Creating and sharing with purpose


When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.

– Georgia O’Keeffe

Susan Preston Studio is being shared with a simple intention – to pay attention, on purpose, to the beauty that finds its way through the lens of my camera.

Many years ago I worked as a professional photographer in the nation’s capital. I also wrote articles and enthusiastically shared my images and personal reflections on a creative blog.

But something happened when I transplanted myself to northern New Mexico. A combination of choices, external criticism, and life circumstances pulled me away from sharing my art. Although I continued to take copious photographs of the landscape I had fallen head over heels in love with, most of my images ended up tucked away on external hard drives. The task of building up my design business and focusing on digital strategy stole my attention away from something I truly loved. There just wasn’t enough time to create art just for myself. 

It wasn’t until just a few months ago when my friend and author, Scott Perry, helped me see I was in a state of creative depletion. Why? Because my purpose around photography had slowly fizzled out. I could no longer see art as a form of self-expression to be worthy enough.

I now believe that the creativity that flows from the depths of our hearts and through our hands misses the mark when we fail to share the results. Art is a form of conversation. And as difficult as it is for many introverts like myself to speak up and risk being seen, it’s a conversation I think we desperately need.

To share what we’ve made is an act of vulnerability. Only when we expose ourselves and our work to being filtered through someone else’s lens do we risk being seen for who we are. When we “speak up” in this way, whether it’s through writing an article, sharing an image or singing a song that matters deeply to us, we can’t help but start a conversation. The more honest and open the work is, the more powerful and transformative the conversations.

Often while traveling with a camera we arrive just as the sun slips over the horizon of a moment, too late to expose film, only time enough to expose our hearts.

Minor White 

When I first picked up my film-based Pentax K1000 more than three decades ago, I quickly learned of the importance of light. Today’s cameras have replaced film with light sensors. Without light, there is no exposure. The same can be said for our light-sensitive hearts.

When we open ourselves to the beauty of the wildnerness, the delicacy of our inner natures, and the grace embedded in personal relationship, our hearts are exposed, souls are touched. And with each exposure to beauty the heart opens. If we are willing, there is an invitation to be present with and share our true selves.

In a world with so much noise and uncertainty it is my deepest wish that you choose to place yourself on the threshold of the beautiful, where suffering is so easily surrendered and the heart is nourished.

Susan J. Preston

P.S. If you’d like become a part of this conversation, please send a note or leave the gift of your thoughts in a comment.

To discover more about my digital strategy and design business, please follow me on LinkedIn and visit my website, ClearlyPresentable.com.