New Website

Good morning everyone,

It finally feels like spring is really in the air today. After months of dark and cold and the polar vortex, I know I’m ready for some light, movement and change.

I’ve been with WordPress for a very long time. I think I’ve lost weeks to learning how to use this platform.

And it was good while it lasted.

Thank you WordPress. It’s been real.

But I’m moving on to Squarespace, where all the photographers seem to be. I have to say, creating the new site has been really easy (especially with help from my dear friend Susie Lacoque (not Pepsi). Susie is a terrific shooter and a minor Squarespace genius in my book and I’m so grateful she helped me create the basic architecture I envisioned. This new structure is a really big deal to me because it means that I finally figured out a way to bring all the disparate yet intensely intertwined elements of my artistic, photographic, and contemplative practices together in a sensible, cogent whole. It’s thrilling really because this new site, this new approach will allow me to express myself better and more authentically than ever. I feel it on a deep sort of Jungian gestalt way, like I’ve been moving toward this point my whole life. All I ever wanted really, deep inside, even during times when I wasn’t conscious of it, was to express myself and the way I see the world through my work as an image maker and a writer.

Why did it take so long to get here? I don’t know exactly, but I think it’s best summed up by one word: FEAR.

At first, I thought it was fear of being not good enough. I have some deep old seeds for that. Earliest narratives from my family were not positive. There was a penetrating, deep loneliness deep inside that sent me searching for the attention and positive regard I yearned for that put me into the hands of a long series of abusers starting when I was just eleven. (And to be clear, I’m not blaming myself for anything, I am just clear that conditions made me extremely vulnerable.) And only recently touching the beginning of true recovery. And in this process, I discovered that under that layer of fear of not good enough, the fear of failure lies another layer: a fear of my own terrible strength and power. As Marianne Williamson put it in her poem, Our Deepest Fear:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

So, now I am moving into new territory, in which I open the door and embrace all of what’s in me, even the…No, not even, especially the mysterious parts, the anger, the rage which instead of pushing away as I have done for many years, I will now do my best to greet as a friend, as a teacher, and soften with loving kindness, with compassion.

I thought I was just building a new website but I realized in the process of writing this, that what I’m really building is a new version of myself, a more fully healthy and integrated person. I can’t wait to see what photographs, what words will come now that the gate is open to the full mystery of existence.

I’m grateful for the support of friends and mentors who are leading the way with their own incredible work, their own embrace of mystery. In particular, I want to thank Maggie Steber, who won a Guggenheim with her incredible and growing body of work, The Secret Garden of Lily LePalma. I’ve been blessed to attend a couple of her amazing workshops in Oaxaca and Boston. Maggie is an incredibly generous teacher and kind. She has a heart so big it holds multitudes. She is a real champion of the artist inside longing to emerge and create the work it really wants, full of darkness and mystery. She sets an incredible model too through her own work which shines a light for us to follow. She is always encouraging. I feel like she shared her grit for getting the work done as I began to learn to build my own. And she does this with anyone who walks into her workshop.  If you can, go. See for yourself.

So, all of which to say, if you’ve been following my adventures in photography here, I invite you along for the next stage. I’m super excited by the potential and groundedness I feel now and for the new things I’m setting out to learn and explore. This June I’ll be heading to Rochester, NY to learn wet plate collodion from the master, France Scully Osterman. To learn from the same woman who taught Sally Mann, the photographer whose career I most look at as a model of excellence and willingness to embrace shadow, is a genuine dream come true. I look at Sally’s work and wish I could make photographs that good. I look at France’s images and feel the same way.

I’ll be continuing to work on my long term project, The Persistence of Vanishing Things, part landscape photography documenting climate change but also an investigation into my own mind and yearning for peace and quiet and solitude. 

And much more…I’m thinking of a podcast and have to learn how to do that. I’m inspired by the incredible podcast The Candid Frame, by Ibarionex Perello. Ibarionex is a real teacher and terrific photographer with a deep passion for photography. His podcast is a daily source of inspiration. He offers himself with some beautiful vulnerability which gives me courage. And I’m grateful he keeps doing it. Definitely give it a listen.

Thank you all for being here. I look forward to seeing your work and hearing your stories too.

Blessings, Hillary

And please, let me know how you like the new site.

I’m taking bookings for portraits and have prints for sale. (hint hint!)


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