Woodlot Women - a deep dive into the world of female representation in beauty, through honest, real talk. We’re dedicated to sharing traditions of the past, to exposing stigmas of the present, and to inspiring hopes for the future.
To get the conversation started, we're getting up close and personal with extraordinary women from all different backgrounds to discover how their rituals have been inherited from the past, and will inspire the future.
Today, meet Calgary based photographer + artist, Ellen.
I think there isn’t a person on this planet that escapes self-criticism, self-judgment or doubt. Myself included.
For me it’s meant BIG expectations of myself, which isn’t always a good thing. While I’m slowly learning how to be more gentle with myself, I think that the work of checking those thought patterns is always going to be work. Something we never stop learning about, or getting better at.
As a creative person, I think comparison is a huge battle and I think there are two ways I think we normally deal with it. The first way? Major imposter syndrome. Feeling like there’s so many talented people out there and nothing I make will be ever as good as THEIRS (also hopefully no one ever finds out I don’t know as much as they do!!!).
The second way? Reminding myself to be excited for those people. And mean it.
When I can re-ground in the fact that if there’s one more person out there doing what I want to do, it’s a reminder that it’s possible. It’s an example of someone living out their dreams, and that’s a beautiful thing.
I’ve always loved photography and art. When other kids got toys, I always got crafts, pencils, sketchbooks. Being a “photographer” or an “artist” though, always seemed like a reality reserved for someone else. Someone much more talented, or poetic, or creative. My whole life I kept it as a hobby: drawing, creating, taking art classes. But always playing it small.
I really just wanted to make stuff. Slowly but surely I started to take more photos, I took more art classes, I started to commit to myself to learning the things I had always put off. Finally, a very good friend of mine (and now boss, Jennifer) asked if I wanted to do a photoshoot for her company PARTS+LABOR
At first, I said no. I told her she should hire someone who knew what they were doing, “a professional”. She told me that she wouldn’t have asked if she didn’t think I could do it, and she really wanted ME to do it. So I did. And I haven’t really looked back since. From that moment, I was officially a photographer. And I get the privilege of making art every week of my life.
When it comes to personal style, I think as much as you choose it - it also chooses you. I get so much inspiration from all sorts of sources. My friends, celebrities, different eras, music, fashion, movies, books. It’s like a collection of all the things you love and I do my best to think of all of it as art. I think Helena Bonham Carter said it best,
“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art”
When it comes to clothing, I think when you have things that are meaningful, symbolic or intentional, you take that energy on when you wear them. If you have something that shifts your energy and makes you feel beautiful or like a total badass, it helps you show up in that way.
I think I’ve had a lot of experiences that have shaped the kind of person I am, and the person I hope to be. Everything from my family, to friends. My studies to living with a chronic illness. I think at the end of it all, all of my experiences both good and bad have made me have more compassion and patience with others. If you boil it down to what you are committed to BEING, what exactly would you like to show up in the word as. More loving? More kind? I think your life becomes quite simple. Your interactions with others become simple. Your decisions, easier.
Thanks to Ellen for sharing her voice and her passion with us. We love connecting with the women in our communities and learning more about what inspires them everyday.
If you'd like to see more of Ellen's work, visit her website or check her out on Instagram.