 6 months old. I can’t believe it. Rosalie enjoys eating, riding in the car, attempting to eat her socks, chewing on her butterfly toy, playing with mommy, going on walks, and grabbing daddy’s beard.

You can follow our lives together on my personal instagram account @kaatzoetekouw! She even has her own hashtag #RosalieHannahElisa, which I made so I have quick access to just-pictures-of-her.

All of this changed me, immensely and intensely, but for the better. All that pain, all that loss and all that loneliness – because it is so, so lonely to go through all of that – brought me the love of my life. And I hope I can now use all of that to once more be an impassioned photographer. I tried to work on photos for those years, but my heart was never really in it because my heart felt empty for so long.

Now my heart is full <3

Back in the saddle

Another two months have gone by; I keep finding my way back to my website though, so I suppose that’s something. My ties with Karin Elizabeth, photographer, are never severed even though I often (unwillingly) distance myself from it all. Life gets in the way of things, but in the past few months it’s been good: I’ve been experiencing things, getting out more, traveling, and gaining perspective on a lot of things, all of which will only benefit me in getting back in the saddle.

Wil and I just got back from traveling around Norway. We took our own car, Lola, and made our way up via Germany and Denmark. We traveled for two weeks, combining a few city stops (Bergen, Oslo) with a whole lot of nature. We took moments to relax (at a cabin in Geiranger for 3 days with a stunning view of the fjord) while also working in a fair amount of activity (several long, and even intense hiking trails, including Kjeragbolten and of course Preikestolen). We ate good food and tried some typical Norwegian things, such as Brunost and Aquavit.

Getting away from your own routine is a great way to look at things a little differently, and for me this trip has been extremely refreshing. For my photography, it’s also been great: while I used to balk at Instagram, for the past few months (since getting my new phone) I’ve been using it a lot (@kaatzoetekouw) and I also took tons of photos in Norway. I started using it as a quick tool to capture whims of creativity and now I’m really liking it. An appreciation for the little things, like how the light hits something, or how colorful the scenery is, or even just holding on to a memory, is exactly how I started taking photos back in 2004. A decent phone camera is whipped out in a second; an image processed in a jiffy. It’s more effortless in a sense to capture what I see, and that is the pay off for me. I’m not in it for followers, I’m in it for myself: I quickly get to see my own results and it’s been motivating me to see that with a simple phone camera, I can take photos that I fall in love with. (Imagine what I can do with other tools?)

It’s been good to start over in that sense. I credit both Instagram and my very different surroundings for this. I felt something open up in my soul, and I have hope that my long creative block is coming to an end.

I’ll share some Norway/Instagram favorites here as soon as I have my stream up to date. And after that I’ll get to work on my plentiful DSLR shots, which will take me a while because I took many, but I should have something to share in a couple of weeks.