Hi gorgeous ladies! How are you? Today is continuation of the “Transitions Series.” If you’re new around these parts this is where I’ve invited experts in their field to talk about how they tackled the various transitions in their lives. Today I have the lovely and incredibly talented Louise Williams from Emotive Images. I first met Louise when I chose her to do my professional photos for “The Butterfly House.” I specifically chose her because of her background in psychology and I hoped she would use this in helping me get the ideas out of my head and into the branding for my images. (Which she did, oh so well).You see, I’m an ideas person. I am creative by nature. I just didn’t know how to bring these all together. This is where Louise came in. She took my ideas and turned the images into a true reflection of who I am.
Check this photo out below. She captured my laugh just perfectly!
Louise Williams is a self-proclaimed seeker of all things that expand our hearts and connect us to great discoveries about ourselves. Her calling to serve others began with her journey as a Psychologist for over 12 years. Eventually burning out in this career was a blessing in disguise as it led her all the way back to her first love of all things art, expression and creativity. In a very short period of time, she received multiple awards nationally and internationally for her work as a Photographer. Louise guides her clients through a journey of literal ‘Transformation’. Her soul’s life purpose is to facilitate those she connects with to pursue their core desired feelings, help them discover ways to “let go”, ground themselves and become mindful of how they truly want to feel.
WELCOME TO THE SISTERHOOD – LOUISE WILLIAMS
+ Maya Angelou once said that “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” What changes have you gone through over the years that have shaped you as a person and have developed what you do at Emotive Images?
I wonder whether the caterpillar instinctively knows that it is in a moment of transition before it even begins to change into a butterfly? Is it aware that each step as a caterpillar is bringing it closer to that anticipated transformation? Or is it a complete surprise for the caterpillar?
For myself, my journey feels very much like the caterpillar’s transformation. When I initially made the decision to pursue Photography full-time, I had no idea that for the past few decades I had actually been working towards a moment when I would leave my career as a Psychologist for good. I spent so many years studying to achieve a Bachelor degree and a Masters degree in Psychology and establishing my own successful private practice.
One day, things became very clear for me and I walked away from all of it and reclaimed my first love for all things Art. And yet, even at that moment, things were still not that clear for me. The initial step of reclaiming my art and creativity, led to me reconnecting with who I was as a person, and I ended up letting go of 25kgs of body weight. It was at this moment that so many parts of my life transformed for the better. I finally realised that I could introduce the practice of psychology into my photography, and be able to offer something that no other Photographer was able to provide to their clients.
As of recently, another piece of the puzzle has revealed itself, and I am now a licensed facilitator of The Desire Map workshops. Transformation and Discovery are the main themes that run throughout my photography work and my workshops. Essentially I have come full-circle and a new way of combining my art with my drive to help others reconnect with their sense of self has been reimagined into something wonderfully unique. Ironically, without me realizing, the initial few decades of my life ended up being my huge growth and learning stage, just like the caterpillar. These last few years of transformation both personally and business wise, has seen me flourish and change in ways that are still being realised. I am so excited about the transformations that are yet to take place within Emotive Images, as I explore further the combination of Photography and Psychology. With everything in sync, my life and my business finally feels like it is about to soar, just like the butterfly.
+ What industry areas were you working in before you made the transition?
Before I moved to Photography full-time, I was managing my own private practice as a registered Psychologist. The health industry is a very different industry, and the pressures on health professionals can be taxing to the spirit. I had staged my dream Psychology Room, overlooking the tree tops of some enormous old trees in Paddington, Brisbane, QLD. I worked for myself, and I had a thriving practice. I was counselling individuals, as well as couples, and families. In my room I had an art therapy space setup with symbols, a sandplay box and art tools.
+ Have you used any of the skills from your previous careers and if so how are you incorporating this into what you do at Emotive Images?
Absolutely! The key to my transformation in my business has been the embracing of many of my tools and strategies that I used to use as a Psychologist. While I no longer work as a Psychologist, I have a strong gift for insight and listening to people’s needs. When a person is wishing to be photographed, they aren’t really sure of what they want out of a photograph. However, the main hope they do have is to be photographed authentically and to have their best self shine out from the photograph. I achieve this in a number of different ways, including when they first come to meet with me and the series of self-discovery activities they are invited to participate in, as well as a range of strategies I use during the photography session, and then finally after they have viewed the photographs and they are needing to bring their own perception of themselves into alignment with how others see them in photographs.
+ What aspects of your transitions were the hardest?
I believe that the hardest part of the entire transition, was the choice to make the leap into full-time photography, and not obsess over what could happen or what would be the best choice in 5 years time. It was very difficult to accept the idea of ‘letting go’ of something I had put a LOT, and I mean a lot of time, energy, practice, and financial investment into building and improving. At the time of moving away from Psychology, I believed that it would be forever. However, I didn’t realise at the time just how important all of my skills and experiences and intuition would be in helping mold my new career as an Artist and Facilitator into something totally unique from what the general industry of photography could ever offer. I believe that the transition I went through in 2010 to full-time photography was an important step in getting some perspective and distance from it all, so that I could start to reintroduce ideas and concepts that were ideal for my photography work.
+ What top three tips do you have for people who are making the transition from one thing to another?
Get some perspective, some space, expand your awareness and narrow your focus so that you can concentrate on HOW this transition will help you in your personal and/or business life. Meditate, journal your thoughts, take some time away for reflection and truly tap into listening to your heart and what your core desired feelings are in this situation. If your previous job or situation doesn’t meet those core desired feelings as effectively or if at all in comparison to where you want to be or what you want to be doing, then it is time to follow your heart. If you are staying in a job or situation purely out of commitment or loyalty or people pleasing, then you are there for all of the wrong reasons. When you tap into your authentic self and truly listen to your heart, you will have the answers as to which choice to pursue. When I was making the choice of whether to drop Psychology and go full time in Photography, I felt like I “needed” to ask friends and family for their opinions. I thought that their opinions would help make the decision so much easier. It didn’t. This decision had to come from deep down inside of me. I couldn’t rush the decision, and I couldn’t stay in reflection mode for too long, as the back and forth nature of ‘making a decision’ was too exhausting and not productive.
+ How did you stay grounded or prep yourself for your transition?
The most helpful strategy I followed for helping the transition from Psychology to Photography, was to focus on creating and expanding the physical and emotional space around where I desired to be in my career. I painted my office different colours, replaced the furniture, and introduced items that would inspire me. I packed up all paper filing that related to Psychology and placed it into storage. Creating a physical, colourful and organic altar in my home that supported this transition was also integral. I introduced some rituals and daily routines that would help keep me focused and inspired, including drawing an inspirational oracle card each day to set a theme and tone for the day. I also focused on sound, scent and touch within my office and home, utilising oils, candles, ambient music and throw rugs that would change the energy of my space. Very quickly the energy changed around the transition, and made it less stressful, enabling me to start to plan and grow my Photography business.
+ What surprises you the most about your current job?
What surprises me the most about my work as a Photographer and Artist, is how aligned it is with who I authentically am as a woman. This is not to say that I wasn’t being authentic when I worked as a Psychologist. But I do feel now that ‘formalising’ my skills in listening and relating and connecting with others by studying and working as a Psychologist, created this persona in me that had to be more formal, more censored, and more contained than what I was naturally like as a person. Once I transitioned full-time into Photography and Art, I could feel my personality and my sense of self completely relax, and I slowly started to break out of my shell and become so much more comfortable with myself. So in answer to the question, I was surprised but wasn’t overly surprised when I really looked at it all. In my Psychology work, I never fit into the mold of a traditional, clinical Psychologist. I had Salvador Dali prints hanging on my walls, Buddhist philosophies printed on banners on my wall, Symbols by the 100s lining my walls on shelves, and a Sandtray in the middle of my room. I adapted my Psychology practice so that my true self could ‘fit into the mold’ of Psychologist, which involved containing my personality somewhat and censoring my expression. Now I am doing the same, but in the opposite way, where I am adapting my Photography and Facilitation business to fit around all of the nooks and bumps and crevices of my personality and my expression. I am very blessed to have realised that this transition had to happen, and my work continues to surprise me with how it adapts and flows around what I want, rather than the other way around.
+ What are some resources that you used that helped you with your transition?
Initially I relied on creative exercises and art journalling techniques to work through my thoughts and feelings about the transition. The Desire Map and Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte were also a godsend. I started reading books about connecting with your authentic self, including Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. I had to ‘unlearn’ some masking and disconnecting strategies that I had adopted from my work as a Psychologist that kept me from opening up and being myself. Books like The Artist’s Way helped me to relearn routines/rituals and choices that I had available to me, in order to make space for my creativity.
+ You’ve also just started running workshops as a Desire Map (Danielle LaPorte) facilitator. What made you add this into your life and could you explain what this role entails?
I came across the Desire Map originally in 2013. Danielle LaPorte’s newsletters and blog posts really spoke to me. Her ‘way’ of writing about the world was a direct reflection of what I was pursuing with my transition from Psychology to Photography. I followed her work for over a year, and then she announced that people could become licensed facilitators of The Desire Map. This was the turning point for me. I had been thinking for some time about the need to bring Psychology back into my work somehow, and The Desire Map workshops were an excellent way of me ‘dabbling’ my feet in the water of possibilities. When you are trying to reimagine how a previous career/training can be reintroduced into your new work somehow, there is a lot of visualization, meditation and brainstorming that needs to take place, around HOW that is even going to “look like”. When you are trying to offer something that is not yet offered or conceptualized, there are no examples to refer to and draw inspiration from. Even though The Desire Map workshops weren’t a direct reflection of the end product of what I wanted to offer in my business, they were one part of the equation. So there was nothing else to do, other than to dive in head first. Stay tuned, for the best is yet to come!
+ If my days had one extra hour in it I would…
- I would go to an art class where I just create and be and nothing more.
- I would get outside and get my hands dirty and plant some more plants in my ever-expanding garden.
- I would tackle the mountain of wool I have in a box, waiting to be knitted into something magical.
- I would go to a flower shop and pick out some different, not so ‘run of the mill’ flowers.
You can connect with Louise through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Her photography business website can be found here.
Thanks so much Louise for your awesome responses. So much detail and heart! I’m sure we have all taken something away from this. What’s the one thing you’ve taken away from this interview? Comment below and please share using the buttons below if you loved this post. Let’s get on board and support one another.