of Christine Spring
Who am I? I’m a kiwi, raised in a small town, one of six kids. I’m the number two child, the one who can be a bit stroppy and struggles with rules and being told what to do. As a teenager I decided to study engineering, I wanted to do something different and engineering meant I’d have to move to a big town. In a way, engineering held an allure of freedom, not necessarily the smartest reason to choose the degree! But I made it through, just, but it was a slog, my heart wasn’t in it and most days were joyless. I figured the best thing would be to just put my head down, get my degree and then I could go find freedom. It never occurred to me that freedom was in my attitude.
Nowhere during that time did I stop to think that perhaps I should find the thing I loved to do. Rather my mindset and attitude was focussed on get the ‘good’ degree, take a safe option, think about the future security of a profession. Let go of dreams. Don’t be frivolous.
Six weeks after I had the last exam behind me, I was off! Europe here I come. I travelled. Russia, North Africa, Greece, Morocco, Spain, England, Italy and of course France. That engineering degree came in useful and gave me the means to explore, I was happy, when I was travelling and existing when I was working. I still didn’t connect passion, to dreams, to joy, and to daily happiness. I guess I wasn’t ready to.
When I returned to New Zealand after four years away I realised something had to give, somewhere during my travels I became hungry. My ego kicked in and I realised that if I wanted to continue travelling and living periods of joy I needed to up my game. There was a scholarship being offered, but you had to study something unusual. I proposed to study airport design (in 1994 that seemed an innovative choice), won the scholarship and set off to the USA for a year of study. What a difference passion makes! Suddenly, there was me a straight A (4.0) master’s student completing a 2 year degree in 12 months. Who was this person? Talk about girl on fire! Passion fuelled every day. Extra short courses were done and I even found time for a trip to Paris. I lived each day to the fullest. I was happy. Not because I was distracting myself with numerous travel adventures, but because right here, right now I was fully present and living a dream based on passion, purpose, place and people. I had a voice. I felt good about myself. I was fuelled with an A1 Attitude for life. I was energised. Happy.
Returning to New Zealand once more, it was time to crack on with adult life. Passion and purpose fuelled my days and my career grew, but somewhere in amongst it all and over the course of a dozen years I lost sight of the importance of being in a place that enabled my soul to breathe and surrounded by people who valued my voice and supported my dreams. Then tragedy struck. Sudden death. It sucks your breath away, shatters your illusions and leaves you wondering what’s it all about. Life’s cataclysmic events can force reevaluation – bizarrely I believe that is a good thing.
I remembered one life. I remembered a long forgotten dream to live in Paris. I decided – NOW. I figured I didn’t want to wallow in a lonely village, so decided to challenge myself and apply to study photography at Spéos, The Institute of Photography in Paris! Eeeeek what was I thinking. I had never held an SLR camera. I had no idea about shutter speed or aperture. I figured I would learn. How hard could it be? Got to love the naivety of ignorance!
Courage was garnered. Application was sent, and accepted. House was sold. Job was exited. Apartment was found. Ticket was purchased. One life, take a leap, what’s the worst that could happen – I’d get another job. Paris awaited.
Paris – she taught me patience. She was gentle and showed me how to soften. I began the year defensive, fearful of people, sad and lonely. I ended my year compassionate, patient, empowered and reflective. The biggest thing I learnt from Paris is that I get to choose my attitude and how I want to live my life. I can choose to suffer, or I can choose to live with joy. I choose courage as my daily path to joy.
It’s been ten years since my Paris revolution. During that time my camera has turned to focus on capturing portraits of people, be it the citizens of Paris, or Soul Beauty images (www.christinespringphotography.com). I’ve embraced the beauty of words and written “Liberating Self – A Soul’s Journey” – a book about the journey to balance ego and soul. I’ve won photography competitions with my images and I’ve found great joy and balance with a new approach to my corporate career. I’ve focussed on balance, making dreams come true (for me and those I love and care for) and working to live daily with joy in my life. I’m happy.
It doesn’t mean life is perfect. It doesn’t mean I don’t have frustrations, or periods of getting down – I do. But Paris taught me resilience and mechanisms to work my way out of darkness – Paris showed me how to keep looking towards the light, and holding hope in my heart. When I am struggling Paris reminds me to stand tall and commit to my truth – that City has been a beacon of light and hope for millennia – when all else is imploding in my life I look at an image of the Eiffel Tower and I remember to hold on, believe and breathe.
I don’t have to walk the streets of Paris to remember to focus on the lessons I have learnt. But, just to make sure I never forgot, I decided to capture them in my book “Passion & Paris – A Soul’s Prerogative”.
A Soul’s Journey
In 2012, I committed to following my dream to capture a series of images, of women, from around the globe in their chosen sense of place. I conceived of creating images from a female perspective, focused on their inner sense of self – images that would show a woman’s strength, her vulnerability, her courage, her passion and her magic.
Throughout my journey, I strived to create images that spoke of spine, self-worth, personality and depth of character. I sought to remove the aspects of ego and self-judgement and enable each woman to focus instead on a perspective of herself that is often ignored: the beauty of her soulful nature, set in a location that she connected with, and at a time of her choice.
It was a project that took me to 4 continents and had me exploring the continual balancing act that we all face between our ego’s fears and our soul’s faith in self. It was an honour to have the women put their faith in me, to trust me with their vulnerability.
The images I captured motivated me to write “Liberating Self – A Soul’s Journey” – a book that shares my personal philosophy on the journey towards liberation and inner peace.
Passion & Paris
A Soul’s Prerogative
For the remainder of the last decade, I committed to continuing my work with women, to create images of soulful beauty and provide a platform for women to challenge their perspective of self and experience a magic moment of liberation – to be spiritually, mentally and physically free. You can connect to this chapter of my journey at www.christinespringphotography.com.
On New Year’s Eve 2019, I captured my last soul beauty image. I felt I was ready to close that chapter – I had liberated myself – and it was time to turn my attention to continuing to evolve and live true to self.
I have a desire to pick up my camera more often and after nearly a decade focused on women’s spines, I am keen to continue to explore faces and portraits. I am seeking to photograph expressions of courage and reveal the beauty that is born of having faith in self and resilience. I am hoping to capture images of people who are daring to live their dream life.
On reflection, I am actually keen (and ready) to embrace the words and philosophies that I wrote about in 2017 in my ebook “Passion & Paris – A Soul’s Prerogative”. It is time to refocus and unveil faces of courage and images of people embracing the magic of living true to self.
So, I’ve put some images in my portfolio gallery. Many of them are taken in Paris, some are not, but most are portraits of people doing what they love. These are the images that have inspired me and unlocked the door to my words. Not sure why I need images to see words, but that is just the way it is for me.
Special thanks to the magical Carla Coulson (www.carlacoulson.com) who was kind enough to capture the images of me that I have used on this website. Carla is both friend and mentor and epitomizes what it is to find the courage and take the action needed to live a life of passion and purpose.